Hell's Kitchen Chef Gives Me a Taste of Heaven: Lunch at Gordon Ramsay, The London West Hollywood

Lately there's been a number of great boutique and luxury hotels sprouting up in LA. Though I'll always have a place in my heart for the W's, I'm always looking for something new and exciting; a unique experience, design elements that speak to me, subtle details that show me that they care.

The moment you drive up to The London West Hollywood you feel like you've arrived. Beautiful Ivy covered arches line the driveway, warmly and stylishly welcoming you in...

An embroidered map of Los Angeles behind the front desk makes for a quirky not kitschy touch. The main lobby is glitzy without being gaudy - with their shades of light blue, brown and gold it made you feel like had stepped into the ravamped Ritz in Laguna Beach but more glitz and not a blue hair in sight.

One of the hallways - notice the gold couch and the beautiful lamps which had that old Edison-like bulbs:

As we oo'd and ah'd our way to the restaurant I kept telling Sam that the place reminded me of a more glamorous Huntley.

Though we didn't check out the rooms (they were at 100% occupancy) we are told that there are 200 suites that start at 750 sq feet. In fact, Tripadvisor lists them as #1 of 17 hotels in West Hollywood. That weekend the prices were going for about $400 but can start at $249. (Check out their Fall Getaway.) Formerly the Wyndam Bel-Age hotel, it was bought by LXR Luxury Resorts & Hotels about three years ago, closed down for renovations in May 07 and then reopened about a year later as The London.

Designed by David Collins Studio, The London blends timeless style with modern twists. As their website states, they have a keen way of making the "interior architecture, furniture, lighting and graphic design all interact to seamlessly produce a single strong vision for individual projects which would have a heart, a soul and a personality, as well as commercial viability."

What sets this hotel apart from the other design hotels sprouting or renovating is that they have an awesome restaurant by our favorite badass celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay.

The restaurant is made up of four main colors - pink, blue, brown and gold. I could see how some could see a bit of Barbie or Alice in Wonderland in this but to me, it was absolutely beautiful. It's like the hot head chef got in touch with his feminine side.

The bar was glitzed out in gold, I can see this being the "hot spot" very soon.

We ordered the three course $35 lunch:

For my first course I get the tuna tartare with chilled cucumber soup and granny smith sorbet. I'm not a huge tuna fan but I absolutely loved this dish. It's the delicate balance of ingredients that you wouldn't naturally think would go together. Closest thing I probably will getting a feel of what it's like to be on Top Chef.

Sammy gets the special, off-the-menu appetizer, foie gras or duck liver along with other duck parts including poor Daffy's tongue on a bed of salad. Duck tongue?! Yes - you heard me right, duck tongue. I have a problem with eating anything that gives me a sad visual but I had to put aside those feelings to try this dish out. Again - completely amazing.

Main courses - I have the broiled black code with pigs tail which was a bit too salty but the fish was perfectly prepared. I prefer my black cod with miso so I wasn't a huge fan of this dish, I expected a different taste.

Sam has the roasted top sirloin lamb with shoulder and mashed potatoes. He's a big lamb buff and he was savoring every bite. Mashed potatoes were the most creamy, soft and delicious potatoes I've ever had. Sam said this was the most delicious lamb he's ever had in his life.

Desserts? I have the coconut tapioca - which is sizable and just what you think it will be like, slightly chilled with passion fruit this dessert was larger than I expected.

Sammy has the chocolate fondant with brown butter caramel and vanilla ice cream. Now for all you chocolate fans out there this was completely decadent.

Finished with lunch - we were more than satisfied with our meal. The service was excellent right from the start. Everyone's dressed crisp white colored shirts and grey pant suits - they blend in perfectly with the surroundings. Every dish is served with two waiters - one to hold the serving tray, the other to present it to you. Loved the extra touch.

As we were leaving we noticed the private rooms where you can have a nice dinner party or bridal shower, just gorgeous inside.

A small tour by manager Nick takes us to the roof - or 10th floor - which has the pool and magnificent views of the city.

Overall?: Food, decor, service, ambiance - just an amazing experience overall. Highly recommend it once if not a few times.

Who Should Go?: People who want to celebrate a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, it's Friday) and want to dine in a chic restaurant in WeHo. People who aren't too hungry - the portions are small, as expected from a place like this. People who will notice and appreciate the style and design of this place and not dismiss it for being a little over the top.

Tips: Check out some of David Collins other projects, if you have some time. You have to be staying at the hotel to use their rooftop pool or you can shell out $350 for a bungalow for 4 hours. If you're a baller this place is a nice, romantic, cool but not too trendy place to take your hot date. The place is on San Vicente right before Sunset, as you are going north a small alley way to your right.

And finally parking is a bit expensive:


If you stay there, let me know how it is! (I'd really like to move in permanently so will be working on that angle, too.) :)

London West Hollywood (website)
1020 N San Vicente Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90069
(310) 854-1111
Map

Gordon Ramsay at the London on Urbanspoon

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Tags: architecture, gordon, hollywood, hotel, london, ramsay, west

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Comment by alice on September 16, 2008 at 8:46am
yeah i love the cuff! thanks! :)
Comment by Annie on September 16, 2008 at 8:03am
wow...this place looks amazing! you're so right...definitely has all the makings to be the next hot spot. better visit it before its becomes impossible to get in. thanks for the recap!=)
Comment by PANDA JU on September 15, 2008 at 10:13pm
I want to be a baller
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