Maze Grill, Royal Hospital Road

The Gordon Ramsay group is expanding at speed, with his eateries popping up all over London. Last week I was invited to sample the menu at the new Chelsea branch of Maze Grill, arguably Ramsay’s most successful casual brand. Located on Royal Hospital Road it is the neighbour of his renowned 3 star establishment down the road.

The restaurant feels boutique-y, but with a cosy ground floor area there is enough space for a decent number of covers. I was sat, along with a few select food bloggers, at an upstairs table. We discussed recent food discoveries and inspiring travels whilst enjoying a glass of fizz.

With Maze Grill, Ramsay hopes to emulate the offering and atmosphere of the American sushi and steak houses. The menu focuses on these cuisines, with a few other tempting dishes for vegetarians. An impressive plate of sushi arrived for us to pick at, and the vibrancy of the colours indicated just how fresh the food was. It looked beautiful. We also enjoyed a few of the sharing starters, addictive Sweet Potato chips with Mexican-inspired smashed avocados and spicy crunchy Buffalo chicken fillets with chilli and lime.

For main course, an array of decadent dishes arrived. The star of the show was the wooden platter of steak which I strategically ensured I was close to. We tried the USDA Prime Sirloin (£3.40/oz) and the special but expensive Wagyu triple seared fillet (£14.50/oz). Despite the wow factor of the wagyu I preferred the flavour and texture of the American sirloin which was cooked to perfection with a lovely charcoal hint to the crispy edge. I’ve never seen steak served with lime, but it was a nice citrus addition to the dish. Every variety of sauce is available, usually peppercorn would be my preference but at Maze Grill I thought the (alarmingly orange) hot sauce or béarnaise were the tastiest. It was strange to not have fries with the steak, but my gluttonous streak was satisfied with the rich Mac & cheese and huge puffy onion rings.

Delicious wine from Washington accompanied the starter and then we moved on to a hearty red with the steak. The service was quietly attentive for the duration of the meal. Staff stayed out of the way as we arranged the plates and photographed everything… a group of food bloggers are not the easiest people to serve!

Indulgent desserts soon covered the table, a blur of sugary treats. The highlight was the ‘Monkey bread’ a soft cinnamon flavoured bread, that sunk invitingly as I dunked my spoon in. Topped with caramelised pecans, sticky caramel sauce and melting vanilla ice-cream, it was not dissimilar to a luxury version of my brunch favourite, French toast.

We left Maze Grill a few pounds heavier, but happy and content after the sushi and steak banquet. I’m not sure how much input Ramsay has in his ever-growing chain of restaurants, but either way they seem to be enjoying continuing success, with or without him at the helm.

More information and book a table at Maze Grill Chelsea here.

Maze Grill, Mayfair

Maze Grill is known for its superb steaks, but I was keen to visit for its recommended burger. Located in the same building as Gordon Ramsay’s more prestigious Maze (serving award-winning French and Asian influenced food), Maze Grill has a relaxed atmosphere and a menu of British best.

We began with a simple cocktail, sweet but tasty fruit flavoured martinis… my lychee variant was particularly good. Sitting down in the plush corner sofa seats we could voyeuristically observe the restaurant’s running. Busy and bustling, the place was full from early evening and everyone seemed to be having a great time… I was optimistic about the meal ahead.

A cheeky chappy came over with ‘the board’, loaded with glistening hunks of meat. Each had its own story, assets and limitations, I listened intently… after all one of these would soon be on my plate. We rapidly chose our first course, crispy calamari and, staying true to my burger promise I ordered the sliders, with a Maze burger for main. It was a feast of meat, cheese and carbs… a diet dream! The calamari was tasted fresh and Mediterranean strewn with spring onions and a wedge of lime.

Though I was disappointed with the burger, my friend’s steak was definitely in my top three I have ever tried, and I envied his every bite. The burger was neatly presented and served with a couple of onion rings. Despite requesting the meat medium, the patty was very dense and a bit dry, although the flavour was still good. The butter lettuce, tomato and Monterey Jack cheese were all good but the bread was too thick and filling, and I couldn’t finish it all.

Steak is really what Maze Grill is all about and I’m pleased to say that they excel in this area. We experienced the most tender and wonderful 8oz Wagyu “9th grade” sirloin steak. It was so good I could imagine requesting it as my last meal on earth. Along with half a roasted garlic, and a very thick and creamy bearnaise sauce, I really couldn’t fault it. For those who don’t know… Wagyu is the designer steak of ultimate indulgence. The cow is massaged (and some are even fed beer) to create an evenly marbled, melt in the mouth meat.

Chips were delicious too, hand cut and parmesan & truffle french fries are on offer. We tried both, naturally. I was particularly enamoured of the fries subtly seasoned with truffle oil and a modest sprinkling of parmesan.

Wine was chosen according to our food choices – the sommelier picked appropriately and thoughtfully offering us different reds to suit the burger and steak, and a crisp, drinkable white to start.

I must admit I found the service a little suffocating. Seven staff members attended to us constantly throughout the night: concierge, hostess, waiter, sommelier, waitress, meat expert. It was very flattering but also quite distracting; when your mouthfuls are so regularly interrupted indigestion is inevitable. Aside from that the food was commendable… and with steaks this good I’m sure Maze Grill will always be busy.

More information here.