Ming loves food. To him, the price of food know no boundaries. As long as it's good it's good.
Me on the other hand.... I like food but not enough to spend an obscene amount on it (unless it's a once in a while thing). So knowing that I will refuse to go for any really expensive meals, Ming booked a lunch at Gordon Ramsay's Maze in London without asking me first.
I found out about it first when I saw his tweet on Twitter which went something like "WOOHOO BOOKED A PLACE AT ONE OF GORDON RAMSAY'S RESTAURANTS WITH @TIMOTHYTIAH!"... but he later very casually told me "Eh by the way, we're going to Gordon Ramsay's" for lunch.
I resisted as much as I could but Ming insisted on going (especially since he already gave his credit card details to them). So a few days later I was there.
Finding the restaurant was a whole different thing altogether. Ming and I were looking for it and we walked past it like a few times without even noticing it on the side. The entrance was very low-key. No big signboard, no advertising ... nothing. I guess it didn't need all that to be known.
The place looked really nice. It was empty when we reached because we were early but as lunch hour went on, the place began to really fill up. It became packed with working people dressed in suits all having what looked like business lunches and speaking in English accents. Made me and Ming look damn low class since we were dressed in jeans and t-shirt.
The waiter explained that Maze was a bit of what he called a "savory" restaurant where we try a lot of small small dishes. So we made our orders and this is what we had.
Note: The name of the dishes on the menu were like really really long so I could hardly remember what they were. I'm going to keep it simple. Like a little too simple haha.
Quail that had very little meat on it but tasted out of this world!
Some vegetable thingy I randomly picked (and kinda regretted because it tasted weird).
And this is dessert.
Some mousse thing that looks more like ice-cream than anything.
Throughout the lunch, Ming was busy taking pictures of the food with "The Beast" (what he calls his behemoth of an SLR).
Here's what I think about it overall.
My experience at Maze really made me look at food differently. The experience was just so different. We're so used to knowing how certain things taste. Like if we see char kuay teow, we know what that will taste like. If we see fish, we kinda know what that will taste like but you don't know what to expect when you look at the food in Maze. It's like you look at the quail and you don't know what to expect of how it tastes like and what it eventually does take like is something you've never before tasted.
To make the experience even better, when you put say the food in your mouth, two things happen to you:
1) You instantly feel a burst of all different type of tastes. It's like your tongue buds have an orgasm and you're confused at what you're tasting (because you know you're tasting so many different types of taste) but it feels great.
2) You taste the different phases of something you eat. Like the first 1-2 seconds of putting the food in your mouth you taste something, then between 4-5 seconds you feel a different taste kick in and even after you finish, each dish has a different aftertaste lingering in your mouth.
Ming was happy!
To rationalize the price though, I decided that you had to look at it not as a meal but a whole experience. Like a thrill ride for your oral senses. It is after all something that I don't think you can have every day even if you were a billionaire. Plus I can't imagine that there's better food than this but apparently the original Gordon Ramsay restaurant is even more insane. So much that you have to make reservations two months before.
Here's the cool thing about lunch at Maze though. Eventhough the portions were really really tiny, I was very full at the end of the lunch.