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Tom Aikens vs Marcus Wareing


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Me and my dinning comrade haven't eaten out for a while together so we're slowing deciding where to go for a reunion meal. A trip to Paris to Pierre Gagnaire was in the pipeline and a trip to Arzak also considered, though we still think the Arzak trip will take place in November.

We've decided to go Tom Aiken's Restaurant and Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley but on the same day around the end of August/beginning of September.

I've done lunch and then dinner (which was a 8 course taste menu) before and was so stuffed by the time the 6th course of the taste came i had no idea how i finished the desert or why i chose to have some cheese as well. I say it was because i had to it felt like i was failing if i didnt, but it was probably just greed. I had a bite of my birthday cake and decided that was it, no more, never again would i do such a ridiculous act.

In spite of that we're still going to do this. The problem i put to you is which one when?

Wareing for lunch and Aikens for dinner or the other way around? Having been to neither i would love some feed back from people who have been to either or both.

Thanks for any ideas or information you may have.

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Had a tasting dinner at Wareing in January and it was good meal but not stunning. I am personally a fan of tom aikens and have eaten there a bit. I think dinner in aikens would appeal to me more, although the lunch is brilliant value and good food, you can also have the dinner a la carte at lunch if you so wish. Aikens will be the more exciting of the two. but Wareing is the more 'grand' experience if that makes any sense. as for going for dinner or lunch its up to you.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157612215462314/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157608595597293/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157621022859831/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157614971083443/

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also i dont know whether youve booked arzak but i was there last week and was not very impressed it was dated and over priced. Mugaritz blew it out of the water.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157621674537193/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonto21/sets/72157621674521859/

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Awesome pictures there tonto. Looks like you had a good couple of days in Spain! Was it just that Mugaritz out shone Arzak or was there something else about Arzak you didnt like? No i havent booked it yet but after you saying about Mugaritz i may have to make a decision on it.

I do love some of the combinations that Aiken's comes up with and his presentation is beautiful. From what i've gathered through reviews and his site on The Berkeley it does seem to be the grand experience i totally see what you're getting at.

I may have to think about this for another few days before booking.

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I've also been to both Wareing and Aikens.

Personally, I would never go back to Aikens again. Im just not a fan of the bloke, although Aikens did do a cracking lunch time deal. Not sure what the bob is now on that front. I think his food is a real mixed bag, great at times and piss poor at other times. Not sure if its anything to do with his monthly cycle!!!!

Wareings was a fine experience, a wee bit 'Ramsayish', which you would expect I suppose. A very luxury setting, more suited to dinner, IMO. Just be careful if you decide to have the wine flight, it costs a kings ransom!!

Probably won't help you but I would much rather visit the Square, over the other two. Dined there the other night, great experience.

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I would defo go to Aikens, Out of 5 meals there Ive only had one bad one and it was a tasting menu back in 2007.

Would back the square aswell instead of Wareing.

I just felt Arzak has had its day and it defo not 9th in the world. there is better food to be had in SS area, Mugaritz was just better, its younger and fresher. Arzak just felt dated. still i hadnt been before i felt that i should turn the chance to go. we went to etxebarri aswell its a bit of a drive but had a good meal.

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Really can't understand why you'd want to try and do both in a day! It strikes me like taking part in the Mount Ventoux stage of the Tour de France and still expecting to enjoy the view when you get to the top!

But, for what it’s worth, I find Tom Aikens mad but fun whereas Petrus for me – on its own- felt like a bit of a slog through cooking that smothered you under the excessive weight of its luxury and the unremitting depth of its flavours. So I would try to craft as close to a light lunch as I could get out of Petrus and then reserve the evening blow-out for Aikens where I might hope to leave sated, rather than slayed.

Also, whilst I haven’t done Arzac I would unhesitatingly support the Mugaritz recommendation – had my ‘meal of the year’ there last year. Intelligent, elegant, almost ethereal.

G

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i went to Hibiscus when it was in Ludlow and quite enjoyed it, i really should get round to going to its new location i've just built up a hatred for London. I only go there if i'm going for a meal. I cant find any other reason to go there unless a certain lily white team is playing in north London.

this Square over Wareings is causing trouble now. why cant days be longer and stomachs be bigger??

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Tell me about it Gareth! I was telling my friend why don't we arrive at lunch maybe get some dim sum somewhere and then go for dinner and then go for lunch the next day but he's go it stuck in his head now. I jokingly remarked well maybe we should hit Le Gavroche for lunch the day after while we're at it, which he took seriously. I've told him there's no way I'm doing that. Nah uh.

I'll be doing Jay Rayner's seven 3 stars in seven days before I'm too careful!

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Akelarre in San Seb is pretty wonderful as is Arzak. challenge you to do both in the same day (Akelarre for lunch becuase of the views). Haven;t done Mugaritz

Tom A is persona non grate after recent antics although I think he is hands down a more intesting chef than waring

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I loved my dinner at Marcus Wareing and I find Aitkens' food interesting yet sometimes flawed combinations.

I much preferred Hibiscus in Ludlow. The new dining room in London just doesn't have the homely feel of the old place.

thats exactly what i hear from people who have been to the new one. He wanted to move to London to compete with the London scene of restaurants and get more stars, its all very well but losing the personality is huge. There arent many restaurants that keep their personality through the years and none whatsoever who relocate it. Im a big sucker for that sort of thing, history, stories, personality all add up to what makes a great restaurant differ to a good one. But hey im going for some good food so i shouldn't cry too much about it.

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If you do opt for lunch instead of dinner at Wareing, the smaller room, which is brighter feels less formal during the day, so perhaps ask if they have a window table there. The lunch is great value, all the frilly bits, right down to the bon bon trolley are included, and the simple broad bean soup I had for starters there a few months ago was outstanding.

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I've been lucky enough to eat at both in the past month, and it's a bit like comparing chalk and cheese (or should that be Comté and Chaource?)

Eating at Marcus Wareing is a bit like being taken for a spin in a chauffeur-driven Rolls: it's luxurious, sedate and deliciously extravagant. A meal at Tom Aikens is more like going for a burl round a racetrack in a Porsche: it can be very exciting, but it can also skid off piste.

In short, both chefs are capable of greatness, but there's a different vibe to the food.

For what it's worth, neither place has the buzziest atmosphere at the moment. MW has a kind of heavily carpeted hush about it while TA was only 2/3rds full when I last went, so it felt a bit sterile.

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I went to Hibiscus for lunch yesterday and thought it was absolutely superb, best i've eaten in London in the last couple of years.

I'd go for there instead of Tom Aikens for lunch then Marcus Wareing in the evening which is more opulent but more traditional for the evening meal

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Anybody visiting Tom Aikens for the first time should always go for lunch and have the lunch menu (£29 I think). That way, if you don't like it you haven't forked out a huge sum (by London standards). As an aside, their wine list prices seem to have been reduced recently.

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some real bad opinion on Tom Aikens im seeing then. Is this an on going thing or has the relocation of Hibiscus just turned him on his arse? I really wanted to go there, and still do, but if people really are saying going somewhere else then im going to need to think about it, maybe see him for lunch the next day if im up for it.

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