Favourite Tables

Tag: Tasting Menu Tasting Menu

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Review of Murano – London

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A visit to Murano will always be a highlight of my dining calendar especially as I am a lover of Italian food. So, therefore, it came as a great surprise when I realised that it’s been over two years since my last visit. But I will honestly say that after this fabulous lunch I definitely won’t be leaving it that long before I return again. There’s always a nice relaxed feel when you dine at Murano and this was enhanced once more during our visit on Saturday. We arrived to the usual friendly greeting before being shown to our table which was along the far wall which gives you a great overall view of the restaurant. We started with an Italian Gin & Tonic and for me when having Italian food it has to be a Negroni. These were enjoyed along with some amazing snacks & bread while we browsed through the menu. The Al a Carte is set out into five sections in an Italian style i.e starters, pasta, fish & meat with a separate dessert menu. This is nice as it gives you the opportunity to create your own tasting menu if you so wish. There is also a lunch menu which I think is good value for money and was quite popular.

 

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We decided to go for the four-course option to be followed by dessert. So now it was on to our first courses which were a Pea & Wild Garlic Soup with a Smoked Trout Crostini & a Beef Carpaccio with Pecan, Caviar & Truffle. Both of these dishes were amazing and a perfect way to start.

 

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Before our next course, we received a delightful surprise as Chef Martina sent us out a couple of little extra dishes. These were the Scallop with Chicken Wing, Taramasalata & Grapefruit plus a Herb Agnolotti, Morels & Crottin de Chavignol. These dishes were fabulous and a nice touch from the chef.

 

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Now it was on to our Pasta course where we enjoyed a Carnaroli Risotto with Cauliflower & Smoked Almonds as well as the Gnocchi with Cime de Rapa, Pecorino & Tomato Oil.

 

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Next to come was the Fish course and these were both amazing. The Halibut with Herb Farfalle, Chicken Broth & Spring Vegetables was a delight as was the Cornish Brill, White Asparagus, Jersey Royals & Marjoram.

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It was now time for our Mains the first being a Rib of Beef with Sunchoke, Porcini & Smoked Bone Marrow this was matched perfectly with a glass of Taurasi Sant ‘ Eustachio 2007. The second was a Herdwick Lamb, Braised Neck, Sweetbreads, Peas & Goats Curd which was also delightfully matched with a glass of San Leonardo Villa Gresti 2013. I’d like to thank Sommelier Franco for her excellent wine pairings that accompanied all our dishes.

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Now it was time to finish with dessert where our waiter Lorenzo who it was a pleasure to meet gave us his recommendations with his favourite being the Rum Baba. With that in mind, we decided to choose the Peanut Mousse with Madagascan Chocolate & Banana Sorbet plus the Savarin Cheesecake with Lemon Blueberry & Cucumber Sorbet. A nice surprise was to come through as not only did our choice of desserts arrive but our waiters favourite Rum Baba also arrived and just like our choices it was delicious so thank you Lorenzo.

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Before we finished with a coffee & petit fours we were asked if we’d like to see the kitchen and meet the Chef. With delight, we said that would great and enjoyed a lovely chat with Martina while the rest of the team were either finishing off the lunch dishes or prepping for the evening. This really was a fantastic way to end our lunch which is definitely one I won’t forget in a hurry. The food was amazing, the wine selections were excellent and the staff were all very friendly and professional so yes I would highly recommend a visit

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The Chef’s Table team chat with George Blogg, Head Chef Gravetye Manor

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Growing up in Dorset the young George Blogg was fortunate enough to be introduced to meals containing fresh produce, rather than the prepacked food prevalent at that time. Meals at home more often than not had vegetables or fruit from the family allotment with George helping his mother to prepare dinners evenings and weekends. However, his route into restaurant kitchens came about by chance. Originally studying to be a Geologist, when his mother had to turn down a few shifts at the local Italian restaurant she put George forward to cover. Washing up led to Veg prep and then to junior chef roles. So what started as a means of paying for his studies evolved into a vocation. In his early twenties, the then geology graduate gave up the Earth Science’s to follow a full-time gastronomy career.

His résumé makes for impressive reading with time spent at two Michelin-starred restaurants: Philip Howard’s The Square in Mayfair and David Everitt-Matthias’ Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham. George has also completed stages at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Oxfordshire, The Ledbury in Notting Hill and Noma in Copenhagen. Each playing a part in forming his chef’s style and they instilled many of the benefits around his use of locally sourced and foraged produce. Then following a very successful tenure as executive chef at Hotel TerraVina in Hampshire George moved to the AA Hotel of the Year England 2013-14, Gravetye Manor in June 2014. Gravetye was awarded a Michelin Star which has been retained for the past four years.


Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/restaurant food, what would they be?

A: That fine dining, or whatever you would like to call it, is not dying. No matter how many places are moving towards more casual dining concepts, this is as much to do with companies trying to improve profits/costs as it is a shift in public need. People expect good value for money, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they want to spend less.

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Q; Have you been featured or would you like to be featured on any TV food programmes, are these types of shows a good thing for the restaurant industry and chefs?

A: I’ve been fortunate enough to host a semi-final of Masterchef Professionals in the kitchen here at Gravetye, filmed over 2 days. As a marketing vehicle, TV is an excellent way to get noticed and improve business. The downside, that I feel some chefs fall into, is that it takes you away from the kitchen, and ultimately that is where you need to spend your time making sure that your guests receive the best experience possible.

 

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Q: How important is a Michelin star? a growing number of chefs and restaurants have recently asked that they are removed, because of the pressure – your thoughts

A: If you cook for the recognition of any guide, you are not cooking for the right reason, which is for your guests. If you care about offering your guests the best experience, then should it make a difference if you receive an accolade or not? Pressure only exists if you care more about the guides than your guests. So I don’t really understand why anyone would ask for a Michelin star to be removed unless they were worried about losing it and/or trying to implement a controversial marketing strategy.

Q: What do you think about negative reviews?

A: I don’t mind negative reviews as long as they substantiate why something is bad in a considerate way instead of being negative just for the sake of elaborating a story.

Q: What would be on your menu if you were creating a diner and could have all the previous owner of Gravetye – Richard Infield, Kathrine Compton, William Robinson, Peter Herbert and Jeremy & Elizabeth Hosking around the table?

A: I would serve them our current tasting menu. We call this menu Time and Place, and it reflects where Gravetye is at the moment. Hopefully, they would all be interested to see what Jeremy, Elizabeth and the Gravetye team have accomplished.

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Click for Current Tasting Menu

 

Q: What is your favourite dish on the current menu, that you have created in the past 6 months and why.

A: We have a cold starter using cured Isle of Gigha halibut, mussels, turnip, caviar, coastal herbs and sesame. It is a dish with a lot of interesting components. It is delicate, but has a healthy richness and looks beautifully natural.

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Q: If for one night you could be invited to cook alongside any Chef past or present who would that be and why?

A: Paul Bocuse, because who else could you choose?

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My Favourite Tables 

Two restaurants I have visited and why?

 

Restaurant (1): Umu, London. It’s a fantastic Kyoto style (more traditional food) Japanese restaurant off a side street in Mayfair that serves impeccably fresh fish and a stunning selection of Sake. It has 2 Michelin stars, and is excellent value for money considering the quality.

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Restaurant (2): Ynyshir, Wales. Gareth and Amelia have created a unique must-visit destination restaurant with rooms.

Ingredient led, flavour-driven, fat-fuelled, meat-obsessed. This is how Gareth describes his food. I love it.

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Haywards Restaurant – Epping

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For the last five years, I’ve been a frequent diner here at Haywards. This to me is an easy decision as for one it’s only half an hours drive away. The other reasons are is that the food is simply amazing which is matched by the fabulous service you receive from an excellent young team.

It’s not hard to see why this restaurant once again won Best Restaurant in Essex and now also has the well deserved honour of being a 2 AA Rosettes restaurant to which I’m sure in the future will increase. So as I said the food created by Chef Jahdre Hayward is fantastic and full of stunning flavours which without any doubt has been improving year by year. So what to expect in 2019 well if our first visit of this year is anything to go by then I would recommend booking a table now as you’ll be in for a treat. We arrived on Saturday for lunch and received our usual nice welcome before being shown to what I can now say is our regular table. While enjoying our pre-lunch drinks owner Amanda said that if it was ok with us Chef has created for us a Special Tasting Menu which would include all the new dishes.

A lunchtime Tasting Menu is something that they’re looking to introduce so please feel free to ask about its availability. Well, honestly how could we refuse so gladly accepted and couldn’t wait to see what he’d produced. We started first with some fabulous Granary Sourdough Bread before enjoying a Carrot & Ginger Veloute along with Paprika Crackers & Arancini Balls.

