Harden's survey result
“Are people just deducting points because it has Gordon’s name?” – that’s the suspicion raised by fans of the world-famous TV-chef, who – like Michelin – consider his modern French cuisine “simply unbeatable”, and extol his “early-noughties-time-warp-style” Chelsea HQ (currently presided over by head chef Matt Abé) as “the best in London”. The answer is no! – the problem is the equally sizeable number of diners who feel “safety first is the word here”, and that by the standards of top, world-class culinary genius it “doesn’t really hit the mark”: “OK-ish, but too often run-of-the-mill” or “merely average (except for the price… which is outrageous!)”.
“He should concentrate on the cuisine at this price, not his celebrity!” The world-famous TV chef’s original solo HQ in Chelsea continues to divide opinion and scored even lower overall marks in the survey this year. Undoubtedly it still has many advocates who feel Matt Abé (who actually does all the cooking) produces a menu that’s “a total delight for the senses”, and that service is “unbeatable” (under longstanding “perfectionist” maître d’, Jean Claude Breton, plus “very helpful” sommelier James Lloyd). Critics, though, are more vocal than supporters, feeling the “food needs to move on”, or that the ambience (“limited by the layout of the room”) is “too manufactured and precious to be enjoyable”. All-in-all, Michelin’s continual failure to recognise the long-term slide here is baffling, and to continue to award this establishment three stars seems nothing more than cynical sucking up to the world’s biggest culinary media figure.
“The old standard of cooking is long gone, yet the bill defies gravity…” – that’s the overall verdict on the TV chef’s “chic” (but some would say “surprisingly small and claustrophobic”) Chelsea flagship, whose long overdue turnaround would provide great material for one of his TV shows. On the plus-side, there are many loyal fans who say Matt Abe’s cuisine can be “fabulous” and who continue to laud Jean-Claude Breton’s “impeccable” service. Criticisms that the place is “stuck up”, “down a notch on previously” or just “quite underwhelming overall” are far too prevalent however, which given the “shocking prices” can lead to a sense of “crushing disappointment”. Mr Michelin Man wake up – this is not a three star performance.
Clare Smyth’s departure – with Matt Abe taking up the reins – has stymied the recovery of GR’s Chelsea flagship. Fans do still laud this “grown-up and charming” chamber as “amazing on every level”, and the service in particular remains “exceptional”. Ratings fell back significantly this year however, with numerous attacks on modern French cuisine that’s “rather blah, fine-dining-by-numbers” and “way, way, way too expensive”. The chasm between reality and Michelin’s three stars has never looked greater here.
|Wine per bottle||£28.00|
68-69 Royal Hospital Rd, London, SW3 4HP
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑2:15 pm, 6:30 pm‑9:45 pm|