'The Maze Grill Park Walk ticks all the boxes'

Maze Grill Park Walk

Open Mon–Fri midday–11pm; Sat and Sun 10am–11pm

Plus One surveyed the long restaurant with its carefully chosen photographs, subdued green banquettes, exposed brickwork and deep bar, and pronounced The Maze Grill Park Walk to be Gordon Ramsay’s best restaurant. I think, in this instance, Plus One may be right. Team GR has done its homework and has totally got the feel for this neighbourhood, to which it offers fresh, simple and reliable food (which never fails to surprise or delight) in a chic but soothing ambience.

The menu is not huge but very cleverly manages to combine the most perfect mix of dishes. The starters comprise comfort food, such as shrimp toast, tuna devilled eggs and English asparagus. Plus One, however, immediately zoned in on the soft-shell crab sliders (£11), which were succulent little mouthfuls of tender crustacean served in tiny buns.

The MGPW also has sushi and sashimi for starters, which were bursting with delicate flavours, each one perfectly scaffolded on the other. I had the finely sliced scallops yuzu (£14) accompanied by salmon caviar, shiso, ponzu, and frozen yuzu carefully grated on to the dish by Elina. It was one for the gods!

The impressive selection of meat is, I suppose, the Maze’s pièce de résistance. They offer grain-fed Japanese and US meat and, of course, the famous Wagyu (£14.50/oz.). Isn’t that from the cows who are sung to and gently massaged before they end as a triple-seared fillet? We shared a 10oz rib-eye (£30) from the Lake District: it was chewy, without being tough, and exceedingly flavoursome. It was also cooked to perfection on the slightly rare side of medium, as requested.

The wine list is also another indication of Team GR having got it absolutely right. It is not extensive but each wine has been carefully selected to accompany the food and most can be ordered by the glass (the restaurant uses Coravin, enabling wine to be dispensed from an unopened bottle while keeping the rest in perfect condition) at a reasonable price. There’s a Bardolino (£7) from the Veneto, a Malbec from Cahors, France (£10.50) and a Lalande de Pomerol (£14) from Château Siaurac (2009). This last was heavenly: it had all the gravitas yet playfulness of a Lalande; spicy, earthy (tasting slightly of truffles) yet fruity.

The knowledgeable and utterly charming manager Elina insisted I try the Alsatian wine with the sushi starters and she was right to do so. Gyotaku (£9.50) from Mittnacht Frères, 2012, has a lot going on: it is aromatic, dry, quite complex and perfectly complements fish yet is also robust enough to take on soy or wasabi.

I am always somewhat defeated by desserts but the persuasive pastry chef was not going to let that happen on this occasion. He brought a long tray of tiny desserts, one of which we thought he called a James Bond pudding (in fact, it was a jam sponge pudding, but sounds so much better our way!). It was exactly the kind of pudding one didn’t get at school but yearned for on cold, rainy days. The Maze’s pastry chef raises this humble but much-loved dessert to new heights.

We also tried a vanilla set custard with rhubarb, a gluten-free chocolate cake and a strawberry Eton mess, a favourite at this time of year. Most of the desserts are £6.

Plus One said I should mention the music in this slick yet understated restaurant. It is distinctive and interesting without being obtrusive and shifts very subtly from rock to funk to jazz as the evening progresses. You wanted to slide further into your chair and listen to it indefinitely while sipping the Lalande Pomerol by the end of the evening.

Much like wizards with magic potions, Team GR really has concocted the most perfect mix in this restaurant. Elina and her staff are all delightful: they are welcoming without ever being intrusive and knowledgeable without ever being pedantic, imbuing the restaurant with a relaxed, neighbourhood feel. Owen Sullivan, the head chef, works wonders with the food, conjuring comforting deliciousness from every element he touches. If only I were a local (with a large bank balance) I would have lunch and dinner here every day. Life is too short not to.

Maze Grill Park Walk, 11 Park Walk, London SW10; 020 7255 9299; www.gordonramsay.com/maze-grill-park-walk

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