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Now it was time for our first course and wow it was outstanding a Foie Gras & Green Tea Ballotine with Salted Grapes & Pickled Apple a truly amazing way to begin. This was followed by a fantastic vegetarian dish a Roasted Cauliflower with Ricotta Dumplings, Capers, Pine Nuts & Raisins – just heaven.

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Now on to our next course and yes it was another dish full of flavour as we were treated to a Ham Hock Boudin, Jerusalem Artichoke Purée & Thyme Foam simply delicious. This heavenly dish led us on to our main course which consisted of a Pan Roasted Breast of Pheasant, Confit Leg & Caramelised Celeriac Purée with the added delight of Potato Dauphinois which is always amazing here.

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We now needed a short rest before moving on to desserts to which we were told there would be two. This was music to my ears as yes I love desserts. The first dessert was a divine Coconut Brûlée with Mango Sorbet & White Chocolate Aero. This was followed by a Pumpkin Tart with Nutmeg Ice Cream & Poached Clementines & Purée. We wondered if the Tart would be a bit savoury but it was nice & light and worked well with the nutmeg ice cream it was just delicious.

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We finished with a coffee and petit fours to bring to an end another fabulous lunch at Haywards and if this is what’s to come in 2019 then all diners are in for something special.

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I would highly recommend a visit so you can see for yourself why this restaurant gets the accolades it deserves. In Jahdre they have one of the best chefs around & under the guidance of Amanda & Anne the front of house team are so friendly and professional. So don’t delay and book a table today you will not be disappointed. I’ll probably be back in a couple of weeks for another fantastic visit 

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The Five Fields

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This was a long overdue return to The Five Fields but I have to say it was definitely worth the wait as it turned out to be a truly fabulous evening. We’ve been here twice before but the last time was over two and a half years ago and I can honestly say it won’t be anywhere near as long before we’re back again.

Set just off the Kings Road and only a short walk from Sloane Square tube station is where you’ll find the restaurant. As you enter the restaurant you immediately get a lovely homely feeling along with a warm and very friendly greeting. As you look into the dining area you see the tables down each side are set out for couples where each person faces inwards. There are larger tables down the centre plus upstairs is a Private Dining Room.

Once seated we were treated to a delightful glass of Welsh Sparkling Rose from the Ancre Hill Estates. We also enjoyed some amazing snacks while we looked at the menu. On this occasion, we decided to opt for the eight-course Tasting Menu. It was then time to meet the wonderful sommelier Anna who it was a pleasure to chat to throughout the evening. Regarding our choice of wine, we said that we would like to just have a bottle than the matched wine option to which Anna recommended a fabulous Riesling Trocken from Germany which was an absolute delight and really matched each course nicely.

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Now onto the food itself and we started with a stunning Scallop with Tomatillo & Lime this was followed by a heavenly Lobster with Fennel & Lardo. These dishes were brought to us by our Spanish waitress Lourdes who was so friendly and professional and truly added to our magical evening The next two courses were equally fantastic.

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The first being an amazing Beef Tartare with Mushroom followed by a simply stunning Foie Gras with a Beetroot Brioche & Blackberries Before we got to the main course we had the pleasure of a beautiful Turbot dish which came with Seaweed & Garlic So now it was time for the mains to which there was a choice of two. One being Roe Deer served with Courgette & Potato and the other was Grouse which came with Pumpkin & Girolles. We decided to have one dish each and can honestly say they were both worthy of being the highlight dish of the evening as they were just amazing Before dessert we decided to opt for a cheese course which apart from one French cheese the rest were British & Irish. The cheese was nicely presented to us by our delightful waitress Lourdes.

 

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We then had a pre-dessert which was a fabulous Melon with Hazelnut & Orange. This led us into our last course a delightful dessert of Honey, Lemon & Tarragon and the Sweet Wine chosen by Anna a Vouvray from the Loire Valley matched the dessert beautifully. This brought an end to an outstanding evening where the food, wine and service were of the highest order and will definitely go down as one of the highlights of the year.

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Therefore I would highly recommend that you put a visit to this restaurant very close to the top of your list and as I said at the beginning it certainly won’t be very long before I return

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Restaurant Ynyshir’s Chef Patron Gareth Ward to Cook at The Twenty Six

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Chef Patron at Ynyshir Restaurant, Gareth Ward in a one-off event at The Twenty Six  

A “one night only” nine-course tasting menu event will take place on 17th September, at The Twenty Six in Tunbridge Wells.

