Scores of pubs lay claim to the ‘gastro’ prefix, whether they deserve it or not, but Gordon Ramsay’s gastropub was always going to be a cut above the rest. When The Narrow opened in 2007, critics bedgrudgingly acknowledged Ramsay’s refusal to fail at anything, and two more pubs opened in the following year.
Now, with the help of his right-hand-man and top drinking buddy Mark Sargeant (who runs the pubs when he’s not being a head chef or appearing on Market Kitchen), Gordon reveals the secrets of perfect pub grub in this enticing new book.
This is a homage to simple food made great. Take the pork dishes, for example. The porky treats that sweat beneath Cellophane in grotty pubs are brought squealing into gastro-land: Scotch eggs are lovingly, properly prepared and sausage rolls are reinvented by the use of wild boar. There are even recipes for home-made pork pies and pork scratchings.
In the idealised pub this book envisages, the crisps are fresh from the fryer, and the pickled eggs…well, they’re quail’s eggs. For anyone who’s drawn to bar snacks, but wishes they weren’t quite so horrible, this book will come as an exciting revelation.
The mouthwatering snacks continue in ‘Savouries with toast’, a whole chapter devoted to little plates of Scotch woodcock, potted shrimp, devilled kidneys and Welsh rabbit – which are all surprisingly easy to prepare.
The enticing index of mains is divided into categories like ‘Catch of the Day’, ‘Comfort Food’ and ‘Grills and Sautés’. Cooks looking to emulate the food at Claridges or Pétrus will be better off with one of Ramsay’s other books, but for everyone else this book is full of homely, comforting, achievable food, made great by the flourishes of a culinary talent whose restaurants have won him a total of 14 Michelin stars.
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