Union Street Café
|Union Street Café|
|Established||16 September 2013|
|Head chef||Davide Degiovanni|
|Food type||Italian cuisine|
|Street address||47-51 Great Suffolk Street, Southwark, London, SE1 0BS|
|Seating capacity||99 covers|
Union Street Café is a restaurant, owned by chef Gordon Ramsay, in Southwark, London. It was the first of Ramsay's restaurants to be opened without the involvement of Chris Hutchinson, and at one point was backed by footballer David Beckham. The Café serves Mediterranean cuisine, with mostly Italian dishes. The head chef, Davide Degiovanni, designs the menu, which is changed daily. Before the Café was opened, it received more than 10,000 booking requests, with seating filled to the end of the year. Food critics' reviews have been mixed, with differing opinions of the veal saltimbocca but agreement in dislike of a dish of octopus, borlotti bean, and 'nduja sausage.
The Union Street Café was the first restaurant opened by Gordon Ramsay Holdings without the involvement of Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law, Chris Hutchinson, who was previously the chief executive of the company. Initially English footballer David Beckham was an investor in the restaurant, but he withdrew his support prior to launch.
The interior of the restaurant is decorated in an industrial style designed by Russell Sage, who had previously created the interior of Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen. It has revealed concrete columns, ventilation shafts and without tablecloths on the tables. The location was formerly a loading bay, and the interior design incorporated several original elements into the dining space. The restaurant is located on the ground floor of Harling House and contains space for 99 covers.
Following the launch of the restaurant's website, it received more than 2,500 booking requests in the first four hours and over 10,000 requests before opening. At launch, it was said to be fully booked until the end of the year. The launch party was held on 16 October 2013.
Due to the restaurant's location, prior to opening it was said that they would use fresh produce from suppliers in nearby Borough Market. These include items such as mussels from Wales and clams from Cornwall. The menu is described by the restaurant as "Mediterranean", but was said to be predominantly Italian by reviewers. The menu itself is changed on a daily basis, and designed by head chef Davide Degiovanni. He and Ramsay developed the initial range of dishes together.
Food critic Matthew Norman attended the restaurant on the day after opening. He said in his review for The Daily Telegraph, that the veal saltimbocca was too salty, and found other courses "blisteringly average" or "forgettably adequate". Norman also did not see the point of the Parmesan skin appetisers, saying that they were "bemusing". He gave the restaurant two out of five stars. John Walsh, for The Independent, found the linguine vongole to have "most buttery pasta [he had] ever eaten", and said that the saltimbocca was "astonishing" and that "the chef deserves a medal for keeping this dish simple, dramatic and irresistible." He gave Union Street Café four out of five for both food and service, and three out of five for ambience.
In the review in Time Out, the portion sizes were said to be "considered meagre in the boot of Italy" but certain dishes such as the Parmesan skin appetisers and the chocolate and peanut butter cake were singled out for praise. Marina O'Loughlin wrote in The Guardian said that the mushroom risotto was excellent, as was the homemade gelato. Her only criticism was towards a dish of octopus, borlotti bean and 'nduja. However, she found that her enjoyment of the restaurant was troubled by the sheer expectation of a new Gordon Ramsay restaurant and the media campaign that preceded the opening. She gave it seven out of ten for food, atmosphere and value for money.
David Sexton in London's The Evening Standard, described the crudo of stone bass as "excellent" and found that the tagliolini with rabbit was the best thing on the menu. He also disliked the octopus dish, saying that the 'nduja overpowered the rest of the ingredients. Sexton felt that the cafe was a fully fledged restaurant and gave it three out of five stars.
- O'Loughlin, Marina (19 October 2013). "Restaurant: Union Street Cafe, London SE1". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Not a care in the world? Gordon Ramsay's father-in-law shows no signs of stress after gagging order is lifted". Daily Mail. 25 May 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- Norman, Matthew (24 September 2013). "Union Street Café, London, restaurant review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Sexton, David (17 October 2013). "Union Street Café - restaurant review". Evening Standard. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- McCormack, Kirsty (14 August 2013). "Take a sneak peek at David Beckham and Gordon Ramsay's new restaurant Union Street Cafe". Daily Express. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Walsh, John (5 October 2013). "Restaurant review: Gordon Ramsay's Union Street Café is a terrific Italian but what's the Beckham connection?". The Independent. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- Nicholls, Luke (5 September 2013). "Head chef and opening date confirmed for Ramsay's Union Street Café". Big Hospitality. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "First look: Gordon Ramsay and David Beckham's new restaurant Union Street Cafe is unveiled as it is almost ready to open to diners". Daily Mail. 8 September 2013. Retrieved 16 March 2014.
- "Union Street Café". Time Out London. 9 September 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Gordon Ramsay Celebrates The Launch Of His Union Street Cafe With Wife Tana, Jonathan Ross And Mo Farah (PHOTOS)". EntertainmentWise. 17 October 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- O'Loughlin, Marina (19 October 2013). "Restaurant: Union Street Cafe, London SE1". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 August 2014.