Gareth’s menus at Ynyshir reflect seasonal availability of Welsh and British ingredients from both sea and land, including Dyfi Valley Welsh lamb, wild deer, duck and partridge, foraged sea herbs at Ynyslas beach and wild garlic in the Cumbrian mountains. Ynyshir is a Michelin star, four AA rosette restaurant with rooms, and is number 12 in The Good Food Guide 2018

Cooking at The Twenty Six, Gareth and his team will create a dining experience to showcase Ynyshir, that takes guests on a creative journey through Wales and the British Isles over a nine-course tasting menu

With only 26 places available for this exclusive culinary night, it’s certainly not one to be missed.
When: September 17th,  2017 – guests to arrive at 7.30 for drinks, to be seated for dinner at 8 pm. Served in one sitting for dinner on a long communal table to 26 guests
Tickets: £60 per person.  Reservations are open on www.thetwenty-six.co.uk or call The Twenty Six on 01892 544607 to book. A deposit will be taken at the time of booking.
Where: The Twenty Six, 15a Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 0RX

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Lympstone

Chef’s Table talk with Chef Michael Caines MBE

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Chef Michael Caines grew up near Exeter where his parents, who were school teachers recognised his early interest in food and cooking and set him on his way to a culinary career. Following two years of catering college, an Exeter chef sent him to the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. He was then recommended to Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire, for whom he had to do a three-day trial without pay. Three years later, Blanc arranged for him to cook at the Michelin three-star Cote d’Or in Burgundy. He cooked there for 15 months before moving to another three-star establishment, Restaurant Jamin, in Paris.

Michael’s career to date has been well documented, through to becoming Head Chef at Gidleigh Park Hotel in Devon.

Early In 2017, Michael opened Lympstone Manor, a luxury boutique hotel and restaurant set in Parkland overlooking the river Exe near Exmouth, Devon. He describes Lympstone as “the realisation of a dream, my vision of country house hospitality for the 21st Century”. This has been a very personal project for him and one that has seen him involved in every detail. From the first vines being planted to establish a vineyard in the estate to produce, in three years time, a house champagne-method sparkling wine.

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We asked Michael about his continued involvement in catering for the Williams Formula 1 team.

Q: You have spent a couple of seasons working with the Williams F1 team, in particular in Monaco… how much fun was that and what was Monaco in 2017 like?

A: Being anywhere with Williams F1 is amazing but Monaco is the best. This year I was able to cook on a yacht for Williams and go to their VIP party, along with attending events on the Financial Times yacht. I was also invited to Martini’s VIP party which was a brilliant evening. We have also just held a charity event with Williams here at the manor.

 

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Q: Which restaurant would you like to go to? (that you have not had opportunity to visit)

A: I would like to visit Japan, there are many restaurants there I would like to try in particular  Sukiyabashi Jiro in Tokyo and Hujime in Osaka.

 

Q: Japanese cuisine sometimes includes ingredients we may not be familiar with, Is there a food you would not eat?

A: Bugs, or anything very obscure like a form of testicles or spiders.

Q: What would be your last dish (to eat) “the death row question”

A: I would make this the longest meal ever, most probably a tasting menu which included a seafood platter to start followed by roast chicken with a combination of summer fruits and sorbet to finish.

Q: If you could change any misconceptions about restaurants/food, what would they be?

A: I view food like it is an elite sport, great food, and food wealth is what it’s about. Not about the expense but how well it is cooked and how good it is. There is plenty of places that have great food and are cheaper. It’s to do with the combination of flavours and spices.

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Q: What is your favourite dish at Lympstone Manor in which you use produce from your most local supplier?

A: There is a number at present, however Jacobs Lamb, boulangerie & confit shoulder, pea puree and tapenade jus, the lamb is from Powderham Castle, which we can see from our terrace.

Q: If you could invite any Chef past or present to cook alongside you for one night who would that be and why?

A: Keith Floyd because he is a legend.

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Favourite Tables were delighted to include Lympstone Manor on our Unique Destinations pages and wondered what you would consider as your own favourite tables….

Firstly Zuma in London because of its fusion of Japanese cooking and Asian styled foods, and then  The Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Raymond Blanc – it is my favourite country house hotel, the food and experience is exceptional.

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Typing Room

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A great Menu inspired by Lee Westcott with perfectly matched wines from sommelier Fred Marti together with excellent service this was indeed a fantastic dining experience.

 

A lovely friendly welcome and a nice glass of champagne while we looked at the menu and as in previous visits we chose the Tasting Menu but this time we also chose to have matching drinks I say drinks because it was a mixture of wine & saki .

