I hate the fact that you have to ring the bell to be let in to Gauthier, like it is some exclusive private club that is inaccesible, when simply a phonecall will ensure you have a table here. Even more frustrating is that virtually all through the evening, the doorbell rings almost constantly. Service is nothing short of a complete and utter farce. They claim to offer complimentary still/sparkling water to all guests, yet getting a single glass of the stuff would be a fine thing. We had to ask 4 times for top ups throughout the evening and once he did actually make it over to our table, he carelessly sloshed water into our glasses like we were at some cheap motorway service station.
Service aside, the food is fantastic, of which there is no denying. A starter of Foie Gras was seared to perfection with a sweet sauce and plump raisins scattered across the plate. The Autumn truffle risotto was also excellent, rice perfectly al dente bound in a creamy, rich sauce pungent with white truffle oil and topped with an absurd and flavourless mass of shaved truffle. This truffle-less-truffle seems to be shaved onto virtually every dish throughout the evening. Not unpleasant, just not particularly imparting any flavour either. The seabass with clams and artichoke puree paled in comparison to the previous two courses with an underseasoned, sludgy puree and an unrecognisable cut of seabass that lacked the delicate nature that seabass has. Service remained unattentive with no wine or water at the table at one point, despite it being ordered.
Our main course took a whole hour to arrive which was beyond ridiculous. When speaking to the manager about it, though he did apologise, there seemed to be little interest and his remedy was to send a waiter over with bread which was laughable if not a tad patronising. The main course finally arrived with thick slices of venison fillet, perfectly rare accompanied by williams pear, truffled savoy cabbage and a bizarre chunk of bland pumpkin, which did the dish no harm. Full marks for the venison and overall there is little doubt that Alexis Gauthier's style of cooking is very impressive indeed, however the kitchen are a little slow, to say the least and the front of house definitely let the whole experience down greatly. We didn't bother with dessert in the event we would have to wait another hour and I can confidently say that I shall not be returning to Gauthier again. Whilst the cooking is technically very good and in some cases even faultless, the overall experience was a disappointment and somewhere between the constant ringing of the door bell and being ignored by the wait staff, my patience took a leave of absence.