Not so long ago, the rest of the world would turn their noses up at British cuisine. Today, London has risen to the challenge, and become one of the most celebrated dining destinations in the world. As if to prove the point, two ventures from our national treasures, Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver, are proving extremely popular. Both are known for being competitive, and don’t shy away from criticising the other.
With seven Michelin stars, many successful restaurants worldwide and a collection of UK and international television programmes to his name, Gordon Ramsay has succeeded in making meals you can, ahem, swear by. London House, near the river in Battersea, is a vibrant space, with its dining room decorated in neutral tones, leather seating and wooden floors. The copper-surfaced bar is a stylish centrepiece where guests can savour bespoke and classic cocktails, and there’s a sumptuous sitting room fitted with cathedral-glass windows.
Head chef Anna Haugh-Kelly has created a menu inspired by her time in some of the finest kitchens around the globe. Enjoy seasonal dishes such as crab and scallop tortellini with black radish and crab broth, and roasted venison haunch with cauliflower purée and lentil ragout.
As for Jamie Oliver, he is as much a British institution as roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. Not only has he been the saviour of school meals, he has also used his charities to help disadvantaged youngsters gain cooking skills. His restaurant Fifteen has been popular since opening in 2002. Recently been refurbished, it is even more welcoming thanks to its low lighting, cosy interior and warming wood-fired oven.
The menu has also had an overhaul, with head chef Jon Rotheram introducing smaller, tapas-style plates designed for sharing. Try the winter salad with devilled dressing, a perfect crunchy accompaniment to the home-cured salmon with black radish, or the chargrilled gurnard − so juicy it could have been mistaken for a scallop − with artichoke purée and brown shrimps.
Of the two, who shall we relish and who is toast?
For us, both are brilliant, and worthy of putting the great into Great British cooking.
London House: 7-9 Battersea Sq, London SW11 3RA.
Fifteen: 13 Westland Pl, London, United Kingdom, N1 7LP