UPDATE: Apparently, poutine is no longer served at this restaurant
Finding poutine in Europe is difficult. You’d think you could find a decent poutine in Paris, but Parisians have never shown much interest in cuisine from Quebec. It seems there’s only one place that serves it called “The Great Canadian Pub.” I refused to set foot in this place because 1) it has a stupid name, 2) it has giant sports screens and 3) the poutine is supposedly crap.
So I took the Eurostar and headed to London, which had more options. London also has its fair share of tacky Canada-themed pubs for the hoser crowd – all of which apparently serve abominations topped with grated cheese. However, Gordon Ramsay’s Foxtrot Oscar claimed to serve the real thing with proper squeaky cheese. Since online comments were generally positive, I decided to check it out.
Foxtrot Oscar is in the snooty part of London around Sloane Square. It’s luxury central, and the restaurant seemed offputtingly pompous for a self-proclaimed gastropub. The Hungarian waiter saw “plebe” written all over our faces and instantly directed us to a table in the basement. Okay, maybe I’m just imagining this. In the end, he turned out to be alright – in fact, the service was much friendlier than what you usually find in Britain.
Don’t let this photo deceive you, this poutine is much better than it looks.
Fries: Although our burger came with thick British chips, the poutine came with North American fries. This disappointed some of the Brits at our table, but you can’t really fault this restaurant for trying to get it right. The fries were tasty: crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. One of our fellow diners felt they were a little conservative: “There’s scope for them to talk a bit more.” Conservative perhaps, but what do you FUCKING* expect in Sloane Square?(*the swearing is a tribute to Gordon Ramsay). 26/30.
Gravy: This is the best poutine gravy I’ve ever had – it was rich, slightly sweet, with a pleasing fullness. Everyone agreed that the gravy was FUCKING outstanding. One person said it was “a little too sweet,” someone else said it was “a little too salty” while I thought it was just right. 50/50.
Cheese: Like most poutine cheese outside of Canada, there was something slightly unusual about these curds. They looked right, but somehow tasted a little too sharp to be proper. They had a slight squeak, but not quite the sound of same-day freshness. Moreover, the curds were all slightly melted and clumped together in one BIG FUCKING LUMP hidden under the fries. 12/20.
Verdict: Did I mention that this is the best gravy I’ve ever had? You’re unlikely to find a better poutine in London.
Price:High – £6.50 ($10.50). I suppose this isn’t too bad considering that 1) you’re in Britain and 2) this is a Gordon Ramsay restaurant.
Opening Hours: MON-SAT 12:00-15:00, 18:00-22:30; SUN 12:00-15:45, 18:00-21:00.
Location: 79 Royal Hospital Road, London, UK.