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Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley - London, England | Restaurant Review

Exceptional Food and Service; A Wonderful Experience


Restaurant Category : French

Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley - London, England: Chef Marcus Wareing opened his top eponymous restaurant at The Berkeley London in September 2008 and already it had been awarded two Michelin stars, continuing the illustrious reputation of Wareing’s former restaurant Pétrus. Known for technically brilliant and innovative French cuisine, Marcus Wareing is an exceptional fine dining restaurant that serves modern European dishes.

The restaurant opens at 6:00 p.m. but they only seat a couple of tables every 15 minutes or so. This is to ensure that the staff can provide the best service and that the kitchen won’t be too overwhelmed with everybody ordering at the same time. Fortunately, we went there early and there was only one other couple dining when we arrived.

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It was a little strange to have the whole restaurant to ourselves at first. Within an hour, however, guests started pouring in and soon enough, the restaurant was full. The staff explained to us that we could have a table for long as we wanted. They don't typically do multiple seating, so we were able to take our time without feeling rushed.

The atmosphere at Marcus Wareing was elegant yet cozy. The room was dimly lit and had dark burgundy walls, giving the restaurant an overall warm and welcoming feeling. The tables were covered in crisp white linen tablecloths set with beautiful China, sparkling crystal and silver, while the large high-backed chairs were upholstered with rich, dark maroon leather. The staff, from the waiters to the servers to the sommelier, was all perfectly dressed in black-and-white suits, just as you would expect in any five-star fine dining restaurant.

We ordered the tasting menu which consisted of nine courses (including desert and the cheese trolley, which we had to pay extra for). The tasting menu had a variety of dishes, each as good, if not better than the previous. A few items that stood out as stellar included:

• Pan fried foie gras, yogurt, rhubarb muffin top, ginger crunch and thyme cress.
• Cumbrian lamb, smoked aubergine, black bean, braised belly and crispy lamb bacon
• Anjou pigeon, poached and roasted, smoked field mushroom, kohl rabi and liquorice (I went with the pigeon, my partner the lamb, both were remarkably juicy, tender, and perfectly prepared).
• Scottish scallop, vanilla butter, butternut squash, sprout coleslaw, chorizo. (I don’t recall having scallops this good before).
• Roasted and marinated quail, with smoked white beans and toast foam (spectacular!).

The menu changes frequently so who knows what will be on it if you visit, but rest assured, I’m confident you’ll be thrilled. The wine pairing was just as impressive but they were not overly generous with their pouring. None the less, their selections were spot on and added a great deal of enjoyment to the tasting menu.

One major disappointment was the additional £10.00 for the six-cheese trolley course. In France, when they bring you the cheese trolley they let you have as much as you want, and really at the end of a dinner like this, how much could you possibly eat? At Marcus Wareing, they limited us to just three pieces. When we selected a fourth, not knowing their policy, the server told us he would give it to us but we would need to eat it quickly so the manager wouldn’t see. For a restaurant of this caliber, this was just unacceptable.

Service was attentive but never overbearing. The staggered seating seemed to work perfectly as we were never rushed and at the same time, never waited too long for the next course. Reservations for this restaurant are definitely a requirement. Men are also required to wear jackets, no jeans, no trainers, and no tennis shoes.

Overall, Marcus Wareing was a wonderful experience, the food was sublime, the atmosphere was perfect and the service was attentive. But compared to some of the five-star restaurants in Paris, and considering the cost (the tasting menu cost £95.00, the wine pairing £85.00, plus 12.5% service and gratuity), it lacked just a little something to make it super exceptional. Even so, I would have to give Marcus Wareing a solid rating of Bombastic.

What I liked: Great tasting menu

What I didn’t like: Additional fee for cheese trolley and then being told to eat the extra piece quickly before a manager saw

Rating: Bombastic

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