The team at three Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay pride themselves on giving every guest an experience to remember – whether it is their first encounter with fine dining, or they’re familiar faces. Adjacent to the kitchen and separate from the main dining room is the Inspiration Table, which seats up to four guests. Chef de Cuisine, Matt Abe, explains what it is like for the team to create a unique dining experience at this table.
The Inspiration Table has been designed to focus the diners’ attention on the food, chefs and sommeliers. Matt explains that Gordon and he spent a long time deciding on the unusual half-octagon shape of the table. ‘The whole idea is that we provide a show. All the seating positions are focused in towards the centre, whether there’s one, two, three or four guests at the table. Everyone can really interact with both the chefs and the food as we present it to them. It gives us the opportunity to bring more theatre and drama to the meal.’
Theatre and drama are certainly not in short supply. ‘As the table is only a few steps from the kitchen, we can bring out dishes to carve, plate, sauce and garnish right in front of the guests. We’ve even brought out a barbecue before for some amazing short ribs that we really wanted to show them.’ Matt’s excitement at sharing the cooking processes and fantastic ingredients the team are working with is what drives a lot of the experience. ‘I love telling people what we do, how we’ve cooked it, where it’s from, and it’s really exciting to be able to create a completely different menu for each set of guests.’
Guests at the Inspiration Table are treated to a bespoke menu of seasonal ingredients, dishes in development, and classic Restaurant Gordon Ramsay signatures. Matt and the team like to ‘challenge people’s perceptions of food’, whether that’s serving a plethora of canapés, bringing out a tin of caviar instead of a spoonful, carving a whole rack of venison at the table or trying out a new dessert concept.
With a unique menu for each event, the team concentrate their attention on utilising the best seasonal produce they have available and tailoring it to their guests. ‘If someone on the table is vegan or vegetarian, we don’t want them to miss out on anything – we’ll make sure they have a menu specifically designed for them but that ties in with the rest of the meal. It should feel part of the same experience. Recently we had a table with a sugar-free guest, so it was interesting to design a completely savoury menu that was still balanced. The team thrive on this kind of challenge – it lets us be creative in ways we can’t always be.’
The guests really do drive the whole experience. ‘We let each guest determine how much they want to interact with us, some people don’t want to talk much, others hang off every word and ask so many questions that I start to worry their food will go cold!’ Likewise drinks choices are led by guests. Head Sommelier, James Lloyd, will take his cue from the diners rather than designing a set pairing, whether that’s one special bottle for the table, a different red with every course or new tastes and varieties they’ve not encountered before. Even the water glasses have been chosen especially for the table – with a double insulation layer to prevent condensation on the black leather table-top.
This kind of attention to detail is what makes the Inspiration Table a one-of-a-kind dining experience. Guests are invited to engage with the whole team, from Matt himself to Sous Chefs Kim and James, the sommeliers and staff who are all able to bring the culinary journey to life. With a new appreciation for Michelin dining alongside a signed menu and special edition plate to take home, guests are guaranteed to leave the Inspiration Table with far more than when they arrived.
Book your experience at the Inspiration Table here.