Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley

There aren’t many people who truly have looks that could kill; well, even maim perhaps, or just make you slightly nervous and shuffle about in your seat However, it’s an entirely different  matter when that person watches you whilst you work, their gaze drilling into the back of your head as you delicately produce works of their art. Marcus Wareing is precisely that person – the most piercing gaze you’d ever see – no-nonsense, straightforward, and settling only for perfection. It’s no wonder he’s worked his way to 2 Michelin stars, broken away from Gordon Ramsay (hurrah!) and still can be found in the kitchen every service.

It’s always fun eating out with fellow chefs – all the foodie tech talk, the child-like fascination and excitement, and our own critical views. So, of course, at Marcus Wareing, it had to be the Gourmand tasting menu with matching wines – is there even room for discussion in that matter?

Whilst seated in the bar area, sipping champagne, our canapes were brought out:

Sesame croutons, smoked aubergine puree with tzatziki.
Simple, tasty, unpretentious.
As we made our way to the table, I was quite pleased to see the lack of cutlery and general clutter on the table – just a menu informing us what we were eating. Our sommelier was a lively Australian, with Chinese heritage who was just fantastic throughout the meal.
Anyway, here’s what we started with.

As I’m allergic to shellfish, I was given a Herb pappardelle with summer truffle and truffle butter Again, simple, flavoursome. Nothing special here.
Matching wine: Torrontes “Reserva”, Terrazas de los Andes, 2008 (9/10)
Moving on to

Foie gras, prune, armagnac, apple WOW! Divine – incredibly rich in every way and quite heady in its intensity.
Matching wine: Vins de Noix, Domaine Cazottes, South-West France, NV (7/10)
Reeling from this course and left with urge for more (which, for me and foie gras, is very rare.)
What followed was probably the most uninteresting part of the meal:

Cornish pollock, garlic, green beans, onion, sweet cicely
Matching wine: Saint-Joseph “Ro-Ree” Domaine Lous Cheze, Rhone Valley, 2009 (8/10)
Nothing special here. Underseasoned fish and generally boring. Garlic crisps were lovely though.
Moving on:

Quail, smoked goats cheese, shallot, potato bread
Matching wine: Chassagne-Montrachet. “Les Pierres”. Domaine Jean-Marc Pillot, Burgundy, France 2006 (9/10)
Scrumptious! Mmmm.mmmm. The smoked goats cheese foam with bits of mint – heavenly!
Next came my favourite course:

Sea bass, cauliflower, pine nuts, polonaise
Matching wine: Gruner Veltliner, Rosenberg, Anton Bauer, 2010 (10/10 – it is my favourite wine!)
This dish made us giggle. 7 textures of cauliflower! And the polonaise (grated cauliflower with sherry vinegar, capers, parsley and olive oil – heaven!)

Cumbrian lamb,, falafel, cornichon, carrot, pink peppercorn yoghurt
Matching wine: Chateau Lynch Bages, Pauillac, Bordeaux, France 2001 (6/10)
As neither of us are cheese fans, the kitchen was kind enough to send us a refreshing sorbet instead:

Apple sorbet Just that! As you’d expect an apple sorbet to look and taste!
Our pre-dessert:

Chocolate and orange flavours and textures
And at last…dessert! And what could be better than the perfect cup of tea?

Early Grey parfait, milk, caramelised honey, sable
Matching wine: Disnoko, Tokaji Aszu, 5 Puttonyos, Hungary 2002 (3/10 – Amazing wine – but overpowered the dessert)
Delicious – every thing you’d want in a cup of tea – perfectly brewed Earl Grey, right amount of milk, sweetened with honey and a crunchy biscuit to go along!
And just at that point where of anticipation for petit fours, the head chef sent us a couple of extra desserts (he knew we were chefs and we’d been to see him in the kitchen and chatted about our favourite restaurants)

Chocolate, cucumber sorbet, mint parfait, tapioca powder

Chocolate and hazelnut mousse, honeycomb
And finally…what I’d been waiting for … the truffle trolley! Straight out of a Brothers Grimm fairytale:

Overall Experience: 8
Recommend you to go? 8
Food: 8
Wine: 8.5
Over the edge? Yes – too many truffles, not enough space!
Website: http://www.the-berkeley.co.uk/marcus_wareing.aspx

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