Marcus

http://www.marcus-wareing.com/

Scores: 2M*

Marcus is the slightly re-branded restaurant formally known as Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.  To be honest it is a little more ‘casual’ in decor and service but really not much as changed.  Although, it has now, not only, removed its tasting menus on Friday and Saturday nights but you can have just two courses (@ £60, 3 @ £85).

Rabbit, beetroot, watercress

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Tuna, sweetcorn, oyster, Espelette

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Sea bass, sweet potato, saffron, sorrel

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Galloway beef, rarebit, marrow, brisket (£10 supplement)

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Pineapple, pain perdu, coconut

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The ford was all pretty good but it was not the best that I have eaten here.  One of the best things was the chocolate, dark, milk, white dessert (not pictured), which was one of the best puddings I have had in a while.

Wormwood

http://www.wormwoodrestaurant.com/about

Wormwood is a new place in north Notting Hill, a couple of doors down from the original Rum Kitchen. It claims to specialise in pan-Mediterranean cuisine so it contains influences from Spain to Morcocco and everywhere in between.  Despite a couple of good reviews in major papers in the two weeks before my visit; the restaurant was half empty on a Saturday night in mid-August (confirming my theory that half of K&C leaves town for the month.)

The menu is a small plates affair and both an AB (below) and a pre-dessert were also given.  Also there is an interesting cocktail list for those who fancy one before dinner.

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AB

Croquettas- Squid croquets, black aioli with hot smoked paprika. (£7)

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Lobster Couscous- Seffa couscous, confit lemon, lobster bisque (£15)

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Pulled Pork- Baby spinach, spinach velouté, sunflower seeds and black olive crumb (£7)

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L’Aubergine II- Smoked aubergine mousse, confit baby aubergine, chili & coriander oil (£7)

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North South Scallops- Scallops ceviche, redcurrant dressing, coriander cress, homemade lemoncello gel (£11)

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Solomio- Seared Black Angus fillet, flamed roscoff onion purée, Pico de gallo (£12)

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The cooking here was done fairly well and used some modern techniques, although for me it did not quite come together for some dishes.  Maybe it is a case of trying a little too hard and not concentrating on the flavours enough.  Although the prices here look like good value at first glance, the bill soon adds up as you order more dishes and there is not a great deal of some of the key ingredients (beef, scallop, lobster) in a few of the dishes.  The service was very good, with all the dishes explained well and the staff seeming to care what one thought of the food.

Wormwood Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Ups and downs of the Chiltern Firehouse

I have been once to the C Firehouse, just after it opened, even at that time it was already fully booked out on a Monday night. The reason I was interested to go was that it is run by Nuño Mendes, who used to run Viajante in the East End, where I have had interesting food in the past.  When I went I thought the atmosphere was pretty fun and the food decent but far from mind blowing- so ‘safe’ compared to what Mendes was previously known for (see review).

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Apparently now it is full of celebs, I think the Mail is full of “C-listers snapped outside of CF” stories as well as to be fair some A-listers. Basically the Firehouse seems to be the same as the Ivy in its glory days now; if you are someone who has an agent it is fairly easy to get in otherwise it is basically impossible. Then if you do manage to visit you wonder what all the fuss is about (unless you are sat next to Moss, Campbell etc. and that is the sort of thing that you wanted).

Recently the Firehouse may have had a setback, although I am sure the celebs will not care, but it was awarded a 2 by scores on the doors and this was widely reported in the media. However, it also came 48th on this year’s Good Food Guide top 50 (with a score of 6), which gives some support that the food must be good, although on my experience this could be one to two marks too high.

 

 

 

Beast

http://www.beastrestaurant.co.uk/

Meat locker

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From the Goodman and Burger & Lobster peeps comes Beast, a ridiculous concept of a restaurant.  Here one is given a set menu of steak and crab plus starters and sides, all for £75 served in somewhere reminiscent of the Hogwarts hall.  The wine list is punchy as well so this is not a cheap night out.

