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Petrus by Marcus Wareing is now open


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Let's end this last element of the discussion now, please. No more debate as to whether or not that wine was on the list. That goes for the related thread in the Wine forum as well. Thanks.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Apparently my last post wasn't sufficiently clear. So let me make this one very clear.

There will be no more debate on this thread (or anywhere else on the board) about whether that wine was or was not on the list, or otherwise available from the restaurant. That topic is closed. Any further posts on the matter will be deleted.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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Apparently my last post wasn't sufficiently clear.  So let me make this one very clear.

There will be no more debate on this thread (or anywhere else on the board) about whether that wine was or was not on the list, or otherwise available from the restaurant.  That topic is closed.  Any further posts on the matter will be deleted.

This post is not about whether that wine was or was not on the list, or otherwise available from the restaurant as I understand that topic is now closed.

I would like Jonathan to explain why Egullet have taken this stance about such an important issue though.

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I asked that the debate be closed because there is no way that we are going to resolve the issue on the board. One member says she was given a bottle of '66 Ch Margaux. Another questions whether she was in fact given said bottle. Each side has set out its position. Each cites evidence (a call to the restaurant, a receipt).

Somewhere in the chain, someone has either misunderstood something or is not telling the truth. That someone could be the person who called the restaurant, or the person who asked that they call the restaurant, or the original poster, or the person at the restaurant who answered the call.

Further debate on the board is only going to result in mutual accusation. Hence this part of the discussion ends here.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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polite enquiry, jonathon.  are you now in some form of moderator role on the uk boards?

Jonathan, like all our moderators, is a moderator for eGullet and therefore for every board on the site. Even Andy can't be logged onto the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. Although we all have primary forum assignments, each of us on the eGullet moderating team tries to act in the best interests of the site, everywhere, when necessary. You should treat UK-forum intervention by any moderator as you would treat intervention by Andy. More broadly, you can expect to see changes and rotations in forum hosting assignments over time, as we grow the site and the management team.

Thanks for the polite inquries. Let's now get this topic back on track. There's an interesting wine-ordering issue to discuss here that doesn't specifically depend on the facts of the case. Any other general policy-related questions should occur via PM or in the Site Talk forum.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Even Andy can't be logged onto the Internet 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

I seem to remember my wife screaming something along those lines only the other day. I can't remeber exactly what she said as I was a bit busy at the time dodging the various household items she throwing at my head.

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The 1966 Margaux story is splashed across page 5 of this evening's Standard. It recounts the story (without mentioning egullet by name) and says Petrus owned up to a mistake by the assistant sommelier (who was "rather embarassed"). They offered either a refund or another meal, with menu chosen by Waring and wines by the head sommelier. Sandra chose the meal.

The Standard even a runs a (typically vapid) leader on the subject.

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It was also in Sunday observer and mentioned on UKfood channel prog Good food live.!..I was quite shocked they knew about it..But i guess after the Petrus bankers & all the papers laying into Sketch recently they are happy to comment on probs at upper end restaurants

sarah x

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I ate a Petrus about 10 days ago.

Very nice it was too. Restraining the wine to about £70ish (half a decent Rhone white and a pretty ordinary claret) the bill came to a little over £200. So not an everyday affair but a far cry short of the sort of telephone-number I was half expecting from reputation.

Two things stand out in my recollection:

Although the menu descriptions were very ornate, the flavours, for instance in a best end of lamb (with lamb faggots) or a chocolate fondant, were pronounced and uncluttered.

The frogs legs starter was fantastic. Plump, juicy, meaty. Cooked almost like an Indian massala. Served in a skillet to be picked up and eaten off the bone. If only all finger food was like this !

p.s. For what it’s worth, and without being able or wishing to judge any of the circumstances, I think both the offer of the special meal with wines – and Sandra’s acceptance of it – represents a gracious conclusion to an otherwise very sorry incident.

