Bread Street Kitchen, One New Change, 10 Bread Street, London EC4

One of the many mysteries surrounding Gordon Ramsay is why his cut-the-crap, no-nonsense TV persona is so far removed from the prissiness of his restaurants. On screen he's all blood, sweat and shouting; in his dining rooms it's all lilies, amuse-bouches and murmuring.

Now comes Bread Street Kitchen, the Ramsay group's latest mega-opening in the City, and this time he's doing things differently. It's informal, it's democratic, and it takes its aesthetic from the lofts of Shoreditch rather than the gilded salons of Paris. In short, Gordon's gone groovy. "Drop in and say hello," Bread Street Kitchen's website chummily entreats.

Occupying a substantial slab of One New Change, a shiny development of offices and shops in the shadow of St Paul's, Bread Street Kitchen is just a few steps from Jamie Oliver's Barbecoa, which got there first and nabbed all the cathedral views. Gordon's place is bigger and buzzier than Jamie's, positioning itself as a Wolseley for the City and open from early morning until late at night. As it turns out, the all-day dining option means that a lunch can drag on almost till teatime. But we'll come on to that.

Bread Street Kitchen opened a year later than planned, and apparently cost £5m. When you walk in, you can immediately see why. This isn't a restaurant, it's a small town, with its own microclimate; a monumental space, seating 250, criss-crossed by gantries and flooded with light from wraparound 20 foot-high windows.

Designers Russell Sage Studio have showcased the building's concrete struts and exposed ducting to create an authentic industrial feel, and brilliantly scaled up the reclaimed, shabby-chic look to fill the space, using old school chairs, laboratory stools, and enough vintage Anglepoises to fill a Design Museum retrospective. Sure, it's a pastiche, but it's a brilliantly convincing one – so much so that my lunch guest asked, "What was this place before?", even though he'd just walked in through the new development.

The menu is similarly on-trend, to the extent that it reads like a synthesis of influences from other people's restaurants – here a bit of trad Brit meatiness, there some Tuscan rusticity, some dishes from the raw bar, some from the wood stone oven, all leavened with buzz-word ingredients and concepts –burrata, meatballs, macaroni cheese as a side dish. If this was an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon would take one look at the 20-plus starters and similar number of mains and say, "Guys – focus on what you're good at!".

In fact, nearly everything we ate was good, from super-crisp potato croquettes filled with braised pig's cheek, to a nicely-balanced crab linguine, warmed by a breath of chilli. Steaks and burgers are the new gold standard of London dining, and BSK's burger (£11.50) is a worthy contender, made with ground short rib, for a notably juicy bite and topped with melted Bermondsey Flier cheese. Hand-cut chips, ordered as a side, had the flavour and crunch that comes with triple cooking, though they weren't billed as such. A pie – actually more of a hot-pot – of slow-cooked shank of Herdwick mutton under a mashed potato lid, looks set to become a signature dish, from the way it was flying out of the kitchen.

Our waitress was obviously unfamiliar with the menu – she didn't stop us ordering mashed potato as a side dish for a potato-lidded pie – and it took four attempts to make her understand the words 'Chianti Classico'. "It's playing up," she explained as she stabbed desperately at her handheld device; only some of the orders were reaching the kitchen. "Hopefully yours has gone through," she offered.

It hadn't, and our lunch lurched forward in fits and starts, with one starter arriving a full 15 minutes after the other. Our wine was taken to the wrong table and, 90 minutes after arriving, we were still waiting to order puddings. In the City, more than anywhere else, lunch has to be quick, but the euro could have collapsed during the time we were there.

Our lunch, now drifting seamlessly into afternoon tea, ended with a voluptuous chocolate tart, served with salted caramel ice-cream, and cinnamon-dusted ricotta beignets – oddly successful, considering they're basically cheese doughnuts. But by that stage we were rather desperate to leave.

Of course, in the opening week of a huge new restaurant, things are going to go wrong (though if anyone should get a launch right, it's Gordon bloody Ramsay). But the response from the managers – young and Hoxton-y, in their skinny brown suits – was to ignore us, despite our clearly signalled distress. No dish was taken off the bill, no compensatory glass of wine offered.

It was the inverse of the normal problem with Ramsay restaurants, where you get impeccable service in a sterile atmosphere. Bread Street Kitchen is a potentially fantastic restaurant, exciting and – yes! – hip. But they don't have a clue how to look after their customers. And unless they bring a little uptown courtesy to their new downtown operation, I won't be dropping in again to say hello anytime soon.

Bread Street Kitchen, One New Change 10 Bread Street, London EC4 (020-7592 1616)

Food 3 stars
Ambience 4 stars
Service 1 stars

Around £50 a head for three courses, before wine and service

Tipping policy: "Service charge is 12.5 per cent discretionary, of which 100 per cent goes to the staff; all tips go to the staff"

Side orders: City slickers

The Door

This popular new addition to the City restaurant scene specialises in Maldon oysters and superior steaks from around the world.

33 Cornhill, London EC3 (020 7929 1378)

Galvin La Chapelle

The third eaterie from the Galvin brothers serves dishes including grilled fillet of Scottish beef, cèpes persillade and potato millefeuille.

35 Spital Square,London, E1 (020-7299 0400)

L'Anima

Francesco Mazzei cooks innovative food in elegant surroundings - try the wood-roasted turbot with artichokes and Calabrian sausages.

1 Snowden Street,Broadgate,London,EC20872 148 1767

Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Arts and Entertainment
James Hewitt has firmly denied being Harry’s father
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Catherine (Sarah Lancashire) in Happy Valley ((C) Red Productions/Ben Blackall)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

    The Locked Room Mysteries

    As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
    Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

    How I made myself Keane

    Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
    A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

    Wear in review

    A look back at fashion in 2014
    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

    Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

    Might just one of them happen?
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?