Bread Street Kitchen and Bar at St. Paul’s wasn’t too shabby at all for a last-minute lunch reservation on a rainy Saturday afternoon when everything else was fully booked. I’ll not lie, I booked it because firstly, it carried the Gordon Ramsay name and secondly, it was an easy-ish commute to and from home.
The meal, taken with my fabulous cousin and her other half, visiting London from Preston, was effortless in almost every way apart from two annoying moments, the first of which was not being able to locate Bread Street Kitchen in the first place.
This sprawling restaurant – connected by a staircase to Ramsay’s Street Pizza below and adjacent to Gordon Ramsay Street Burger – is ensconced deep within One New Change shopping centre next to St Paul’s Cathedral. You’ll find it up the escalators and tucked away at the far reaches of a dead-end gangway on New Change’s first floor.
Eventually finding the front door and making it inside, we find the décor to be light, airy, and posh. It even opens up onto the street below, via floor-to-ceiling windows, one of which we thoughtfully seated by. Bright, mosaic-like tiles on the floors and walls, brass rails, and comfy leather chairs. It’s banker-y and brasserie…y. All is sophisticated, at least if you ignore the polished replica Apollo 11 command module that doubles as an intimate den for pre-dinner drinks, and a portrait of Mr. Ramsay depicted as a senior officer in a nondescript colonial army of yesteryear. Despite the baroque fluff, I felt very much at home. The welcome and warmth from the servers was impeccable.
We deliberated over the menu. It is a wonderous car crash of a document; it simply does not know what it wants to be, nor does it care. You can order plates from all corners of the world, such as the U.K., Italy, or the Far East. Many arrows and boxes – and a dedicated tasting menu – point you towards the signature Beef Wellington main course. Served for two people, we regretted not ordering it as soon as we saw a young party of four next to us order a couple. They took many pictures of these oversized, golden parcels of joy, before taking a few bites, leaving the rest… and then the restaurant shortly after. Still, I would wager that it’s amazing. It certainly smelled so.
We ordered a bit of everything. The vast majority of it did not disappoint. Stracciatella with an Italian garnish was creamy and luxurious. The spicy tuna tartare had a fierce zing of capsicum but was fresh and texturally balanced with avocado and wonton crisps. Potted salt beef brisket was painfully and gloriously British, paired with piccalilli and grain mustard. It was like eating Margaret Thatcher. Actually, forget I typed that.
The Cuz’s hubby and I took the burger. A perfect synopsis of the menu, it was served with Monterey Jack cheese and a spicy sriracha mayonnaise. Aside from faint purring, we ate in silence. The cuz loved her spinach and ricotta cannelloni and whereas The European enjoyed her grilled spatchcocked poussin with chimichurri, she found it a little underwhelming and on the dry side. She was mostly in it for the truffled mash potato (served as standard with the Beef Wellington) which she ordered as an extra side. Afterwards, we shared a chocolate fondant and a sticky toffee pudding. Rich, traditional goodness, and a perfect runny middle. Recollecting this meal a good few weeks after we visited, the memories of these desserts fade into the magnificence of the savoury courses.
All throughout this feast the servers were shepherding us along with ample rounds of beer, wine, and Bloody Mary cocktails. A little bit of a Bloody Mary connoisseur – and considering the way an establishment makes this drink a barometer of its quality and substance in general – The European remarked that Bread Street Kitchen’s were excellent. Of course, the food could not be any less than excellent either (we are of course dining by the grace of Gordon) but service this warm in a casual brassiere is always a wonderful surprise. We paid £three hundred. For three courses and lots of booze, the £seventy-five per person was worth every penny.
We left Bread Street Kitchen and Bar fuller and merrier than when we arrived, but the weather – the same old sleety rain, this time, coupled with dreary 3pm twilight – brought us back down to earth. As we walked back to my hotel (where Cuz was staying), I started to wonder if I should finally get off my arse and try to book Restaurant Gordon Ramsay on Royal Hospital Road (maybe his empire is not just style over substance after all). My whimsical ministrations were cast to one side when my hotel’s security guard didn’t realise I worked there and tried to get me removed, the only other annoying part of this unexpectedly incredible lunch.