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Fera at Claridges

Last week I went to Claridges Hotel in London to eat in the restaurant that has replaced Gordon Ramsay’s Petruse – Simon Rogan’s Fera. Rogan is quite literally a vegetable genius. His restaurant L’eclume has 2 Michelin stars, and his other venture Roganic is well on its way to achieving the same. It will without a doubt not be long until latest opening Fera follows in Michelin pursuit. I’d bet my BBQ’d salad leaves on it.

This has got to be the finest of fine dining that I have ever encountered. The setting of course is total glamour – the beautiful hotel with old-fashioned opulent entrance halls, checkered flooring and lights around mirrors in the bathroom. Entering Fera through a red curtained entrance with a spotlight on the restaurant’s name on the floor, you know you’re about to step into something wonderful. The room opens up into a large, grand space. A white tree makes a stunning centre feature, as does the lovely round booth tables with cushions, large and comfortable for 2. A painted wall feature at the far end of the room has been finished so carefully it looks like a light projection, I had to go over and touch it to confirm it was just paint.

This place is the ultimate in special occasion fine dining. This is NOT your average Monday lunchtime restaurant. There are several menus to choose from, one with 3 x courses for a reasonable £45.
We opted for the tasting menu – which you can also choose to include 7 small glasses of wine matched to the food with your sommelier who introduces each wine and its region to you in-between your 12 courses. Yep – 12 courses! The menu matched with food came in at £195.

The highlights of the tasting menu for me were the Cornish lobster in buttermilk, artichokes, sea herbs with calf sweetbread and the pineapple weed with butterscotch and celery dessert. The most infamous dish is the grilled salad leaves, showing the attention to detail in this menu. It is in the vegetables that Rogan shines. Many are brought over from his farm, and I was delighted to try so many things that I had never heard of before – let alone tasted.

The invention and attention to detail was incredible. I was overwhelmed by the clever presentation and what the food was presented on. An amuse bouche arrived on a large piece of bark, and the hand made pottery bowls and glassware tied everything together perfectly.

The staff were really well-informed on all of the ingredients in the dishes (that’s a lot to remember), and were attentive in the right sort of way. I was really pleased about the warm reception at Fera, slightly nervous on arrival, the pretention I was worried about was non existent. 3 whole hours later we left comfortably full and happy – always a concern of mine to be full in the right way after a tasting menu. We were!

If you have a really special occasion coming up and want to have a restaurant experience you won’t forget, and taste some of the most forward food coming out of London, I recommend you go to Fera.

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