Tell me there’s a TV chef’s restaurant in Heathrow’s Terminal 5, and I’m going to check it out as soon as I’ve checked in. And tweet about it. Obvs. I’m that demographic. I also need to know if Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food lives up to its wry wordplay name?
I imagine an interior designer would describe the decor as ‘futurescape 1950s airport glamour’, if they couldn’t think of the correct terminology. Plenty of curved golden beige seating, shiny reds, hints of propellers and sculptural light fittings. One side of the restaurant is dominated by a floor to ceiling window overlooking the runway, providing melatonin for the jetlagged. Though the space is a continuous open plan flow from shopping concourse, through the bar, through to the restaurant, it manages to afford you privacy enough to swear profusely if your flight’s been delayed. Which could prove vital to your positive dining experience. The furniture is funky and functional, while avoiding the outright plush luxury you may wish to recline in for one too many hours. As with most airport restaurants, there is an air of speed and efficiency: turnaround will be quick.
Having said that, it initially proved difficult to flag one down one of the frenetic staff. This may concern anyone with a tight window of time, or those, who like Mr Me, panic about being late. I’m well practised at being late – I’ve been called for a flight in the past, dashed to the gate and boarded a plane to sarcastic applause from my fellow passengers – I can wait five minutes for my grub.
Once a helpful member of staff had been ensnared in our ‘you give us lunch/we give you money’ trap, I ordered the steamed seabass (£14.95). The restaurant amenably replaced the shrimp dressing (I’m allergic to shellfish), with a fine pesto and olive oil substitute. Served with roasted tomatoes and samphire, the fish was light, with a hint-of-crisp skin, well seasoned, and all gone within a few minutes. Sadly the side of chips I ordered got lost in transit. (This is the third side I’ve ordered recently, at different establishments, that has failed to arrive. I’m beginning to think people are giving me a subtle hint). Mr Me wolfed his spiced chicken and cashew curry with basmati rice (£14.95), before I could photograph it. He deemed it tasty and filling, without being too rich or heavy for before a flight.
I also partook of the artfully named ‘breakfast martini’ (£8.00) – a zesty orangey hit of alcohol that would launch any day with a bang. It’s hard to fault a place that’s got the balls to serve you alcohol at 8am. Missing carbs aside, I’d recommend Plane Food to those looking for a decent meal before they fly: pleasant atmosphere, good, well-cooked food, with balanced portion sizes that won’t overload you before take off.
Those short on time, or travelling at the wrong time, can get a takeaway: Plane Picnics. These posh packed lunches have a choice of starters, mains and desserts, and come in a practical cool bag. At £12.95 for a freshly prepared three-course meal, they seem particularly attractive if you’re booked on a low coast airline that only serves peanuts. And infinitely better value, and better for you, that the £5 limp Panini you’ll get flogged on board. Just hide that branded cooler bag, so you don’t look like a twat.
More information and booking details for Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food can be found here: http://www.gordonramsay.com/planefood/