First of all, City Rhodes (since closed but for those with a good memory) was one of the very first, if not the first 'good' restaurant that I ever ate at and that remains imprinted in my memory, and second, his 'Step by Step Cooking' was also my first real cookbook that allowed me to cook dishes for dinner parties that had people exclaim 'wow' when presented at the table (I follow instructions well). For those two reasons alone, he doesn't deserve my betrayal merely because he was too early to the scene (with crazy spikey hair that has since been shaved off) to be a new social media darling. That said, I come to Rhodes 24 with an open mind yet some history.
For note, Rhodes 24 holds a Michelin star and is one of the few restaurants in The City to do so. As intimated, I've been here before several times (pre blog) but my memories of the place from those visits are broadly neutral. On those occasions, my motive for choosing Rhodes 24 was the same as many a diner here today I suspect, it was convenient and reliable. To be honest, I'm not expecting a great deal today as I wonder how relevant Gary Rhodes still is to modern cooking and I know that Rhodes 24 is a 'suit special' where corporate Amex cards rule.
With MrsCC both indifferent to Mr Rhodes and suffering the flu, I'm dining today with a good friend and a wine expert who has written for our blog previously under the pseudonym Very Top Shoulder (read his article on tasting wine here). The result is a closer examination than normal of the wine list where we (read he) spots some amazing value (for those with deep pockets). The highlight of this value is a white Burgundy, Meursault 1er Cru Perrieres JF Coche-Dury 2002, on the wine list at £270. You're thinking hardly a bargain I know. Wine-Searcher.com shows Fine + Rare wines selling the same bottle for £1,056. The wine list then is happy hunting grounds that pays dividends for careful study and there are bargains to be had, no doubt courtesy of the fact that City eating rarely now involves lunch time vino. We say a silent prayer of thanks. What though of the food?
We both start with the Glazed lobster omelette thermidor. The Duck faggot with onion duck gravy is also tempting but the omelette just sounds perfect and we both moved in that direction. In short, it was perfect. It wasn't just lobster in the omelette giving the essence, but the whole omelette itself was infused with rich lobster flavour, and both the lobster and omelette were beautifully cooked. No doubts for either of us, this was a brilliant starter.
Gary Rhodes, both here and at W1 has an audience it seems and today, at Rhodes 24, all tables were busy: that was still the case come 3 o'clock when you might think the suits should have long been back at their desks. Everybody is happy it seems but Rhodes still appears (we surmise) a place that is considered to feed people rather than a place to eat. On the strength of today's showing, that really is a shame. Yes, it is a solid British menu but it's a solid British menu that's done well and one that left us fully satisfied. I too had till now put Rhodes in the corner and now feel a little guilty because of that. So here I am coming out: I like Gary Rhodes and I like his food. Rhodes 24 has a Michelin star and deserves it and I really enjoyed my meal there. So there.
PS, the views expressed here are mine and mine only and are not shared by MrsCC. I can only suggest you try it yourself.
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