This post isn’t exactly a first impressions post, but it’s as close to one as we’ll get because we’d been to Gilgamesh a couple years back. For me, distance made the heart grow fonder as my memories of my Gilgamesh got better with every passing weekend that I suggested to Shiima that we go back and she duly refused because she didn’t really enjoy her experience. A couple weeks ago though I was able to convince Shiima, especially because my sister went to Gilgamesh for her birthday dinner with friends (on my recommendation) and loved it.
Gilgamesh is a Pan-Asian restaurant in Camden Market, which is about 5 minutes walk from Camden Town underground station. You are led up by an escalator to the reception, where you are checked in by a maître d and asked if you have any items you wish for them to keep whilst you dine; and we had a few because Shiima, her younger brother, and I had just finished shopping. He was a bit unsure about leaving his new Jordan’s behind, but I reassured him everything will be just fine! Lol. The restaurant is sprawling, with several bars and lounge areas, and the décor is certainly Asian inspired – yes, Asia is a huge place, I know lol, I just couldn’t pinpoint exactly where exactly the inspiration stems from. It was just gone 5:30PM, so we were only the second group of diners in the large restaurant and that was rather odd, especially as my memory of my last experience was loud music and vibrancy. We were sat in a corner of the restaurant by the window and I noticed that the roof is retractable, which would be really cool in the summer.
We got the menu from our polite waiter and instantly the menu seemed different to what I remembered; but this ought to have ben expected as most good restaurant change their menu rather often. Shiima’s little brother, on my recommendation, ordered black tiger prawn tempura and black cod for his main (yes, he eats fish! Ha!). Shiima ordered crispy chicken wings (two portions for the table), yam & sesame spring rolls, and spatchcock baby chicken for her main. I ordered the Muc Chien Crispy Squid, Salmon tartare, Aburi Salmon Nigiri, and Duck Breast for my main.
Shiima’s brother didn’t really like the prawn tempura, he much preferred my crispy squid and so did Shiima. I had the rest of the Prawn tempura and enjoyed it; it was as expected. The crispy squid, to be fair, was more delicious and well seasoned with Thai chillies and shallots. He really enjoyed the black cod, and so did I as I finished it off 😁. It was a good portion, so he couldn’t really eat it all, especially as he had a side of steamed rice and enjoyed a fair bit of the chicken wings. Speaking of the chicken wings, they were really nice and we all enjoyed them; the glaze was equally sweet and sour and it was fried to perfection.
Shiima’s spring rolls were nice; nothing special, but enjoyable as well done vegetable spring rolls usually are. The spatchcock baby chicken was okay, which isn’t what you want for your main dish. She had a bit of it with steamed rice and left most of it for me to clean up, which I did 😁, and I concur with her assessment, because even looking at the picture of the dish I cant remember anything particular about the taste of the dish, other than I much preferred it to my main – duck breast.
I’ve already addressed my crispy squid so I’ll move on to my salmon tartare, which was more “tasteless avocado with a helping of well-cut salmon doused with a fair bit of soy”. It was err … passable. Same goes for the Seared Salmon nigiri (maybe I wasn’t in the right mood for raw fish after the excellent chicken wings). I really wasn’t a fan of the duck breast; it was dry and the sauce that came with it didn’t help. I soldiered through half of the dish and moved on to Shiima’s main lol. We also decided to go for desserts, because why not! 😂. Shiima’s little brother had the pistachio & walnut chocolate brownie, which he really enjoyed. Shiima had a chocolate fondant, which was very rich and tasty. And I had the Kalamansi cheesecake, which had no biscuit base and so was a tad odd but still enjoyable.
Our experience this time was certainly mixed. Shiima preferred this experience to the first, whereas I prefer the first, well, I prefer the memory of it. I remember being taken by the buzz in the restaurant, and enjoying some excellent dim sum and different starters that I loved, but Shiima cant forget the curry she had and really disliked lol. Shiima’s little brother liked it though, and is now a big fan of black cod (expensive taste there eh? lol). My sister on the other hand loves Gilgamesh – “it’s like a club,” she says, and she really liked the food. Maybe we’ll go again … although when? I don’t know, because I’ll have to put in a lot of work to convince Shiima again lol. Gilgamesh is fairly expensive, but you’d expect that once you step into the restaurant. I’d recommend for dates, large group dining, and special occasions – the bars and vibrant environment ought to dictate the sort of special occasion.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Amen, Shiima, & Shiima’s kid brother’s Star Dish: Crispy Chicken Wings
Price: £45 (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 3.7 out of 5