Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill celebrates meat with special veal and beef-driven dinners
Veal is often seen as something of an ethical black hole: like foie gras but not quite as delicious, anyone with a conscience will steer well clear of it. That, however, is an outdated view, based on the horrors of the past. These days, the caged cruelty of milk veal is thankfully far from the only option, and rose veal, given the same quality life and care as one would expect for a lamb or a pig, is making a resurgence. The Gordon Ramsay Group, ever careful over providence and flavour, is hosting a supper club at Maze Grill to highlight this exceptional ingredient and we stopped by for a preview of what’s to come.
Our meal starts with a punch of meltingly soft veal lollipops, the tender slow cooked meat breaded and fried, a crisp exterior giving way to tangles of dark meat. Veal Carpaccio seems to be following up on the same level at first, a delicate showcase of the meat’s gentle potential and slight natural sweetness. Veal is such an interesting ingredient because of its mellow flavour, so pairing it with crunchy kale is a little baffling. The kale itself is gorgeously crisp and crunchy, but both texture and taste clash with, rather than contrast, the veal. Likewise, a Ravioli of Veal in Onion Consomme is a great idea but lacks refinement; the pasta is overly thick, the consomme a little too overwhelming. It’s a shame, because that fundamental pairing of sticky, rich veal, silky pasta and sweet, sticky onion should be an absolute winner.
Things perk up considerably with a Veal Sausage, Onion Gravy and Mash. A playful take on an English classic, it’s a great harmony of flavour and texture. The veal sausage is seared on a grill before diners’ eyes (to the sound of accompanying smoke alarms) then sat atop a pile of mash that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. Aerated and whipped with cream, it’s silky smooth and light as a feather. Topped with sweet wild onion, it’s probably the most refined bangers and mash we’ve ever eaten.
That refinement gets thrown out the window as a hulking great chunk of veal arrives, practically falling over the bone. It’s one of those remarkably tender cuts that you could genuinely eat with a spoon. A hint of orange is not something you expect to see with beef, but it works here, the subtlety of the veal making the unlikely bedfellows highly successful ones, with the citrus kick a perfect antidote for the meat’s fattiness. A sirloin is cooked to perfection and has a surprisingly robust smokiness. It’s perhaps not surprising, after all this is a restaurant that specialises in its grill.
A cheeky, kitsch dessert of malted mini milks finishes us off, and is a refreshing end. It’s endearingly naff, probably because it’s also delicious. Its maltiness offsets a syrupy sweet Chateau Delmond Sauternes nicely, and the wine choices throughout the evening work well, even if they’re very safe. The only one that really takes our interest is a peppery Chilean 2015 Carmenere from Vina Chocalan whose beautiful cherry chutney notes work perfectly with the smoky sausage.
Overall, it’s a really a tale of two halves, with the first two courses flattering to deceive, and the latter three delivering with great reasons and, at times, aplomb. By the time it opens to the public, this could be a real winner.
The Eve of Veal evening takes place on 16th May and forms part of the Gordon Ramsay Group’s Prime Nights series menu, priced at £50 per person (with the wine pairing an additional £35 per person). Following on from Eve of Veal, Maze Grill Park Walk will host Independence Day Eve of Beef on 4th July, and Maze Grill Royal Hospital Road will host Nordic Eve of Beef on 5th September.
To book a table for Eve of Veal or any of the following nights in the Prime Nights series contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 592 1226.