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After having some delightful snacks came the first highlight the fantastic IPA Sourdough bread with Marmite butter I’ll just say it’s amazing. Then came the first course of Dorset Char an absolute delight this was followed by the signature Cauliflower dish it’s just unbelievable what you can do with this vegetable.

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This was followed by the highlight of th e Menu of Cod , calpots , chicken & black garlic such a fantastic dish next was the main course of Pork Collar , hospital cabbage & baked apple simply delicious. We then went for the cheese course it was a lovely selection of cheese which was matched with a Plum Saki .

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Finally dessert of Sheeps yoghurt, apple & dill which finished a truly great meal. All the staff were very friendly & professional making our lunch very memorable & already thinking of returning very soon.

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I do like the open kitchen and it’s amazing that despite so much going on to produce amazing food the kitchen was so quiet. I would definitely recommend a visit if you like modern food cooked to perfection & some great wine & service

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Cafe Spice Namaste

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We had a fantastic Indian meal at Cafe Spice Namaste in east London and its so different to your local restaurant. We experienced such an amazing array of stunning Indian flavours and spices that enhanced each dish. On arrival you get a nice friendly greeting then you get to see the menu and believe me you want to order everything as it all sounds fantastic. We in the end decided to go for the Tasting Menu which includes 3 glasses of wine and we were also told that it is actually unlimited food, so when you say stop they will then serve you Dessert to finish.

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The exciting thing is that you don’t know what dishes you will be getting until it arrives, which to us was a great idea. We managed to survive 10 courses before surrendering and having Dessert .

So it all started with popadoms & dips followed by Samosa , potato cake , fish fingers , a sweet and crunchy rice , duck , chicken , prawns with spinach , salmon and cheese then to curry dishes of chicken and finally lamb that forced us into submission so we’re then served dessert to finish. This was a delightful spicy creme brûlée.

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Most of the dishes were brought to us by our very friendly waitress Martina . I have to say I will definitely recommend a visit and I will be returning soon to sample more of Cyrus Todiwala’s dishes and those amazing flavours

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Midsummer House

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Well what can I say other than this was a magical evening and emphasised the reason why Midsummer House is my favourite Michelin Star restaurant. Such a fantastic warm and friendly welcome on our arrival that made us feel right at home straight away.

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We were first served a lovely homemade Gin & Tonic which was lovely. We decided to have the 8 Course Tasting Menu to which we were asked if we’d like to see the Menu or be surprised we decided to be surprised. So firstly the Amuse Bouches were a delight before moving to the first course a Pumpkin Veloute then Braised Pork Knuckle & Raclette Cheese simply stunning followed by a fantastic Scallop dish

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Then came the signature course of Roast Quail with Shallot Purée & Sour Dough simply Devine then came a delightful Monkfish course then I have to say my favourite course which was Venison accompanied by amazing Venison sausage rolls

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Before Dessert we chose to have a Cheese course and they had the most wonderful Cheese trolley

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Now on to my favourite part of any meal Desserts and both were fantastic firstly the Aerated Pear with Blueberry then the Passion Fruit,Yoghurt Sorbet & Dark chocolate then when you think you can’t eat anymore outcome the treats some amazing Doughnuts and Chocolates.

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I would like to thank the Sommelier for a fantastic selection of matching wines that just went perfectly with every course also to every member of staff who’s service was exceptional. I hope that Midsummer House soon gets a third Michelin Star because based on this visit they certainly deserve them.

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The Artichoke Restaurant – Amersham

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This was the first time we’ve been here for an evening and what an excellent dining experience it was . A very warm and friendly greeting on arrival then escorted to our table to let the festivities begin. We decided to go for the Tasting Menu with matching Wines and I have to say it was heaven.

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Starting with a fantastic Trout dish then an amazing Crab Thermidor followed by a delightful Artichoke dish and stunning Cod course then on to the main courses and my highlight a glorious Venison with orange curd and the braised Beef which was very rich .

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The matching wines were a delight coming from Italy,Hungary,Austria,South Africa and France. Now to dessert a fabulous Poached Pear Galette and a Cambridge Cream & Rhubbarb .

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All in all it was truly a fantastic evening which was made even better due to the great warm and excellent service from every member of staff . So if it’s a fantastic evening with amazing food and wine in a great little town then take a trip to Amersham and visit this restaurant. I’m already looking forward to returning in June

 

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