(Please read also the subsequent commentary here)
At the end of our dinner at Gauthier we were not happy, we were not satisfied, despite the fact that the truffle risotto (above) was luscious and intense as usual (with a £15 supplement it had better be).
This looks like the typical example of a restaurant that is being harmed by its own success. They are trying to fit too many diners in a space that might be charming and lovely, but in this way is rendered cramped and claustrophobic. On that night it was also unbearably noisy.
As a consequence, service suffers. While after so many years together we still enjoy our conversation…we could not ignore the disconcertingly long pauses between courses. Nor the fact that our dirty plates were left on our table for an eternity, just like in a crowded trattoria, much unlike a Michelin starred venue.
And any sauce tends to pool on one side of the plate: the sloping table – due to the sloping floor – that at the beginning of the evening looked rather charming, now adds to the air of decay. Here is an exhibit (veal sweetbread) if you want to exercise with your spirit level
In the past we used to appreciate Gauthier’s understated and precise cuisine, but this time the pressure was felt by the kitchen, too. While an amuse of ‘buillabasse’ was creative and good (with the components of the traditional dish served dry and separate, as little miniatures), and no sloping sauces here,
there were cooking slips, which pinnacled with an overcooked seabass featuring a very unpleasantly soggy skin.
At dinner you can have 3,4, and 5 courses for £35, £45 and £55, respectively. Consider that 5 courses at Gauthier count more or less as three normal courses. Personally, we don’t think our experience justifies these prices and when in London we’ll be looking elsewhere in the future (beside our eternal Italian favourite which we never fail to visit, of course!).