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Marcus Wareing at the Berkley


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I went for lunch a couple of days ago. I was there for the set lunch-I used to think it unfair to judge a restaurant on this , but have changed my mind- but felt I was being continuously upsold-I actually had to ask for the lunch menu. The lunch was good, three vanishingly small courses of excellent materials cooked with clarity of purpose, and the wine list is creditable considering the speeed with which it had to be assembled, and is not more marked up than at other establishments. The service is friendly enough but as disorganised as I have ever seen in a restaurant with such aspirations. One waiter actually started preparing tables for the dinner service while several tables were still lunching, something I haven't seen since going down late for breakfast in Frinton-On-Sea.

I'm not burning to go back but it wasn't bad. Like every other set lunch, poor value compared to Le Gavroche.

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FWIW this was the menu just before Pétrus closed.

The amuse bouches included the parmesan risotto balls and the foie that Food Snob had.

H

the parmesan balls were being brought into maze with some tomato in them just less than a month ago.

Murano too - is there a pattern forming here? Formula food, Gordon? Surely not.

H

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,

I dined at Marcus Wareing last night. Had a lovely meal.

I think the management have probably been listening to your comments since the parmesan balls were replaced with pork croquettes.

We had the tasting menu and very good it was too. they were quite flexible in swapping dishes, so you can tailor it to what you like.

So I had the Sweetbreads instead of the Quail and chose Veal as my main.

The food combinations were what really stood out, especially the roast Foie Gras with espresso, figs & salted caramel popcorn

The service was also good, a little too-hard maybe. you can tell there's a lot of pressure to be exacting and get everything right. one of the waiters almost had a fit when the cheese biscuit container was delivered to the table ahead of the correct order of desserts. but they did take time to explain the dishes and were generous with the bonbons.

Surprisingly the wine list was quite reasonable with lots of choice in the lower end from £20 - £40.

Also we got the tour round the kitchens at the end of the meal and saw man himself busy at the pass. With the chef table looking on, I guess it means everyone has to behave themselves.

so all in all, not cheap but a very pleasant evening and great for a special occasion. I'd certainly be happy to spend the money again on another meal.

fergal.

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The Veal was roasted loin with snails & bacon. a beautiful cut of meat, cooked to perfection. However it did feel odd having snails as part of a main course. I'm glad I had it as part of the tasting menu since it could of got a bit too much with the natural saltiness.

Food Snob - I'm a big fan of your blog and had read your excellent review. So I was little apprehensive before I went. I can understand your concerns about the service though. There is certainly a hint of unecessary earnestness (if that's a word)!

fergal

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Indeed, I remember now. 'Cumbrian rose veal; roasted loin, fricasse of Dorset snails, watercress, wild garlic and Alsace bacon.'

You had a point about the interesting combos:

trotters and lobster; sea bass and sea urchin; turbot and frogs' legs...

The over-earnestness you experienced was the opposite of the negligence I did: so from one extreme to the other.

Thanks for the compliment, Fergal, it's much appreciated. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

Food Snob

foodsnob@hotmail.co.uk

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently went for dinner at Marcus Wareing's and really enjoyed it.

It was the first time sampling his cooking, (never made it to Petrus) and I though it was bang on, very clean flavours, very simple actually.

I thought the service was also good, attentive but not overly fussy and they didn't just dump the food and run, the aussie somelier, (who had recently come from chez bruce) was really good.

We had a wee tour of the kitchen, didn't meet the main man as he had just went down stairs.

He surly has to be knocking on the door of 3 stars.

Check out the pictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/0be1-kanobe0/

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I recently went for dinner at Marcus Wareing's and really enjoyed it.

It was the first time sampling his cooking, (never made it to Petrus) and I though it was bang on, very clean flavours, very simple actually.

I thought the service was also good, attentive but not overly fussy and they didn't just dump the food and run, the aussie somelier, (who had recently come from chez bruce) was really good.

We had a wee tour of the kitchen, didn't meet the main man as he had just went down stairs.

He surly has to be knocking on the door of 3 stars. 

Check out the pictures  http://www.flickr.com/photos/0be1-kanobe0/

I got all excited about that hedge of figs crowned with the fritter ... until I realized that was at The Ledbury.

That pigeon looks particularly good and interesting. The grapes "decorating" that cheese plate are just laughable.

I'm glad to hear a positive word on Marcus Wareing; thanks for the report.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I recently went for dinner at Marcus Wareing's and really enjoyed it.

It was the first time sampling his cooking, (never made it to Petrus) and I though it was bang on, very clean flavours, very simple actually.

I thought the service was also good, attentive but not overly fussy and they didn't just dump the food and run, the aussie somelier, (who had recently come from chez bruce) was really good.

