Camden Town is often overlooked as a destination for fine dining in London. Amongst the market stalls and fast food eateries you could be forgiven for thinking exactly that. However there is one such venue that promises a dining experience that’s worlds away from the hustle of the market madness below and it goes by the name of Gilgamesh. Should the discerning gent find himself venturing to the north of London then some gastronomic time here would be wise and Elysium Magazine will tell you why.
Situated on Stables Market in Camden Town, the first sign to tell you that you’re about to be transported into another world is the narrow escalator brings you up to the main restaurant. It’s a very different world indeed as you’re greeted by mass of dark wood and marble friezes.
The Look, The Feel
Enter the world of Gilgamesh. History depicts Gilgamesh as a demigod of superhuman strength during the Sumerian time. A Babylon king of the highest grandeur and opulence, the restaurant sharing the name follows this decadent lead and cuts no corners. As well as the restaurant, there is also the Babylon Lounge bar and an Oriental teahouse.
The restaurant is large and open with tables for couples and large groups alike. The retractable roof and large open windows provides plenty of natural daylight and gives the venue an airy feeling during the summer months. Seating is very comfortable, and despite the openness of the restaurant a circular booth provides plenty of intimacy if that’s how you want your evening to plan out. The booths and the hand-carved tables and chairs all adds to the feeling of being transported back into a rather lavish time.
The Pan-Asian menu devised by Ian Pengelley incorporates a variety tastes from that part of the world and is easy to navigate when deciding which items will delight your taste buds. Service at the restaurant is attentive yet discreet – someone is always on hand should you have the need for assistance but otherwise tend to gauge well when they need to approach your table.
The discerning gent should have sharing on his mind when deciding what eat as it’s the main idea behind the menu with plenty of sushi, sashimi, dim-sum and small dishes to whet the appetite. After settling into our booth we opted for a dim-sum medley of chicken gyoza (£7.50), scallop sui-mai (£7.80), prawn har-gau (£6.85) and duck spring rolls (£7.25). This was accompanied by a delicious bottle of Malbec (£25.50).
As the starters arrived to the table you start to imagine a banquet fit for a king. Dishes consisted of four pieces with a variety of dips to suit tastes. Each dish was mouth-watering in its own right with the scallop sui-mai and chicken gyoza a particular highlight. The whole experience of sharing is perfect for couples and groups to dive between plates to vary the tastes and interact more with the food. A spread like this was very satisfying for two people and upped the anticipation for mains a couple of notches.
The Main Event
With the enjoyable starters tingly the taste buds the main course was eagerly awaited. Every main dish on the menu sounded spectacular but we eventually decided on the prawn tempura (£16.00), organic rack of lamb (£23.00) and the Hoba Miso Chilean sea bass (£30.25) on our waiter’s recommendation along with sides of Gilgamesh fried rice (£8.50) and Ho Fun rice noodles with king prawns (£13.00).
The absolute standout dish amongst these, without a shadow of doubt, was the Chilean sea bass marinated in sweet plum miso and baked in a Hoba leaf. It was a sensational combination of textures and tastes akin to the signature black cod dish of Nobu. A sumptuous dish fit for the discerning gent. The rack of lamb was not found wanting in the taste department either – perfectly cooked with a breaded oriental herb crust that combined well. The side dishes of rice and noodles were substantial enough to be a main in its own right. The discerning gent with an appetite will not go hungry here!
The whole experience of enjoying this meal, whilst watching the sun set over Camden Town, was a magical feeling indeed. King Gilgamesh certainly knew what he was doing all those years ago and we’re glad he set the precedent. The restaurant was a hive of activity even for earlier in the week so the ambience was still buzzing.
After what was an immensely tasty first two courses it was time to take a breather and savour the wine and contemplate desert. Again our waiter was spot on with gauging when to approach with the desert menus. Options here continue the decadent theme with classics given the Pan-Asian twist. With the sweet tooth we have here at Elysium Magazine the banana and toffee crumble with cinnamon ice cream (£8.00) was too good to resist and a perfect way to finish a meal.
The experience of Gilgamesh really does start with the opening escalator ride to subliminally transport you to another world. The décor and ambience follow through but it’s the all important food which leaves the biggest impact. It’s a great venue for couples and groups alike with the sharing principle at the heart of the menu. Camden Town might previously be synonymous with live music for the discerning gent but with food this good those associations will change.
Contact: Gilgamesh Restaurant Bar & Lounge, The Stables Market, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8AH – Tel. 0207 482 5757