Ramsay confounds expectations with a thrilling, inventive and glamorous take on Asian small-plate dining. And his new dark, moody restaurant, raw bar and cocktail lounge is kitted out with ultra-sophisticated nightclub allure. Lucky Cat is the kind of restaurant menu that thrills us culinary explorers, always excited to try new flavour and texture combinations: an adventure of delicious creativity that surprises at every turn and laughs in the face of cynical expectations.
Yes, chef Ben Orpwood (who leads the kitchen) has worked at Zuma worldwide and appreciates Asian cuisine, and Lucy Cat is, like Zuma, an upscale restaurant that takes its food seriously. No, it isn’t an authentic Asian Eating House, a misleading misnomer now dropped from the narrative. The neon sign at the entrance still jars as does the preponderance of brass cats everywhere (note: Chinese restaurateurs favour red or white cats for luck). Otherwise the room is sleek and beautiful; one to dress up for.
The menu is divided into sashimi and sushi; bao and noodles; skewers,
robata, meat and fish. There's an unmistakably Japanese bias and all
dishes are designed to share. The team are extremely knowledgeable and
don’t encourage over-ordering. Refreshingly, they suggested ordering in
waves. Unsurprisingly, some of the dishes are expensive, but it is Mayfair, and
the restaurant is already buzzing with an evidently monied clientele.
Beef tataki is a work of art, scattered with with Australian white truffle grated liberally at the table. If the pork bao special is on offer, it has to be ordered: sensationally seasoned, it is bao bliss. Note, it is very different to the equally unmissable, non-traditional, char siu pork served with lightly candied and fragrant nashi pear, and sensational shichimi pickled cucumber. Do add in a side order or two, especially the sensational beetroot 'sashimi' with sesame seeds and pops of pork crackling.
This is certainly not a restaurant for shrinking violets, it is a place to revel in ordering souffle. Passion fruit and yuzu is ambrosial, stylishly served in a small black ceramic souffle dish and accompanied by a lemongrass sorbet. Tofu and chocolate mousse, a novel combination, works brilliantly too as does jasmine peach with tea jelly and peach granita. The consummate expertise of Jocky Petrie, culinary director across the entire Gordon Ramsay group, who previously took charge in a similar role with Heston Blumenthal, is particularly evident in the creativity of the desserts.
Do pay a visit to the cocktail lounge. While there, start with a zingy yuzu and gin cocktail, and be sure to inspect the vast, totally open, ultra sleek kitchen. It's mighty impressive with sections for tempura, bincho skewers cooked on special Japanese charcoal and robata grill. Admire too the striking display of every conceivable Japanese-style knife made bespoke by Peckham company Blenheim knives. Sushi devotees and solo diners perch at the raw bar where displays of fish butchery are promised soon.
For an alpha celebration, there are two large chef’s tables facing the kitchen: one with counter dining for testing experimental dishes before they make the menu and the other more for enjoying the theatrics of the chef. Whilst Gordon Ramsay apparently frequented Lucky Cat during the opening month, don't expect to see Ramsay in his whites on your visit. You might, however, spot one of the many celebs flocking to enjoy the restaurant's food, international vibes and DJs playing late into the evening.
|What||Lucky Cat by Gordon Ramsay, Mayfair|
|Where||Lucky Cat by Gordon Ramsay , 10 Grosvenor Square, Mayfair , London , W1K 6JP | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Marble Arch (underground)|