My absolute favourite cuisine is definitely Japanese: and though it comes at a high price we’re lucky to get excellent quality Japanese food in London.
And my second favourite? It’s Italian food. This year I’ve had some excellent ‘comfort food’ from places such as Locale
and Cucina Asellina
, and Italian food of an excellent standard at Babbo
. But I haven’t had anything the equals the pasta I had in Florence
or the fish I ate in Lake Como
That was until last Saturday, when we had lunch at Gigi’s, a hidden gem in Mayfair.
We took a seat in the comfy velvet booths at the Italian restaurant, located just off Bond street and we were presented with a refreshing glass of prosecco. Just as we marvelled how well we’d coordinated with each other and with the furniture.
I really liked the decor at Gigi’s, it had a sort of old-fashioned elegance without being at all stuffy.
With beautiful lighting and glass ware…I have a thing about pretty glasses.
Now somewhere at the back of your mind you may be thinking…I think I’ve heard of Gigi’s….well when the restaurant opened it became famous for selling the world’s most expensive cocktail. The cocktail was created for Grace Jones and contains an ultra-rare brandy from 1888 and a vintage champagne and a topping of gold leaf. The cocktail is said to taste like liquid gold but will set you back nearly £9,000.
Well instead of liquid gold, Mr S and I decided to go for the cocktail that bore our namesake, The Gigi’s Silvertini (right). The Silvertini contains Bombay Sapphire, elderflower, lychee and lime juice with a Thienot rose foam. We also chose a Bellini, with prosecco and white peach puree, the manager informed us that the bellinis at Gigi’s were totally authentic to how they were made at Harry’s Bar at the Cipriani in Venice, which is where the Bellini was invented.
Our amuse was a beautiful salmon tartare with a touch of avocado cream.
The bread basket was an interesting one.
The black roll was flavoured with squid ink and when I took my first bite I thought, it’s just a gimmick to make it black. Then a very subtle flavour of squid came through the bread. Fishy bread may not be to everyone’s tastes but I loved it!
Perhaps more of a crowd pleaser was the green roll, flavoured with a delicate taste of parsley.
We were very intrigued to try the 62 degrees egg. The egg is slow cooked at this exact temperature as it is the precise temperature where the white and the yolk are the same consistency. It means that the white is rather more silky and delicate than you would find on an ordinary poached egg. Great molecular gastronomist, Heston Blumenthal, claims that this is the perfect way of cooking an egg. Well I love a good egg and the perfectly poached specimen was paired beautifully with salty parma ham, soft girolles and pickled tomato.
Our other starter was one of Gigi’s signature dishes, razor clams with wakame and parsley puree. The chef had cleverly created a seaweed cracker using the shell of the clam. It was a cold dish and beautifully delicate, plus it was good to taste something that I don’t often see on menus.
We chose ravioli with Amalfi Lemon and buffalo ricotta for our pasta course. Perfect little parcels of joy! I loved this dish, on paper it’s not something I would have thought I’d like as the sauce was quite thick with a touch of sweetness, but the whole concoction just worked.
Our other pasta was parpadelle with veal and bone marrow. It was actually my favourite dish of the day, it felt more hearty and rustic in comparison to the lighter, creative dishes. I love the way the menu contrasts molecular gastronomy with good old fashioned Italian food that we all know and love.
It was high time for another cocktail and we chose a passionfruit mojito which combined Havana Club rum with lime juice, vanilla, passion fruit and fresh mint.
I wasn’t sure about having the miso marinated black cod as it is a dish that I associate with Asian cookery, but the manager assured me it was his favourite of the fish dishes. The cod flaked apart beautifully and it was the ideal choice after a more heavy pasta dish. A word of warning, don’t order alongside the cabbage unless you’re very fond of salt!
Other dishes on the menu used Asian falvours, such as a sea bass with yuzu, I love these subtle fusion dishes and it’s a great way to modernise Italian cookery.
Mr Silver had the salt marsh lamb with heritage carrots, sheeps milk and crunch shallots. You can see from the photograph just how perfectly cooked it was and Mr S loves his lamb rare.
Though we’d had three courses already (four if you count the amuse), they were all well portioned and not too heavy. We decided to go for Gigi’s signature Tiramisu for dessert which was actually a gorgeously presented deconstructed version. When each element was piled on to our forks it made the perfect combination.
And an espresso martini was the ideal accompaniment.
Followed by a very elegantly presented coffee.
Mr Silver and I thought the food at Gigi’s was excellent, certainly the best and most innovative Italian restaurant I’ve been to in London this year. So next time you’re shopping along Bond Street, take a little detour as Gigi’s really is a hidden gem of a place.
22 Woodstock Street
020 7491 8638
Our lunch was complimentary for the review.