For a famously hot-tempered chef, Gordon Ramsay’s latest restaurant is surprisingly laid-back. Perhaps that’s by design: Ramsay sweats the details so his customers can relax. Whatever the reason, Heddon Street Kitchen is a welcome addition to the London dining scene, with lunch, brunch, dinner, and cocktails given a modern European twist. Reservations are welcome but rarely necessary, since it’s located in a massive warehouse-style space in the Regent Street Food Quarter. You’ll find an open kitchen and room for more than 200 people, so even if it looks packed, hang around for a minute. You’ll be seated soon.
This flexibility makes it an excellent place to pop into on a whim during your next group outing–even if you secretly planned it the whole time. Say you’re shopping on Oxford Street with your friends and you need a rest and a bite. You’ll be the hero when you break through the crowd and lead your buddies to 3-9 Heddon Street, where the 12th addition to Ramsay’s London restaurant family will revive you with the delicious meat or fish of your choosing, be it roasted, braised, baked, smoked, or steamed, along with an impressive selection of market-fresh vegetables.
The black and yellow banquettes feel heavenly after a few hours of shopping, and the warm, dark hues of the wooden tables and floors give you the feeling you’re at a family steak house — like one of those places you’d go with mum and dad, if a bit more contemporary. Steak is definitely on the menu here, and much of it is fired up on the fancy Josper grill, the hottest indoor barbecue out there (comparisons to Ramsay’s demeanor are there for the taking). But leave the steak for your friend to order and you to steal and go instead for the superbly flavoured Dingley Dell pork chop, or the HSK short rib burger: a succulent patty served with gooey Monterey Jack, marrowbone, and a smoky-sweet hickory bacon ketchup that makes you want to scorn all other ketchup for the rest of your life.
You may have been feeling a bit hangry when you walked in the door but it’s all good vibes at the table now, with a feast from Brooklyn-bred head chef Maria Tampakis in front of you and cocktails from the “what we would drink on our night off” portion of the menu to sip (try the Prince Regents cobbler: Black Bottle Scotch and tawny port with blackberries and soda, a fizzy yet far-from-frivolous concoction). Raise a toast to a successful day’s shopping and linger a while as you take in the industrial-chic atmosphere–thick iron beams crisscross with shiny chrome duct work–and the creative, well-dressed crowd doing pretty much the same thing you are.
When the meal’s over but you can’t quite brave the hordes of holiday shoppers just yet, impress your friends yet again by guiding them upstairs to the full-service ice-cream bar. Here you can perch yourself on a swiveling bar stool and order a sundae, float, or banana split just like a 1950s teenybopper. Pop a spoonful in your mouth, swing your feet under the counter, and remember that holiday feeling as you relax a while longer in the irascible British chef’s wonderfully peaceful new spot.