Starters- wheel of Parmesan, pickled artichokes and olives

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Steak and sides

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steak

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More sides

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Norwegian king crab

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I think this is a fun place to go once to and it was perfect for our boys night out but I am not sure I would be in a hurry to go again.  Sure the food is very good but the no choice menu and the seating arrangements are not something I would like very often.  Also as many have said before me- it is far from cheap.

Fera

http://feraatclaridges.co.uk/

Simon Rogan… L’Enclume… Good Foof Guide… Claridges…Blah, Blah Blah.  I am sure you have heard of this opening.  We had the tasting menu which was £105.

Goat’s curd crisp, picked shitake

Stewed rabbit with lovage/ Scallops and peas in buttermilk

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Tunworth, potato and duck heart

Crab, rhubarb, verbena and pork fat

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Aynsome soup, mustard cream, soft herbs and flowers

 

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Cornish lobster, pickled golden beetroot, dittander and sea herbs

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Grilled salad, grilled over embers, Isle of Mull, truffle custard, sunflower seeds

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Hake in caramelised cabbage, potatoes in chicken fat with nasturtium

Herdwick hogget, beetroots, runner beans and watercress

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Pineapple weed with butterscotch and celery

Hereford strawberries with meadowsweet and linseeds

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Black saison, cherries and fennel

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This was a good meal but my by no means great, I think I preferred Roganic (RIP).  Also my friend’s photos from L’Enclume last week made me jealous- it really looked like it was worth a special trip.

 

Bacon (Antibes)

Scores: 1M*

http://www.restaurantdebacon.com/uk/default.asp

Amuse Bouche

Amuse Bouche

Bacon is a seafood restaurant on the Cap D’antibes, which is a peninsula between Nice and Cannes.  Its specially is Bouillabaisse, the Provençal fish stew, which they seem to sell a lot of.  This is a very expensive restaurant – Bouillabaisse with langouste (local spiny lobsters) is 165e per person!  However, at lunch there are two 3 course set menus one at 85e and the other at 55e.  We ordered from both of them: fish salad and Bourride from the 85e one, and ravioli and simply grilled John Jory from the cheaper one.

Salade de Poisson Cru aux Herbes- local fish, freshly caught, served in thin slices, slightly marinated in lemon juice, olive oil and herbs.

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Pasta ravioli, filled with a preparation of sea bass and truffles

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Bourride- A variety of «  white flesh » fish filets steamed in a creamy fish broth perfumed with herbs and garlic

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Fillets of John Dory grilled with olive oil, lemon and small pieces of tomatoes

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We had Iced Nougat with Coulis of Fresh Raspberry and a selection of ice creams to finish.  This was a great lunch, although the food is very tasty it is also pretty simple (expect for the stew) and thus the food still feels relatively expensive even for the area but you also pay for the view:

Antibes old town

Antibes old town

Donostia

http://www.donostia.co.uk/

Scores: GFG 3/ H 3/ Z 24

Donostia serves Basque style cuisine from a modern restaurant in a pleasant ‘village style’ street a short walk from Marble Arch.  We ordered a selection of small dishes from different selections of the menu including one of the daily specials: squid a la plancha.  Everything here was good; the basic ingredients were obviously of sound quality including some very nice ham.

Pan con tomate (£3.60)

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Ibérico chorizo with piquillo pepper & watercress (£3.20)

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Mini Wagyu beef burger (£4.30)

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JABUGO: Cinco Jotas Jamón Ibérico de Bellota 3 years aged, hand carved (£19.8)

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BAKAILAO KOKOTXAK: Crispy fried cod cheeks with black squid ink aioli (£7.30)

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BIEIRA: Scallops with cauliflower purée (£8.60)

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Squid a la plancha

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Although it is different, I personally slightly preferred the food here to that received at Jose a couple of weeks before.  Here I thought some of the dishes stood out a little more and also the seasoning was a little better.  Unfortunately a friend was looking at the Scores on the Doors website the next day and proceeded to tell me that Donostia currently holds a 2, this has put me off making a further visit anytime soon…