Ooh, D and me went to Fera, Claridges, last weekend for D’s birthday meal and totally fab it was.
First off, we went alone because I was a little worried about access … and I lied to D – a habitual late arriver – about the time of our booking. If I’m worried about access, I need time to settle myself not to be panicking about being late.
My ploy worked and we arrived with just about enough time for me to get out – on the opposite pavement to Claridges which is on a one-way road that didn’t work in my favour – and negotiate two pavement drops and a, bumpy, road crossing. Grr, London roads and pavements! Anyway, with no time panic, it went reasonably okay and, alongside the entry steps I was worrying about, Claridges have a door with a level entrance and manageable slope to facilitate wheelchair access. Result, and only one bin and luggage trolley to negotiate.
The door to Fera was too narrow for my – huge – electric wheelchair but there was another level entrance to the side so, no problem, and, with our current penchant for early suppers, we were able to settle at our table without feeling like a massive disruption to everyone else. Love that.
Loved the food, the room, the staff, the relaxed vibe too. Loved it all. Uber-trendy, no-booking, fast-turnaround restaurants are just not me anymore. Been there, done that. This is my favourite kind of dining: calm, relaxed, chilled bubbles in hand and with dish after dish of tasty morsels to tempt us … okay, I’ve jumped ahead, I know.
Dialling back … we decided to try the £105 tasting menu. It was our first time eating at a Simon Rogan restaurant – he is known for l’Enclume in Cartmel, a restaurant we haven’t been able to get to. His reputation is based on natural organic ingredients and the foraging of edible herbs and wild flowers and we wanted to try it all.
We did, or as much as we were able. I could bore you with graphic food details but who needs it? Click across to Fera, read the menus or google search the multitude of reviews if you’d like this.
For me, well, I’d say, the portions on the tasting menu were generally bite-size and small – a good thing to my mind with so much to try – but, I confess, it was still a dessert and a cheese course too far for me – D polished off my spare dessert and the cheese!
There were plenty of food wows. The melt-in-the-mouth ‘pouf’ of the Puffed barley, smoked eel, watercress; the spectacular crunch and flavour of delicious mini-cucumber flowers in the Aynsome soup, mustard cream, soft herbs and flowers; wonderfully cooked lobster with sunny golden beetroot; beautiful wooden salad bowls containing grilled over embers salad with Isle of Mull, truffle custard, sunflower seeds; and, the sweet, fresh delight of Hampshire strawberries with sweet woodruff and linseeds.
It was all food-scrumptiousness matched by the delights of the other essential elements of the experience – the gorgeous dishes, cutlery, glassware; pink champagne, petits fours to die for, the service. Yes, lots of staff but charming, knowledgeable and not too obtrusive. I like the room – big spacious tables, calming browns and green, smart but not overly fussy.
It was a great evening. Expensive? Of course. £300 for two with not a lot of alcohol, glasses not bottles. But you don’t come to a restaurant offering all of this in Central London and not expect that, do you?
If, like me and D, you are unable to zip away for holidays and you are happy to replace weekends away with wonderful evenings of spectacular home town foodie experiences or if you are ridiculously wealthy and money is no object, this is a brilliant place to try.
Fera, Claridges. Enjoy.