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According to Gill's review yesterday in the ST (he gave Petrus 5 stars would you believe!)

not sure i understand what you mean by this...what's there not to believe about him giving it 5 stars? that's what he gave it before...

i find myself in the odd position of hoping to god he's right as i am there in 2 weeks.

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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I'm sorry Tarka, I didn't realise that he gave Petrus 5 stars before. Gill has a bit of a reputation (on this board at least) of trashing restaurants.

Please post your thoughts when you go - I might even go before you! If so I'll let yu know. My point really is that I am absolutely 100% sure that it's a wonderful restaurant but is it a wonderful set lunch for £25 as it seems such great value?

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I went to Petrus for dinner on 29th Sept (sorry for the delay in posting - I was too busy watching for the outcome of the sommelier incident...). Booked at relatively short notice, and got the late slot (c 9pm), but the quality and attentiveness of the service didn't suffer, despite our being practically the last people in the place at the end.

Memory a bit blurred by the month that's passed, but my overall impression was that the food was spot on. More restrained and less virtuoso (is that an adjective?) than RHR, but as far as I could tell, flawless. I hadn't been to the old Petrus, so I'm afraid I can compare it. Starter of sweetbreads was excellent, but what really stood out was the main of hare: a super-intense 'patty' of what seemed to be braised hare. I liked this a lot.

Atmosphere was everything I'd led to expect: very opulent without being offensively genetlemen's-clubby. Tables were well enough spaced that the nearby meedja-business diner who insisted on smoking Galloises throughout his dinner was no more than a passing annoyance...

Two hyper-camp aspects of the dinner are worth highlighting. We had drinks before in the hotel's bar (not associated with Petrus), which I seem to remember was called the Blue Bar. This was, as promised, blue, and very dinky. A bit like a willow-pattern version of the Mark bar in New York. Odd. The other amusing thing was the petit-four trolley - I think I read a review (maybe here) saying that it looked like a chandelier full of sweeties. And it's true. (Petit four recommendation: try the hokey-pokey. If you're too embarrassed to ask for it by name, you can always point.)

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i ate at petrus with a group of friends on saturday night. we went for the "menu prestige" as this was what we'd had at our last "special" meal at rhr and we wanted to compare. all in all it was very enjoyable, although there was slightly too much food for a recuperating invalid ;-) and 4.5 hours at table was far, far too long.

we started with some good cocktails in the blue bar and followed with a bottle of pol roger white foil while we nibbled on some fabulous rizzoni, great duck parfait with sauternes jelly and orange and stale anchovy and tomato toasts. and then we waited and waited. it was nearly an hour before anyone took our food order, my main complaint of the night....

an amuse of gazpacho with pineapple and watermelon set the stage; smiles all around the table at two mouthfuls of a tongue tingling soup that was at once familar yet subtly enhanced by the fruit. less sucessful for me was the starter of ducks liver "a la minute" with more fruit (mango i think) and brioche. i'm not a huge fan of foie gras and i felt that this starter was trying to deliver the texture, but without the flavour. everyone else enjoyed this though, so my critisism is down to personal tastes (and a slimy texture :-)

next up was omlette arnold bennett which, with hindsight, was just too rich for this menu and wrong at this stage of the meal. i know it's one of his signature dishes, but it just didn't sit right for me. it was served with smoked haddock rather than lobster, but was overridingly cheesy, smokey and fishy. this was followed with turbot on a parsnip puree with sauce matalote which i had two bites of as the smoked fishiness of the omlette was still with me, and because one of my friends had inviegled his way into a dish of cumin flavoured frogs legs with a white onion soup that was the stand out dish of the night. i was very jealous that he had the little skillet in front of him and i had a plate.

we drank a couple of bottles of puligny-montrachet (i know no more) with these.

next up was lamb shank with faggot. i'm actually planning on reporting my mother to childline as she obviously cheated me massivly when i was a child. we had faggots when i was a lass. they were nothing like these meaty, melting bundles of umami. mmmmmmm.