We had a wee tour of the kitchen, didn't meet the main man as he had just went down stairs.

He surly has to be knocking on the door of 3 stars. 

Check out the pictures  http://www.flickr.com/photos/0be1-kanobe0/

I got all excited about that hedge of figs crowned with the fritter ... until I realized that was at The Ledbury.

That pigeon looks particularly good and interesting. The grapes "decorating" that cheese plate is just laughable.

I'm glad to hear a positive word on Marcus Wareing; thanks for the report.

Yes I do not know why people insist on putting crappy grapes on cheese plates, but those were great compared to the ones on my wife's plate

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  • 1 month later...

Well, my dinner at Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley was nothing short of sublime. I'm not sure if it is 3* yet, but it is very, very close.

Amuse Bouche of confit of foie gras with blackcurrant and taramasalata with olive oil biscuits.

The foie gras was meltingly unctious and truly delicious.

-

Pan fried foie gras, quince, espresso, salted caramel popcorn

This is the best foie gras dish I have ever had. A decent chunk of liver came with a sharp quince compote and a smear of heavily reduced espresso coffee. The bitter-sweet saucing, combined with a perfectly cooked foie that was melting in the centre was divine. The textural contrast of the popcorn gave the dish bite and seasoning.

-

Scottish scallop, honey pork crisp, parsnip milk powder

A huge scallop, sliced into 4, was served with a crisp, near-translucent, caramelised piece of pork belly. This was served with parsnip milk powder, that as Giles Coren remarked, is a little like vegetal Coffee Mate. In a good way.

-

Roasted and marinated quail, white onion fondue, butternut squash and baked potato

2 quail breasts, that were moist, tender and succulent, came with a sharp onion fondue, that achieved levels of texture and flavour that I never thought possible of an onion. The butternut squash came as a puree, griddled slice and small balls, which all had different textures. The baked potato was as a foam, which I think was an el Bulli concoction a few years back, and has been adopted by a few chefs recently. The foam actually had body and wasn't the usual insipid, airy mess that you get when this technique is done badly.

-

Monkfish, parsnip, chantarelles and winter truffles

This was the only let-down dish of the evening. And that was only because the monkfish was superfluous to requirements in a dish that would have made an incredible vegetarian course. The combination of the mushroom and truffle was divine, but completely overpowered the fish. And the serving of truffle was generous to say the least.

-

Saddle of venison, buttered marrow, olive oil crumbs and cooking juices

I feel the need to order venison every time I see it on the menu and this may be the best example of how to cook it perfectly. As close to raw in the centre as I've seen it cooked, thinly sliced, it was heavenly. The reduced cooking juices, with the merest hint of juniper pulled everything together.

-

Cheese

Fantastic cheese board. Was unable to refuse. I have no idea what I had though. These came with baby figs cooked in Pedro Ximenez sherry.

-

Pre-dessert of passion fruit jelly with lemon-vodka sorbet and a chocolate gateaux with raspberry

Jelly was a great palate cleanser. The gateaux was a dainty mille-feulle with gold leaf and raspberry coulis

-

Orange creme, spiced brioche crisps, bitter chocolate sorbet

Or, the Jaffa Cake for grown-ups. This is the best dessert I've had in a UK restaurant. Bar none.

-

Coffee and petit fours

The bon-bon trolley here is a joy to behold. Hand-made chocolate truffles, salted caramels, turkish delight. I was in heaven. And very full.

Service was attentive without ever being obtrusive and the staff were friendly and seemed to enjoy working there. The restaurant was full and had a lovely atmosphere. Initially, it seemed dark, but this allows for a sense of intimacy.

Some of the recent criticism seems to be that there are too many flavours going on on the plate. This didn't seem to be the case with the menu I had, and barring the monkfish dish, everything was very clean and precise. Everything was there for a reason, but nothing detracted from the main element of the dish.

Maybe things have improved, but this definitely lived up to the Harden's reputation as the best restaurant in London that I've experienced. There is some serious talent in his brigade and a pastry chef of genius.

Adam

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I have to agree with the above, i went on the 11th and had almost exaclty the same menu, the baked potato foam was probably the best thing i have tasted all year.

The Petit-fours trolley is a threat/challenge/dream in one.

Everything excecuted to a superb standard

Just gutted we didn't get the vodka lemon sorbet but we did get the most brilliant tiny eton mess

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Going mid Jan, really looking forward to it, even though a few have been a little disappointed by their experiences. May be a bit of a god send, as going to Paris for a few days beforehand and all Im being told is that I will need to remortgage the house to afford it at mo! Chance would be a fine thing!!

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  • 1 month later...

