Tasting menu at Harwood Arms, Fulham

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I celebrated Valentine’s day with my fellow foodie friend Caroline at Harwood Arms, amongst a few couples but we enjoyed the food too much to notice it much. I’ve only had their a ‘la carte before and was a little worried that the tasting menu portions would be huge as the portions here are very generous, but it was just the right amount.

Shortly after having received water, bread and wine at the table the first course arrived; beetroot poached salmon with yellow beets and smoked sourcream. It was a very fresh dis and the smoked sourcream was a fun twist.

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Next we had a rabbit terrine with almond praline, turnip, endive and yoghurt. Also really nice!

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Thereafter turbot with smoked bone marrow and parsley root. Another nice dish with a fun twist. It was the first time I’ve had bone marrow paired with fish!

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The best dish was without a doubt the last savoury one; perfectly cooked fillet of veal with velvety garlic potato purée with jus and toasted garlic. A-ma-zing!

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After that high, the puddings were quite a blur. I prefer savoury over sweet any day and was really content after the first four courses. It was nice to have something sweet to finish off the meal but I’m afraid, to me, the puddings weren’t that memorable.

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But they were just the right size to round off the meal nicely, and especially the mousse-topped shortbread with ice cream was really nice, even though it didn’t top the veal.

Harwood Arms, Walham Grove, London SW6 1QP

Dinner at Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair

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One of my favourite British cooking programs on television is definitely The Great British Menu and after seeing Simon Rogan cook one amazing dish after another I really wanted to try his food. Unfortunately it took until now as Roganic closed, but I am thrilled that he’s opened Fera instead.

Having been to the same restaurant when it was Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s it was wonderful to see the transformation. The ambiance is a lot more modern now with an open kitchen and sleeker design but it’s still a stunning room that works well with the interior of the rest of the hotel.

When it opened Fera only offered a tasting menu, and although it now has an a’la carte as well we preferred the tasting menu consisting of seven courses.

First, we had an lovely amuse bouche with an incredibly light and airy goat’s cheese mousse and pea shoots.

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The first course consisted of three bite sized dishes, the first being rabbit with lovage. The rabbit was incredibly tender but the coating crispy and although I’m not a fan of lovage in general but I must say it worked perfectly in this dish!

 

 

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Next up was mackerel, oyster and seaweed in a wonderful combination which tasted like the sea. Loved the presentation too.

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Smoked roe and red cabbage was next (although I had requested mine without cabbage). It was a lovely foam, both thick and light at the same time. Wonderful flavours!

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Moving on to larger plates we got to enjoy scallops with parsnip puré and hazelnits which was nice and autumnal.

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Raw veal with oyster, Wiltshire truffle, kohlrabi and apple was motley dish. The applepuré, although lovely, was very acidic and didn’t harmonise with the more subtle flavours but I loved the combination of veal, oyster and truffle.

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Lobster, kale, lobster cream and crispy pork was delicious. The lobster was perfectly cooked the mild cream lovely in flavour and the pork and kale made it feel very seasonal.

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Next up was sea bass, grilled leeks and razor clams. The charred leeks were lovely just like the razor clams but I thought the fish a little bland.

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The suckling pig with celeriac, watercress, sprout tops and mead was interesting. One of the pieces of meat was crisp and lovely whereas for the the other one had a bit too much of the soft fat. I love crackling but find soft fat has a strange texture that doesn’t appeal to me. The watercress reduction was amazing though. ‘Very one dimensional, but in a good way’, as Caroline put it.

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The first pudding was chocolate malt nitro wuth prune and dandelion. I had mine without prunes and it was utterly delicious, but Caroline thought the prune jam married well with the malty flavour.

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The finale was a wonderful creation of baked figs, gingerbread cream, crispy gingerbread and fig leaf yoghurt. Just delicious!

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We had coffee and tea after our meal and also received some petit fours. I think we were to full to properly appreciate them though. My favourite was the elderberry meringue but the others (liquorice, hazelnut jelly and ginger) were lovely too.

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Our sommelier was very helpful and recommended beautiful wines and when he saw our longing looks to the kitchen when another table got to go in, he offered to show us around. Needless to say we were over the moon! Thank you.

We had a wonderful evening at Fera. We were well looked after, the food was terrific and the atmosphere really nice. I definitely thought some dishes were stronger than others but overall everything was well cooked and utterly delicious.

Fera at Claridge’s, 49 Brook St, London W1K 4HR

Tasting menu at Trinity

The birthday girl to the left and her housemate to the right

It is my dear friend Gaby’s birthday on Wednesday and to celebrate it she invited a few friends to Trinity to enjoy a splendid tasting menu on Saturday.

A fabulous idea we thought, not missing an opportunity to go back, and it is safe to say we were not disappointed.

We sat at the chef’s table just by the kitchen and were so spoilt. The menu started off with a chilled pea and mint soup with croûtons, homemade ricotta and lemon purée. I am not a fan of chilled soups in general, and although this was very nice, I still think a soup is lacking a little when served chilled, but that is just my personal opinion. Christopher for example, loved it.The flavours were all there, and the velvety smooth soup had the perfect balance of contrast from the mint and the lemon.

Next course was seared yellow fin tuna with pak choi and sesame and soy dressing, which was probably the dish I was least fond of. The tuna was perfectly cooked, but didn’t have that much flavour to it. It also felt like a generic combination of flavours and less interesting than the other dishes.

The scallop that followed on the other hand was superb! The large perfectly cooked scallop with white gazpacho, pickled grapes and almonds were a heavenly combination. I could never (sadly) recreate the gazpacho which was more like a cream than a soup and it married so well with the grapes.

Next up was slowcooked duckbreast, spinach, pickled girolles, potato gratin and a lovely confit of duck leg pastry parcel, which took this dish to another level together with the raisin reduction.

The palate cleanser was green tea yoghurt, which on the menu sounded nice, but quite ordinary. But there was nothing ordinary about the taste. Thick green tea yoghurt on the bottom of a glass, then a small strip of jelly, and on top this lovely creamy foam.

Instead of the dessert on the menu we recieved a whole spread of desserts; warm chocolate pots, chocolate chip icecream, little apple pies, cheese, a huge and lovely cherry soufflé, strawberries, shortbread and vanilla mousse, chocolate mousse with peanut crumble… It was so much it was difficult to take it all in, but it was all lovely. I can safely say that the birthday girl was thrilled to bits!

Trinity
4 The Polygon
Clapham Old Town
London SW4 0JG


It is actually my birthday today, and I will continue with the gluttany by going out for both lunch and dinner. Reviews to come of course.