we drank the hochar from the "sommeliers choice" menu with the lamb. i chose this wine. it was ok but was overshadowed by the white. that said, we were all flagging by this point so i think a huge (expensive) red would have passed us by.

i was almost asleep by now (it was about 12:30pm) but i was hoping to be revived by dessert. sadly i wasn't. rather oddly they served three different desserts, gave us no choice and decided among themselves who would get what. i was making apple tart tatin faces at the waiter, but sadly he misconstrued this and gave me a terrine of fruit. once i'd kicked him to death outside i stole someone else's but ended up having one or two spoonfuls. having had ramsey's apple tarte tatin i think wareing's suffered in comparison, and think he'd do well to rethink this dish. it tasted strongly of cheese (not necessarily a bad thing) although i was assured that it contained none. petite fours sort of passed me by, i was drinking my camomile tea and thinking about my bed.

so, all in all an enjoyable evening with some great company and some great tastes. it's in no way as good as rhr and i don't think it's anywhere near 3 star food at this point. i'd question a lot of the hyperbole (both negative and positive) i've read about it...but that said it delivers some serious food in a relaxed atmosphere.

Edited by tarka (log)

Suzi Edwards aka "Tarka"

"the only thing larger than her bum is her ego"

Blogito ergo sum

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it was nearly an hour before anyone took our food order, my main complaint of the night....

An hour!! I assume the room was full, but even so that seems an excessive wait.

The cheesey tatin is interesting. When I "worked" in the Hotel Du Vin for a couple of days earlier this year, they were trying out an assiette of duck. One of the elements was a little tartlet spread with apple puree on which a slice of foie gras sat.

When we tasted the finished dish, I noted that the tart tasted cheesey. It turned out we had mistakenly used the puff pastry that had cheese folded through it for cheese straws. Luckily, the dish was just a dry run for the kitchen and never went out to the dining room. I wonder if a similar mistake was made here?

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i was making apple tart tatin faces at the waiter, but sadly he misconstrued this and gave me a terrine of fruit. once i'd kicked him to death outside i stole someone else's but ended up having one or two spoonfuls.

Brava!

Do you ever hire yourself out as a haute body guard?

I have a res at Ramsey's - and if they give me any crap over the amuse, I want to make sure I have some big guns to back me up. Sort of Quentin Tarantino meats Steingarten.

"Pumpkin? You call this PUMPKIN?!" (swish swish as the sword eviscerates the waiter, splurge splatter as viscera slop over carpet, "Uurgh aargh" says waiter as he realises he meant 'butternut squash.'

"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Sandra - Enjoy that meal my lovely friend. :smile:

I should hope it has sent that assistant sommelier to seek out a new situation. :wink:

The maitre d' told us when we were there a couple of weeks ago that the "complementary" meal would be paid for by the restaurant's staff.

Edited by Sandra Levine (log)
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Sandra - Enjoy that meal my lovely friend.   :smile:

I should hope it has sent that assistant sommelier to seek out a new situation.   :wink:

The maitre d' told us when we were there a couple of weeks ago that the "complementary" meal would be paid for by the restaurant's staff.

why?

the restaurant is still the one that made £500 profit on a dodgy bottle of dead claret. It's also the one that needs to repair it's image.

I doubt this is even legal, in fact I'm sure it's not.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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He said that the staff wanted to take responsibility as a team for the sommelier's mistake. The mistake was not pointing to the wine on the winelist and with his finger, bringing the price to the attention of the customer, as is the practice of the restaurant. The assistant sommelier was inexperienced.

Edited by Sandra Levine (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I have been a devotee of Marcus Wareing’s cooking since the early days of Petrus at its original St James Street address. Towards the end of his tenure there however, I began to experience diminishing returns. As the bills rose ever higher, the food failed to deliver the sort of refined punch it initially had.

Whether it was me or the restaurant becoming tired, I can’t really say. The loss of the talented maitre’d Christophe Chalvedal was a blow, and the shortcomings of the corridor like room began to grate as the cost for two people reached treble figures. When the total at the bottom of the bill began with a 3, I felt it was time to call it a day.

