Park Walk RenderLast year Gordon Ramsay showed his nostalgic side by snapping up the site of Aubergine – the restaurant that launched his career 20 years ago. Now the f-bombing chef has reopened the venue as an outpost of his maze Grill – the “utterly forgettable” Mayfair spot that inspired this comment in our 2015 survey; “the bill stunned my wife into silence, a feat I’ve failed to achieve for some years…”

Open on 22 April, maze Grill Chelsea is apparently inspired by the grill rooms of Manhattan. The 60-cover dining room offers rare breed steaks, fish and poultry from the Josper grill alongside an extensive selection of sushi and sashimi from a raw bar.

Back in 1993 when the Park Walk restaurant traded as Aubergine a young Ramsay, then unheard-of, took up his first head chef position at the Chelsea dining spot. One guide ‘got in quick’, with Harden’s London Restaurants 1994 rating the cooking ‘exceptional’. Approval from other guides quickly followed.

Back in the ’90s, Aubergine, owned by A-Z Restaurants (now the London Fine Dining Company), was a breeding ground for talented chefs, and boasts such distinguished alumni as Marcus Wareing, Angela Hartnett and Mark Sargeant, who all worked under Ramsay.

In 1998, however, after a dispute over contracts, Wareing (then head chef at another A-Z venture, L’Oranger) was sacked and Ramsay later resigned. In protest, many staff at Aubergine quit, and followed Ramsay to his first solo venture at Royal Hospital Road.

A-Z then appointed William Drabble to spearhead operations at Aubergine, and he stayed on at the restaurant – arguably rather under-recognised – until 2009, when he departed for Seven Park Place. The site then became an Italian restaurant as unexciting as its name – 11 Park Walk, which rarely seemed very busy.

Reservations now open


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