Saturday 8 November 2008

Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.

I probably had built this up too much in my head.
As usual when I do that, I get disappointed. Can't quite put my finger on what was wrong. The table was fine, the staff reasonably interactive, the kitchen was flexible in allowing us to make some substitutions, for they were dealing with four fussy sods all wanting to have their own way but also to do the tasting menu.
Some things seemed odd, like the lack of a wine pairing to go with the tasting menu. In no other one or two starred place has this been the case. Oh hang on, Sat Bains and I remember thinking it odd there too. It didn't bother me, as I only wanted a glass, but HI and John felt the Sommelier could have shown off his skills here. He was very helpful, don't get me wrong, and he picked out random glasses for John to have with certain dishes. I think this aspect lent the meal a feeling of apprehension. This is the place of the ridiculous £12,300 bottle of Petrus, no-less, and although not penurious I was sitting there wondering how much each glass of wine was going to set us back. It's like when you go into a fancy shop which has no prices on any of it's wares, if you have to ask it's too expensive for you.
I don't like this when it comes to my meals. I want to be in control.

But I digress. We are here to talk about the food, not me, so without further ado..

PRESTIGE (Tasting Menu)

Amuse bouche

I think this was a pea and mint shooter, it was fresh and intense.

Foie gras with beetroot powder. Fancy toasties.

Pan fried foie gras,
glazed black figs with Lapsang tea and hazelnuts

As you know I am so over Foie Gras but in some bizzare twist of fate I ended up with it whilst others (HI and Rachel) had the Sweetbreads. How did that happen?

Having said that, it was excellent, as were the sweetbreads.

Scottish scallop,
honeyed pork crisps, parsnip milk powder
Oops no photo.
I suppose I think that scallops are boring, there is only so much you can do with them, as long as they are properly cooked then you are onto a winner..

Roasted and marinated quail,
hispi cabbage, Pommery mustard and baked potato
This was excellent and was better than the quail I had at Maze which says something.

Scottish halibut, charred leeks,
coddled quail’s egg and creamed caviar
I love Halibut and this was perfectly cooked.

I wish I had had the Lamb. I tried a bite of John's and it was beautiful.

I could have stamped my foot in a fit of pique. In fact I did. I had agreed to share the suckling pig with Rachel which was lovely but paled in comparison with the lamb

Best end of lamb,
caramelised shallot and fennel, confit tomato,
saffron and lavender


Poached and glazed Anjou pigeon,
Scottish girolles, almonds and amaretti

HI had this but I can barely recall what it tasted like.
Cheese from the trolley (£10 supplement)

Two of us opted for the cheese and were slightly disappointed and the lack of interaction from the cheese dude. This is in comparison to Martin Wishart and Glenapp.

The other thing I found disappointing was that there were no British cheeses available. I know it's a French restaurant but some rules were meant to be broken.

Pre dessert

Warm chocolate moelleux, banana jelly, banana ice cream
I had this and it was yum, but couldn't really discern the banana.
Lemon crème, brioche crisps, popcorn, milk ice cream


I think again that there is nothing wrong with the restaurant other than it felt a bit impersonal. Some of the dishes were amazing. I think it comes back to the good old fine-dining problem I seem to have. I just don't seem to enjoy it, or feel it delivers what I think it ought to for the price. Maybe no where can.

1 comment:

FatBanker said...

I want to go back, I want to go back, I want to go back! Just looking at your pictures reminds me of the amazing meal we had there on Valentine's. For me, here, Hibiscus and The Square are central London's best high-end dining rooms at present.

Keep up the good eating!