Restaurant Review: Fera at Claridge’s

Ben Brown
Ben Brown
Nov 6, 2016 · 6 min read

Two years ago, on holiday in the Lake District we visited my favourite restaurant so far, L’Enclume in Cartmel. Two Michelin stars and owned by one of the lesser known celebrity chef’s Simon Rogan. Since opening in 2003, the restaurant not only gained its stars, but a ‘perfect’, 10 out of 10 in the 2014 Good Food Guide and appeared on BBC comedy series ‘The Trip’ in 2010. One of the stand-out features of L’Enclume was a passion to deliver all food for the restaurant from Rogan’s local farm.

It took a while for Rogan to look outside Cartmel, and after a short pop-up ‘Roganic’ ran in London in 2011, he opened The French at the Midland Hotel in Manchester in 2013, followed closely by Fera at Claridge’s in 2014. Previously home to Gordon Ramsey at Claridge’s, which closed in 2013 after losing its Michelin star in 2010.

Fera at Claridges

I visited Fera for my sister-in-laws birthday for a Tuesday lunch in November. Three of us ordered the cut-down tasting menu ‘Taste of Fera’, consisting of snacks and 5 main courses for £75. We booked online and received a complimentary glass of champagne to enjoy. I mentioned we were celebrating a birthday in the booking and was contacted by the reservations team and offered a complimentary birthday card, and asked if we would like to purchase a cake. The card was a really nice addition, personally signed by Simon Rogan (who just so happened to be in the kitchen on the day!), but we’d been offered cake elsewhere and not asked for extra payment, which doesn’t compare too well.

Taste of Fera Menu

Location

Food

Crackers and mousse snack
Stewed Rabbit with Lovage
Buttered squash, goats curd, trout roe

Following the snacks we were offered a bread basket of hand made rye bread. Amazingly crisp crust and soft centre served with a homemade soft butter. When asked if we wanted a second basket, we gratefully took it!

Rye Bread and Butter

The starter course was roe deer served with beetroot, blackcurrant and crispy kale. The deep red colour created a brilliant work of art and nicely offset the pieces of roe deer. Each of the different ingredients nicely offset each other, but I’d have loved a little more of the deer to enjoy!

Cylindra beetroot, roe deer, blackcurrant and hemp

Next up was a fish course of halibut, cooked in a water bath and finished with a blow torch on top. I’ve recently got a sous vide machine at home and strive to get fish to taste like this — but so far have failed! The fish was served with a selection of onions and leeks. The strong flavour of the roast onions nicely complemented the silky soft fish. Along with the cooked fish was a small piece of raw fish, sealed on the outsides.

Halibut, cooked in pine, leeks, nettle and whey

The main course was chicken, topped with a crumb of crispy mushrooms and served with sweet turnips and shaved truffle on truffle mousse. There were two different cuts of chicken, both cooked to perfection, moist and tasty. The crispy crumb gave a complementary texture to the soft chicken and the mouse and turnips finished off the dish nicely. Again, another work of art!

Copas chicken with sweet turnip, black trumpet and Lapsang

After reading the menu, the pre-dessert had intrigued me. Described as stout ice-cream, buckwheat and verjus I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect! Out came a small, perfectly formed quenelle of stout ice cream served with a crispy buckwheat. Half sweet, half savoury, it really was an interesting flavour combination (plus another work of art!). I’m not sure I would order this given the choice, but really enjoyed it. It’s not the kind of dish you could eat a large portion of, but perfectly sets you up for the full dessert!

Stout ice cream, buckwheat and verjus

Finally dessert came along — personally my favourite course! I was slightly disappointed by what appeared to be a small dessert, but actually it lived up to being great! The sorbet, vivid in both colour and taste, complemented the stewed cox’s apple — making me think of a homemade apple-pie. The best part of the dessert had to be the oak smoked meringue which dissolved in the mouth with an aftertaste of wood. I would happily polish off another 10!

Cox’s apple, marigold sorbet, oak meringue

After the meal we discussed which was the best dish. While every dish was great, we all loved the stewed rabbit snack, with two votes for the roe deer and dessert. After eating at L’Enclume, where we had a 20 course menu, the meal at Fera definitely wasn’t quite as memorable. I’d love to go back and eat the full tasting menu to see exactly how that compares!

Service

We didn’t have coffee as we had plans for after the meal, but still received the snacks for afterwards. A vivid green ‘sponge’ and elderflower jelly. The elderflower jelly stood as as star of the show here!

Snacks with coffee

Summary

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