I booked Petrus as part of a 4-day London weekend and invited two friends on their honeymoon as a gift to them. I had already gone to "Texture" a few nights earlier and considering how good I thought that was, Petrus had a lot to live up to. Being ranked #1 among restaurants in London means expectations are obviously extremely high. I don't particularly care if it's a Gordon restaurant or not, to me a great restaurant is a great restaurant regardless if it's run by a famous chef or not.
Service entire evening was near perfect. From being seated to all the servers serving different things to the sommeiller. We were initially asked for food allergies and food dislikes and the (italian?) waiter got everything we said backwards (one of us was Vegetarian), but these things happen and it was cleared up with another waiter and didn't create any further problems.
The location of the restaurant is on a quiet street just off Hyde Park Corner, and it's clear it's a very expensive neighborhood as every car parked outside the local buildings is a fancy one. The first impression of the restaurant was that it was quite dark. The central "pillar" in the middle is the wine cellar where you can see all the wines racked up. The tables are spaced much further away from each other than for example at Texture, so this means you will have a more private and "somber" experience which may be more romantic to some. I can't complain on the mood as this is very much a personal thing.
Menu was quite short and they do the classic "tasting menu" or a la carte. We opted for tasting menu and apart from a few dishes that didn't fit our tastes we stuck with the menu. For all others it was possible to switch out what we didn't want with something else (within limits). I'm sad to say we didn't do the wine pairing as on top of the tasting menu they wanted more than twice as much for a pairing (menu was 70, with pairing it was 160!). I found this to be far, far too expensive, and thus we ordered a single bottle of wine instead. What a pity, but it was just too much for my wallet, so perhaps this restaurant is out of my league in that sense. I'll accept that. The wine list is extensive though, loads of options, and quite French focused, so most wine-lovers should be happy.
The food was really good, but it had faults. I found some dishes were hard to figure out how to eat despite the very pretty presentation. They had a lot of elements and sometimes I wish the waiter had told us how to best eat it. In one case the waiter didn't even know what was in something when we asked, and merely said "something the chefs created". Sure, fair enough, but we are curious people, we'd like to know what we're eating.
The Foie Gras had veins in it, not what I'd expect even if it can happen. The pigeon was quite tough despite seemingly cooked to perfection, and we also found one or two dishes could have been warmer, especially the beef which was lukewarm. Perhaps hot plates would've helped if they can't keep it hot due to room temperatures or whatever it may be. I also didn't understand why we didn't get steak-style knives for meat dishes, the normal knives were not sharp enough. Yes, these are minor things but nevertheless they are important.
We were served additional dishes between our tasting menu, so in the end the total came out to a total of 8 or 9 dishes from a menu of 5. This is always great fun and really adds to the experience and "value". We were also given "free" side dishes with our meat dish, also a nice gesture. We did find the dauphinoise potatoes and green beans a bit too buttery though and a bit "nothing special". The most memorable dish was one of the surprise ones, a tiny ice cream cone-like dessert that had "pop rocks" in them (exploding sugar), we had some good laughs eating it as they kept popping for minutes afterwards. The chocolate sphere being served is definitely fun to watch, I won't give it away, but it's worth ordering (and it's delicious to boot). It's their signature dessert.
In the end it was a great food experience, but compared to Texture a few nights earlier I couldn't help thinking they did a better job at around the same price. Perhaps the question should be "would I go back?". I probably would but I'd check the current menu before I went and I really think the wine pairing price needs to be reconsidered. If the wines are so expensive that they cost more than the tasting menu itself then perhaps the wines themselves should be brought down a notch. Texture got it right in this regard.
If you're considering a private romantic dinner at a high class restaurant I think Petrus would be a great choice, and If you're after "predictable" (meaning: French-origin) Michelin food it's also a good choice. If you want something experimental or more lively, look elsewhere. You should also expect the final price to be very high if you're having wine (and you will), but you should already know that if you're considering a Michelin-starred restaurant in general, so this is no negative on Petrus.
I see on other reviews they do a 30 GBP lunch. This sounds like an excellent chance to see what the restaurant is like and I wish I'd known that from the start, as that's a very reasonable priced luxury lunch.
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