Last weekend, as I sat in my living room, writing this blog, on a gloriously sunny Saturday, the rest of the world around me was getting super excited for the Royal Wedding. Yet, somehow I couldn’t help but feel that the food that we enjoyed at Fera was nothing short of gastronomic royalty.
Through the velvet curtains, we entered into the circular foyer of Fera and suddenly the whole expanse of the high-ceilinged, sprawling restaurant was revealed in front of us.
The stunning restaurant, designed by Guy Oliver, had an Art Deco feel with a very classy and glamorous interpretation. The colours were mostly greys and greens; yet, instead of feeling cold and uninviting, the space felt warm and elegant.
I love an interior space where nature is incorporated and here was a sandblasted tree which formed the centrepiece of the room.
The ceiling design was equally pretty and I couldn’t take my eyes off it for a long time. The vibe was relaxed and mostly serene, punctuated once in a while with the lively chatter of happy diners.
We had booked the Set Lunch Menu (£42 per person including a glass of Champagne each) but that didn’t stop us from indulging a bit and trying their Signature Snacks. They come highly recommended and are almost essential if you want to get the full Fera experience.
For £10 per person, you get a choice of three dainty but extremely pretty little snacks that you can devour in one go, but the taste and memory of each lingers in your mouth for much longer. My favourite was the Crispy Chicken, Whipped Roe, which had a luxurious, fatty, ‘roast-chicken-skin’ taste. Kris tried the Sourdough Crumpet, Smoked Eel; the sourdough had a soft bite and the eel was as refined as eel can be. The stand-out snack, of course, was their signature Stewed Rabbit with Lovage – a spiky, crunchy, almost Scotch egg-like formation, hiding the softest, most flavourful rabbit meat inside. All three snacks really drove the point home that good things come in small packages.
I tried the Cornish Mackerel, Celery, Caramelised Yoghurt. Now, mackerel and celery are not in any shape or form on top of my list of favourite foods, but served this way, I am willing to push them further up the chain. This was again a fine version with lots of tender flesh, subtle textures and soft bites.
Kris tried the Slow Cooked Pork Jowl, Pickled Cheek and Turnips. It is the kind of starter that makes a meat eater happy. A glorious assemblage of meat and pickled vegetables, harmoniously brought together by a foamy sauce.
I stuck to my pescatarian theme by opting for the Day Boat Pollock, Rainbow Radishes, Smoked Eel and Nettles. The fish was soft, warm and flaky, with salty notes from the turnip slivers and an earthy, verdant nettle sauce. Everything was cooked to perfection, however, I wouldn’t say this was my favourite dish of the meal.
Kris’s Braised Lamb, Tropea Onion, Hedge Garlic was much more interesting. There was a stringy version of the lamb, stuffed inside an onion – all fatty and wonderful, pimped up by Lamb’s Tongue. It was my first time trying it and it was delicious – a dense, salty slab.
So far, I was impressed by our meal but not blown away. But the dessert course changed all of that. It was lot more theatrical and multi-sensory, which is the kind of stuff I was expecting from a Michelin-starred place like Fera.
Kris’s Beetroot Sorbet, Whipped Verjus and Chocolate was simply marvellous. A light dessert with lots of chocolate-themed shards, crumbles and blobs. The presentation was definitely on point for this one.
The name of my dessert (Gariguette Strawberries, Dill and Sorrel) did not give much away, so I was intrigued to see what I had ordered. It turned out that it was a delicious little slab of soft almond cake, aerated dill ice cream with sorrel granita, served on a frosted plate. It was a heavenly combination of taste and sensations – cold, crumbly, tangy, sweet, savoury, herbaceous and aniseedy.
Towards the end of our meal, we were offered complimentary sweet treats (courtesy of Fera’s kitchen) in the form of little boozy Doughnuts (filled with Brandy Sauce).
But the real pièce de résistance were the cleverly constructed ‘Fera’ Rocher – a mushroom and hazelnut concoction which was part sweet, part savoury and endlessly divine. It came so close to the real deal so if you blind-tasted it you will never find out. So, a technically accomplished dish and kudos to the kitchen for recreating such an iconic taste with such an unexpected set of ingredients.
So with this, our meal ended on a jolly high. The service was efficient but equally convivial and smiley.
Fera has been on my bucket list for like forever and I was pleased to finally tick it off my list. The cuisine is very much seasonal, contemporary British and a glorious one at that. The Set Menu gave us enough of a whiff of the unmatched and indistinguishable excellence that is dished out from Fera’s kitchens every day. I hope to return soon to try their ground-breaking tasting menu.
Location : Claridge’s, Brook Street, Mayfair , London W1K 4HR
More information can be found here.
N.B. All photos and opinions are mine. I reviewed this meal anonymously as a paying customer.