DINING OWL AWARD: 2nd – value
When I visited: January 2015
Location: London, in Claridge’s hotel
Team: Simon Rogan (Head Chef), Ben Hofer (Restaurant Director), Raphael Rodriguez (Head Sommelier)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: 1 star
What to wear: Men – smart trousers and shirt; women – smart dress
Ambience: Fun and new, buzzy
Course of the meal: Roasted cod with Jerusalem artichokes, truffle granola and mushroom and truffle broth
If I could change one thing: Make the wafer snack an easier shape to eat
Fera is a very welcome and fairly recent addition to the restaurants inside posh London hotels, and also offers great value, with its lunch menu priced at £39 per person. The vibrant atmosphere is slightly offset by the old-school formality of Claridge’s (at one point a toilet attendant handed me a towel and I hadn’t brought any money into the bathroom so had to sneak back later to give a tip!) but this adds up to a pleasing whole.
I went with my partner Owl and we enjoyed the aforementioned set lunch menu. Although this wasn’t included in the price, we decided to begin in style with a glass each of Laurent Perrier Champagne, with which we were given a snack – a crisp wafer with blue cheese foam, elderflower and edible flowers. This was absolutely beautiful and tasty but it was hard to eat it due to its size and shape … somehow we managed though. Readers will know I am not a fan of blue cheese but I don’t mind it in sumptuous foam form like this. For our wine, we had an unusual orange-coloured, creamy La Maceration du Soula, which cost about £60. I’ll do a post soon about the pricing of wines in high-end restaurants and about taking tips from your sommelier, as we did here – we never would have selected something this unusual if left to our limited knowledge, and it was well worth it.
The bread served with the set lunch was delicious: malty, with creamy butter. For our starters, we had beetroot with fresh cheese, chicory brined in dill, pickled pear and horseradish; and smoked Bantam yolk with salt-baked kohlrabi, Cavolo Nero, and Isle of Mull. This was a great start and both were delicious.
Our mains were roasted cod with Jerusalem artichokes, truffle granola and mushroom and truffle broth (bring on the truffles!) and Reg’s guinea hen with salt-based celeriac, buttered kale and cider sauce. No main course dip here. My partner Owl opted for a cheese course (sheep’s cheese, hard cheese, blue cheese with lots of lentil crackers and breads) and I saved myself for dessert: chocolate cream, apple marigold, shortbread and rapeseed jam, while my partner Owl had Bramley apple cake, cinnamon ice cream and chestnut.
We went for our usual green tea to digest, with which we got some great petits fours – pine nut fudge with pine nuts on top, and marshmallow with orange dots on top – simple and classic.
Fera is one of the best choices right now if you want a good-value one-star restaurant at lunchtime.