The relocation of Petrus to the old La Tante Claire space in The Berkeley Hotel provided the motivation to give Wareing’s food another chance to impress. The chef has been quite open in stating that the entire operation (which includes a completely refitted ground floor service kitchen with chef’s table plus a basement preparation area) is geared towards helping him reach his goal of 3 Michelin stars. Certainly, interior designer David Collins’ re-think of the dining room has resulted in a deep purple womb that reflects that ambition.

Settling into the comfortable plumb coloured leather chairs, the impression is one opulence and privilege. Throughout the meal, waiters steer a myriad of luxury laden trolleys around the room, from champagne, through cheese to “bon bons” (basically a mobile sweetie shop) and digestifs, whilst a parade of black suits attend to your every need.

At a recent lunch, my companion and I decided on the attractive sounding set menu option, not least because at £30.00, it was half the price of the a la carte. Wareing now offers 3 rather than 2 choices at each stage plus an optional cheese course at an £8.00 supplement. With dishes such as terrine of smoked ham knuckle and foie gras on cucumber salad, Shiso cress, truffle cream dressing, a Petrus menu reads as appetisingly well as ever.

Crispy red mullet served with roasted chestnuts, courgette, pea puree, creamed foie gras and port sauce was presented as a large fillet of prime rouget on a white oval plate. Two arcs of puree spiked with quarters of chestnut and tiny cylinders of baby courgette surrounded the accurately cooked and deeply flavoured fish. This was finished at the table by a waiter (as indeed most plates are) pouring the port sauce from a silver boat. The procedure adds a bit of theatre and ensures the dish is served at the correct temperature.

A main course of game tourte on wilted red chicory, sautéed confit sprouts, truffled Madeira sauce was a riot of heady aroma and autumnal flavour. A thin casing of burnished pastry held a powerfully gamey meat and offal farce, a sort of upmarket pasty. This rested on the caramelised chicory and was set in a cordon of diced root vegetables and the best sprouts I am ever likely to taste. Little blobs of creamy foie gras appeared atop perfect squares of carrot into which crispy deep fried parsley leaves were planted like tiny flags.

A faultless tarte tatin for two was the best I have had in London. Divided in half at table side, it was served with no little ceremony and accompanied with bowls of clotted cream and vanilla ice cream, a fitting climax to a very impressive lunch.

Lunch kicks off with croutons and a cream cheese dip and the offer of champagne from the trolley, continues with a canister of mini white baguettes and, oddly, a simultaneous visit from the man with the bread basket. An amuse of a shot glass of gazpacho with pineapple, watermelon and vanilla (delicious) is adapted from a Pourcel brothers creation, whilst a pre-dessert of mango puree and one or two other things I didn’t quite catch was the only ho-hum bit of food served during the three and a half hour meal. Excellent espresso was accompanied by a choice from the bon bon trolley which included chocolate covered honeycomb, coconut ice and banana macaroons.

The terrine as described above and a sizable grilled fillet of sea bass with sautéed

globe artichokes, braised salsify and smoked red wine sauce were very well

received, but did prompt the observation that Wareing's food can be somewhat

oblivious of the seasons. Tomatoes, artichokes and peas had all made anomalous

appearances during our meal. In addition, the a la lcarte was short on game with

just one main course of braised hare, whilst several other dishes seemed a little out of whack with Wareing's usual style, for example oyster and scallops served

with chilli and caviar.

There is much to commend the new and much improved Petrus. Maybe there are a few too many staff on the floor which can lead to confusions over which sauce shoul be poured over what plate (an actual occurance at a nearby table) and one too many enquiries about how sir is enjoying the meal. Certainly Wareing's food is now almost as expensive as Ramsay's, and £4.25 for a glass of Kronenbourg 1664 does little to ease wallet strain. To counter this, 20 house wines at less than £20.00 a bottle are on offer, and overall the Petrus experience is such a pleasurable one that these reservations easily fade into the background.

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