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Restaurant Martin Wishart


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Definitely one of our better meals in the UK during 2008, we visited for lunch between Christmas and New Year. We opted for the lunch menu at £24, which gave a few options per course. Contrary to others’ opinions I quite liked the décor in the room, and felt the earthy tones worked well together – simple and quite stylish.

To start we were served a selection of amuse bouches – a small ball of haggis, a breaded and fried olive, a small leek tart, a parmesan cheese choux bun and a pumpkin sorbet. All very good, but the leek tart was a knock-out with amazing pastry and flavour. They followed this with a second amuse of a foie gras crème caramel with apple, another really good dish.

We both chose the same starter and main. To start we had lobster ravioli, which my partner loved and I thought was OK, although the sauce had a good intense flavour. The main course was a game pie on mushrooms with cabbage and a rich jus. The pie was a little like a solid pork pie in texture, with the game minced together, however that didn’t detract from the flavour and it was a very, very enjoyable dish. We then shared a good cheese plate with some interesting French and Scottish selections; the cheese board is good and compared well to the one at Le Cinq in Paris where we had eaten just before Christmas. I chose a rhubarb based dessert and my partner had pineapple soufflé with sorbet/granite, which she wolfed down. The rhubarb dish had good flavour but was overly elaborate with a sugar spiral, a soft jelly, space rocks etc. To finish we had a good coffee and some fine petit fours.

Service was very attentive, and at times quite humorous, which made it a good fun lunch. I found it interesting that some of the previous posters felt portions sizes are small. We also thought there was lack of generosity with the meal. It is hard to pin down why we felt that: the meal in itself is fantastic value for £24, the portion sizes were fine, and the two amuse bouches were substantive and excellent. But it was little things that set a strange tone; the way the cheese board was handled is a good example. We had ordered cheese for two, but were unsure when it was served if it was for one or two (we were charged for one) and felt strangely intimidated about asking if we had been given a single serve or two portions on one plate. I think my partner joked that they should leave the board and she would finish it off, but she got the serious reply that she was only allowed six cheeses in a selection. The service of the petite fours was similar; a large slate with a good number of four types is presented for us to choose a couple each, at £4.45 for a small coffee, why not one of each? At this price you expect more – even Ramsay at Claridges is far more generous

Total bill was £178 (without service), £48 for two set meals, £11.50 for one cheese plate, and £9.90 for two coffees (and a few petit fours). Two glasses of champagne were £25, a great bottle of 2001 Auxey Duresses was £43, and a very nice bottle of 2005 Ripasso (Valpolicella) was £40, the sommelier did a very good job recommending the Ripasso to go with the cheese which worked very well indeed.

We didn’t leave hungry, we had a superb meal (and would definitely return) with great cooking and overall very good service, but still with a lingering question mark over the restaurants generosity. I am afraid it is not an uncommon feeling we get in UK restaurants, quite a contrast to the weekend we enjoyed in Paris before Christmas where restaurant seemed generous and showed real hospitality.

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...and a very nice bottle of 2005 Ripasso (Valpolicella) was £40, the sommelier did a very good job recommending the Ripasso to go with the cheese which worked very well indeed.

We didn’t leave hungry, we had a superb meal (and would definitely return) with great cooking and overall very good service, but still with a lingering question mark over the restaurants generosity. I am afraid it is not an uncommon feeling we get in UK restaurants, quite a contrast to the weekend we enjoyed in Paris before Christmas where restaurant seemed generous and showed real hospitality.

Nice review, but I am wondering whether you remember/the sommelier told you which Ripasso you got? (some readers might not know that ripasso is merely a technique to transform Valpolicella classico into a semi-Amarone, not a producer).

I very much agree with what you say about generosity in UK restaurants. Normally I feel much more pampered in France and Italy.

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Man - looking at the list on the website I believe it was the 2005 DOC Valpolicella Superiore, Ripasso, Stefano Accordini.

Here are some photos of the meal:

First amuse bouche:

gallery_58133_6172_3654.jpg

Second amuse bouche:

gallery_58133_6172_5210.jpg

Lobster ravioli starter:

gallery_58133_6172_1094.jpg

Game pie main course:

gallery_58133_6172_7606.jpg

Cheese plate:

gallery_58133_6172_2348.jpg

Pineapple soufflé and granita:

gallery_58133_6172_6028.jpg

Rhubarb medley:

gallery_58133_6172_271.jpg

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  • 2 years later...

I confirmed that one should never judge restaurants by a single visit - while I was slightly underwhelmed the first time at MW, I was overwhelmed the second time, today lunch, a la carte.

The cooking was remarkably precise, with immaculate materials (Langoustines, Oysters, Dover sole, Hare) presented beautifully but this time with a great vibrancy that I found lacking last time (when I had the tasting menu).

The sole came with braised pig trotters, a very successful, powerful land/sea combination, garnished with small mushrooms (to be pedantic, mushroom duxelle).

The hare loin appeared sous-vided, resting on a bed of Puy lentils, with a delicious and elegant quenelle of the 'lesser' bits on the side, a bit of intense black pudding sauce, and acidity coming from somewhere (apple?).

In the starters, the oysters (Loch Ryan native) were prepared meticulously, with green apple microbits, caviar, sauerkraut and mayonnaise, and left a memorable aftertaste. And white chocolate with smoked butter on the langoustines worked wonders.

Complex, exciting combinations. But, let me repeat, supported by fantastic Scottish produce!

We finished with a pistachio souffle' which was almost as good as Koffman's, and a delicious rhubarb assiette.

The bread was truly, truly good, out of the ordinary (made on the premises). Also very good were the petit four. They have an excellent chef patissier.

I was impressed by the attention to details and by the service, a smooth combination of formal and friendly. The chairs are very comfortable and the room quietly pleasant, an aspect which definitely is a winner over The Kitchin across the road.

The 3 course a la carte (including canapes + amuse bouche) is £65 at the time of writing (tasting menu £60 at lunch and I think £70 at dinner).

Today's meal was equal to or better than all my recent 2* experiences.

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  • 4 months later...

Summer pilgrimage at Wishart's yesterday, where he confirmed his talent for land/sea with this

LANGOUSTINE TORTELLINI AND PIG'S TROTTER with Soubise spinach and langoustine cappuccino.

IMG_3089.JPG

part of another wonderful lunch.

If his liking for pig's trotters is not new (I think over the years he's tried them with every conceivable seafood), a novelty for us was an ethereal combination of crab and veal tartare. It worked wonderfully.

My only objection within otherwise perfect experiences is the pricing of the water (£5.50 for 0.75 l) and coffee (£6), which I find extortionary! (since my last lunch in February, however, food prices have at least remained the same).

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  • 4 months later...

Ate at Martin Wishart as part of my road trip recently (and post will be up soon).

Only really one question:

WHY IS HE NOT 2M* ?

Best meal I've had in a long time, definitely on a par with Gidleigh & LMQS from past experiences.

Just for a tease, here is one of the canapes, a Beetroot & horseradish macaroon:

MW - Beetroot macaroon.JPG

The Chef Hermes blog

Can be followed on Twitter: @chefhermes

Or Facebook:Chef Hermes group page

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