Hi,

I had lunch here today avoiding the pandemonium of half term. I was able to get a table in the morning.

Unlike other high-end restaurants they really put some effort into the lunchtime menu, which at 35 GBP is half the price of the evening menu. but you get all the extras - 4 pre-meal snacks/amuse bouches (including a delightful onion veloute), pre-dessert, bon bons etc.

I had:

Starter- Lobster ravioli with langoustine bisque ('homage' to GR?!....)

Main - 24hr cooked Pork Belly with white onion confit, almond puree & roasted carrots

Dessert - lovely wobbly custard tart with strawberry mivvi ice cream & cranberry jelly

It was all excellent with the service a little more relaxed compared to the over-earnest evening service. thank god!

In my opinion as a lunchtime deal this is far superior to the cheapo, low effort lunch deals offered by Ducasse & Hibiscus. It's worth considering

fergal

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Funny that. I went for lunch a few weeks back and had a pretty poor meal. And I really wanted to like it.

Our amuse was a thick tomato soup in a shot glass with a rather unpleasant overreduced flavour.

Started with a very average ham hock terrine. Ian had a lobster ravioli with an overly sweet and thin vanilla langoustine bisque and very chalky gnocchi.

Main of mutton shoulder was dry, with a naff bed of acidic sliced carrots. No sauce. Really poor dish in conception and execution.

Dessert of baked banana with marshmallow ice cream was completely overpowered by a very rich dark chocolate sauce. One of those occasions when a good milk chocolate would have been more appropriate. Ian had the custard tart, which had a good wobble, but too much nutmeg for me, the pastry was a bit thick, and I didn't get the accompaniments at all.

All in all, we were very disappointed indeed. Nothing that made me think about returning for dinner.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Visited MW for dinner last Friday. Here is an abstract:

Coming into this meal, I feared the worse. Confusing flavours? Too many elements? My meal at Marcus Wareing was not as bad as I had feared. In fact I found some of the cooking to be interesting and highly enjoyable in parts. It is just that some of the dishes were distinctly average and lacking in flavour - the beef in particular springs to mind. Desserts themselves were distinctly unremarkable especially when you bear in mind that Wareing previously trained as a pastry chef. Where art thou custard tart when I crave thee.

My biggest grievance has to be the price and relative value for money factor. We were charged a whopping £70 supplement for 2 extra main courses (ie £35 per main course) which was rather OTT. This is even more annoying when you take into consideration that 3 course ALC is £75. To put this into perspective, at both Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and the Capital, they charged us £15 per additional main course.

In summary, I did have a good time at Marcus Wareing and yes I did enjoy my meal. However, I personally think that there is still a lot of work to be done for them to secure the status of best 2* restaurant in London before they even think about 3*s.

You can read my take on it on my website http://genuiness.wordpress.com.

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  • 1 month later...

My biggest grievance has to be the price and relative value for money factor. We were charged a whopping £70 supplement for 2 extra main courses (ie £35 per main course) which was rather OTT. This is even more annoying when you take into consideration that 3 course ALC is £75. To put this into perspective, at both Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and the Capital, they charged us £15 per additional main course.

well think yourself lucky, they charged us full a la carte prices for 3 set lunch dishes that we added to our lunch! ( a starter and 2 desserts from memory) and we'd already racked up the bill by taking ALC plus extra starter each, plus 2 fish courses to share (between 4).

didn't notice at the time we paid the bill, the small matter of £235 a head (though we had more than our fair share of wine)

i emailed them after to point it out, got a swift response from mrs wareing saying she'd look into it, then nothing.

so i have no reason whatsoever to return. execution was admirable, the rest blah.

you don't win friends with salad

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My biggest grievance has to be the price and relative value for money factor. We were charged a whopping £70 supplement for 2 extra main courses (ie £35 per main course) which was rather OTT. This is even more annoying when you take into consideration that 3 course ALC is £75. To put this into perspective, at both Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester and the Capital, they charged us £15 per additional main course.

well think yourself lucky, they charged us full a la carte prices for 3 set lunch dishes that we added to our lunch! ( a starter and 2 desserts from memory) and we'd already racked up the bill by taking ALC plus extra starter each, plus 2 fish courses to share (between 4).

didn't notice at the time we paid the bill, the small matter of £235 a head (though we had more than our fair share of wine)

i emailed them after to point it out, got a swift response from mrs wareing saying she'd look into it, then nothing.

so i have no reason whatsoever to return. execution was admirable, the rest blah.

bleeding your customers dry is probably not a good idea in the current economic climate when many restaurants are struggling to fill tables on a saturday night. While this may not be the case for MW, their lack of generosity is duly noted and I will think very carefully before I return especially when the cooking there is rather meh.

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