Monday, 6 February 2017

Fera at Claridge's - Rewarding

After a stressful trip to Hong Kong over Christmas and New Year, he decided a fine meal would sooth some of the pains away. Would have been a great idea if it didn’t coincide with the woman’s march after the US Inauguration, but hey, we made it and damn it was a hard-earned lunch. 

With a cold and retarded scent receptors, I disappointed our sommelier despite him concurring the recommended Serbian wine very interesting. It most probably was too, but I stuck with the more conventional (aka boring) chateauneuf du pape with the thick tannin to punch through my senses.

Amuse Bouche

We made a pass on the set lunch menu and went for a la carte as it offered more exciting options. Our server highly recommended the snacks to start and here we go…

Stewed rabbit with lovage; seaweed cracker, lemon sole, sea herbs; chestnut, pork and eel

We went for the snacks as our server highlighted them as must-try. The crunchy shell of toasted cereal flakes enveloped a ball of impossibly juicy stewed rabbit meat, mingled with subtle fragrance from the peppery lovage. The seaweed cracker earned several nods of approval from him, airily light topped with succulent shreds of lemon sole with a refreshing dressing. My favourite was the mysterious emulsion of chestnut that blanketed small cubes of smoky eel and pork. Delicious start.

Roasted and raw scallop with cucumber, buckwheat and mushroom
I preferred the meaty roasted scallop, dense and creamy in the centre with a slightly crispy outer edge, simply seasoned to show off its fresh crustacean fragrance. The raw scallop was sliced into 3 pieces, which somewhat took away the satisfaction of its slithery mouthfeel, but was nonetheless most enjoyable as it was oozing distinctive oceanic sweetness. The combination of cucumber and miniscule mushroom was intriguing; the enoki-lookalike had a crisp clean tone instead of earthiness, contributed more on the bouncy crunch than flavour and worked well with the refreshing cucumber foam.

Pink fir potato with duck hearts, watercress and Tunworth
The morsels of duck heart was springy but not chewy, the strong muscles carried powerful gamey flavours with a tinge of metallic aftertaste. My palette isn’t refined enough to be particularly appreciative of pink fir potatoes, but they were slightly waxy and mildly nutty, which paired well with the melted gooey soft cheese. It was a delicious wintry starter.

Halibut cooked in pine, leeks, parsley and whey
The halibut was divine, silky soft and fleshy flakes effortlessly broke off with a gentle poke from the knife; succulent with mellow fish oils infused with the subtle scent from smoky pine.

Cornish lamb, chervil root, crosnes, seeds and cocoa nib
We were served the saddle of lamb, roasted to a perfect medium with a beautiful pink centre, gleaming in its juice. The meat was milky soft, subdued in the distinctive lamb essence due to its leanness, but the meaty jus makes up the intense flavours. The crosnes added some crunch to the smoothness while the chervil root packed in some peppery punches to keep things exciting. He wasn’t a fan of the cocoa nib and chewy grains, possibly too harsh on the mouthfeel and spoilt the delicacy of the lamb; on the plus side they added some crunch as well as a deeper nutty tone to the ensemble. I quite liked it.

Chocolate and sweet clover with Jerusalem artichoke and Earl Grey
The artichoke was cleverly integrated and blended in seamlessly with the indulgent chocolate mousse. The clover aroma was restrained, perhaps didn’t come through with the slightly spicy earl grey – or I got them mixed up. We loved it regardless.

Notwithstanding our unplanned weekday dinner at Homeslice and the odd noodle stop, this was our first proper meal out. Safe to say we are off to a great start. Fera lived up to the expectations, and the expectations were high. I have a feeling he was pushing for putting Fera on my list of favourites, I have my hesitation. While every dish was carefully constructed, meticulously executed and undeniably delicious, yet I struggle to highlight something extraordinary that will help me remember it. Might have been my cold and my ‘hyper-sensitivity’ – it was still a great restaurant.

Brook Street
Tel: 0207 107 8888

Fera - Claridge's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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