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FACT Review: Can Gordon Ramsay’s Lucky Cat strike it lucky with Londoners?

After cultural appropriation criticism, we tried our luck at the Pan Asian restaurant.

Have you ever seen the Chinese comedian Uncle Roger critiquing Jamie Oliver’s egg fried rice? The video has more than 26 million views, and sums up cultural appropriation in the restaurant industry. As Jamie throws spring onions in a pan, the vlogger screeches: “You hear sizzling, I hear my ancestors crying.” When the British celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay, opened Lucky Cat in Mayfair, it hit the headlines for claiming to be an “authentic Asian” experience – and he isn’t, well, Asian. So, we grabbed our chopsticks and visited the Pan Asian restaurant to see for ourselves.

Gordon hails from Johnstone, Scotland. He has restaurants across the world including Dubai, Hong Kong and Las Vegas. He is famous for his cocky and controversial personality in TV shows ranging from Hell’s Kitchen to The F Word. Profanity aside, he is an award-winning chef and his restaurants currently hold seven MICHELIN Stars. 

Lucky Cat

Lucky Cat is located in London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square. The décor draws its inspiration from 1930s Tokyo’s drinking dens. The entrance boasts a red neon logo, and the friendly staff are on hand to take our winter layers. The long dramatic bar with its black chairs, navy carpets, wine cabinets and dark wooden panels feel like a gentleman’s club. The restaurant’s small to spacious tables are accompanied by soft seats, which encourage you to linger for longer. And, even though it is lunch, the venue is buzzing with locals and tourists.

Lucky Cat’s serves snacks, raw and salads, maki, tempura and fried, dumplings and bao, vegetables and rice, fish and desserts, and there is even an omakase menu. The dishes are designed for sharing, and great for groups. Be warned: the portions are on the petite and pricy side. 

Lucky Cat

True to its name, a golden waving cat serves as a chopstick holder, and it can be purchased by guests who want a memento. The Beetroot Salad combines fresh feta with juicy chunks of salad. The Tofu and Spicy Avocado Bao is so good, we order it twice. The Pork Belly Bao is too chewy for our liking, but has an appetising apple hoisin finish. And, crucially, the Egg Fried Rice would have passed the Uncle Roger test. 

The Chrisashi Ceviche is a colourful concoction, and has a sweet yet spicy kick. The Sliced Yellowtail is oh-so sharply sliced and is full of zest. One of the most popular dishes on the menu is the JFC, which gives KFC an upgrade and is a crash course in classy comfort food. The chicken chunks are coated in a creamy sauce, but have hints of Korean miso and black sesame. 

Not many people come to a Pan Asian restaurant for desserts, but the chefs have tried to fuse flavours. The options range from the Chocolate Tofu to Mochi The Snowman. While they hit the sweet spot, the servings are (again) on the small side.

Lucky Cat

While the drinks service is slow, our waiter Luca is entertaining and an expert on the menu. The drinks span cocktails, wines and sake. The twists on classic drinks range from the Nori Martini to Okinawa Margarita. The Lucky Negroni is served in style: we are given a dice to roll, and different numbers correlate to different blends.  

Britain has a history of reinterpreting dishes – take Chicken Tikka Masala, which was inspired by India, created in Glasgow and hailed the national dish by Labour politician, Robin Cooke. Lucky Cat offers a contemporary take on classic dishes. If you’re looking for an authentic Asian restaurant, this isn’t it. If you’re looking for a fun and fabulous Pan Asian spot, Lucky Cat ticks all of the boxes. 

GO: Visit www.gordonramsayrestaurants.com for more information. 

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Kohinoor Sahota - Deputy Editor
A sucker for a good story, if you invite Kohinoor to a gallery, comedy night, new restaurant, hiking trip, cycle ride, pool day or just about any activity, she’ll probably say yes – that is if she isn’t busy planning her next adventure.

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