Reader review: Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley

My parents were obsessed with guide books. Michelin guides, Egon Ronay, The Good Food Guide - they were annually updated and perused to find the most suitable restaurant wherever we were going (with greatest emphasis usually on the wine). Over the years I often found myself "reviewing" dinners to my husband as we ate, praising and criticising and occasionally, if I was really angry, posting a review on an online forum.

So when my darling husband presented me with my Christmas present - the opportunity to accompany Tracey MacLeod on a restaurant review - I was speechless. At last, the chance to take part in a real review. What an honour.

It was decided that our venue would be Marcus Wareing. His restaurant at the Berkeley is now Number 52 on the St Pelligrino list of 100 Best restaurants in the world. Just think about how many restaurants there are - and this is considered the 52nd best on the entire planet. What an opportunity!

I learnt a lot that evening. Firstly, that a combination of cod and black pudding is rather good. The other canapés were a bit on the nothing side. A big no-no was the smoked tomato puree/pate; imagine tomato puree mixed with ashtray; not good. But I had already ventured into uncharted culinary waters and for that I was happy.

My starter was an extraordinary mixture of tastes and textures, perfect scallops accompanied by a cauliflower puree which is always a winner, pretty well cooked cod with a slightly overpowering macadamia nut element, some fourme d'Ambert cheese which I could not detect, tiny nasturtiums and white chocolate which, even though it was a minor part of the dish turned it all into something far too sweet. My husband’s starter of ravioli of quail was so good he wasn’t prepared to share it, but Tracey gave me a taste of her veal sweetbreads, and you know what? Scary but delicious. A sort of foie gras/meaty veal combination which I know I will eat again. Once again, I am learning.

Our main courses were all a bit on the "Oh dear me" side.

Mine was Rhug farm Welsh suckling pig, cooked for twenty four hours, with braised chicory and pommes mousseline. Elements were stupendous; it was, I think the shoulder cut which made me think of dancing on little fluffy clouds of baby pig but all I could think was "Where's the jus"? It was too dry, the pommes mousseline were lacking in seasoning and to be honest I can’t even remember the braised chicory! Roger's lamb was a sad dish, the caraway far, far too overpowering.

Tracey once again sent us into uncharted territory when she insisted that we both try our first frog’s leg. Roger bravely led the way, and decided it was a bit like "crap chicken". I took the coward's route and sliced off the smallest piece I possibly could; as it sat in my mouth all I could think of saying was "pondy." This part of the meal was not helped by Tracey's impression of a frog, which led to talk of Shrek's father-in-law and that song by the Beatles man.

We asked for a selection of cheese, and we got one; possibly enough cheese to keep an anorexic miniature mouse going for about half an hour.

Puddings, what can I say? Banana Jelly - interesting; chocolate fondant-type thingy - crumbly and rich; Roger's deconstructed Eton mess - predictable.

Despite these quibbles, we had a great night; great wine, great conversation and great, great laughs.Thank you for such a thoughtful present, my dearest Dodge.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'