Marcus at The Berkeley is a delicious escapade. Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing ingeniously uses ancillary ingredients to stretch and redefine our memories of core staples like smoked salmon, roast halibut and roast lamb. The range of flavours and how they work together within the dish will absorb you into an exciting culinary adventure. The space has a modernised British classic design. It is a venue for the big occasions as well as more casual get-togethers with its sharp and attentive service. One of a handful of children friendly Michelin star restaurants in London.
What is the food like?
Delicious escapade. Celebrity chef Marcus Wareing is no stranger to culinary accolades having held at least one Michelin-star since 1996. Even after all these years, at Marcus at The Berkeley, there is no sign of complacency. Together with Head Chef Craig Johnston and Sous Chef Jack Hazell, the dishes on the menu are a showcase of their evolving creativity mindset. The ingenious use of ancillary ingredients to stretch and redefine our memories of core staples like smoked salmon, roast halibut and roast lamb is enviable. The range of flavours and how they work together within the dish will absorb you into an exciting culinary adventure.
How is the drinks selection?
Commanding. As expected, there is a hefty selection available across all price range. The sommelier has helpfully listed out his/her recommendation at the front section of the menu. A fair spread from Old and New World options. Wine by the glass ranges from £16 for a 2018 Furmint from Oreg Kiral Dulo Mad from Tokaji in Hungary to £85 for a 2015 Sassicaia from Tenuta San Guido from Bolgheri in Italy.
What is the place like?
Modernised British classic. Marcus worked with Robert Angela Design International (robertangelldesigninternational.com) to deliver his vision of relaxed formality here in his flagship restaurant. With low dim lighting, chocolate leather Chesterfield sofa, handcrafted by bespoke furniture producer Ben Whistler (benwhistler.com) and dark tiled walls, the space exudes a mature English masculine feel. It is lighten up with a white ceiling with modern light fittings and modernised by contemporary art pieces. Creating a venue for the big occasions as well as more casual get-togethers.
Marcus has two special Private Dining rooms. A chef’s table that seats up to 10 guests as well as The Salon that seats up to 16 guests on a long rounded-end table.
Who are the patrons?
Predominantly established gentlemen and their lady companion, presumably due to the mature masculine decor. Patrons are mostly in smart casual but a tuxedo won’t be out of place in this grand space.
How was the service?
Sharp and attentive. We were well looked after by Nadine, Equardo and another gentleman throughout the evening. They were pleasant, confident and eager to please. Request for wedges of lime for sparkling water was executed promptly. Wine and water glasses were regularly topped up.
Is it child friendly?
Just about. Children aged seven and over are welcome, which is a touch more generous than most Michelin-starred restaurant. But there are no children menu. Having said that, a request for an activity book for a restless nine year old was promptly attended to from the hotel.
Is it dog friendly?
Decent. At £140 for a seven-course tasting menu, it is at the top end of the price range. But it is a classy venue and you are paying for a celebrity chef. Though the portions are generous for a tasting menu (and delicious), you aren’t getting expensive ingredients like truffle, caviar nor foie gra.
The restaurant charges an additional 13.5% service charge.
See below for what my dining companions and I indulged in for this review when we visited in February 2022 (prices quoted include VAT):
2018 Altos Las Hormigas Uco Valley Malbec Reserve (Do not recommend)
A medium bodied red from a producer known as the Malbec specialist in Argentina. Deep red in colour with aroma of raspberry and chocolate on the nose. A bit wishy washy on the palate with limited structure. £120++
2016 Pacherenc-du-Vic-Bilh, “Saint Albert”, Domaine Plaimont (Strongly recommend)
from South West of France. Beautiful golden colour. Orange and strawberry notes on the nose. Great balance of acidity and sweetness on the palate. A gorgeous dessert wine. £16.50++
7-course Tasting Menu, £140++
0a. Coppa ham with fennel seeds and honey (Recommend)
Tasty rich dry cured pork neck with intense marbling. Interestingly served with licorice fennel seed and sweet honey. Unique and it works.
0b. Cheese balls with onion crumbles (Recommend)
Good texture – crunchy on the outside and stretchy on the inside. A touch lacking on the punch from the cheese.
1. Burrata, black olive, macadamia nut, rosemary milk bread (Strongly recommend)
An exciting multi-dimensional dish with a variety of textures and flavours that wakes up your senses. There is sweetness from the sugar swirl, there is savouriness from the olives and black garlic, there is crunchiness from the Macadamia nuts and there is soft milky burrata at the heart of it. Love the playfulness. Felt we were having sweet and savoury popcorn at one point. The rosemary milk bread with black sesame was soft and fluffy, but wasn’t sure if it was necessary to complement the dish.
2. Cured Loch Duart salmon, heritage beetroot, pickled onion, horseradish (Strongly recommend)
The star of the show. The delicate flavours and texture from the chunky cured salmon was refined on its own. But it was sensational when enjoyed together with the sweet and sour pickled beetroot, pickled onion, a green herb oil and the mildly spicy horseradish. Beautiful splash of colours from the liquid nitrogen freeze-dried horseradish and pickled beetroot crumbs.
3. Confit double smoked pork belly, quince, grape mustard, black garlic (Recommend)
The pork belly was tender and juicy, but a touch salty. Truly enjoyed the trio of unique sauces of grape mustard, quince puree and black garlic. They all have a varying degree of sweet, savoury and sour that complemented well with the pork. The pork crackling didn’t cut it for us, it was like having an oily Quavers without the cheese.
4. Gigha halibut, Delica pumpkin, cornish mussel, pickled onions, lemon butter (Strongly recommend)
The halibut was a touch overdone, but the dazzling lemon butter sauce carried this dish to the podium. It was light, refreshing but yet packed with punches. The mashed pumpkin added sweetness and the trumpet mushroom added earthy flavour to the celebration of flavours.
5. Herdwick lamb best end, homemade ricotta, glazed celeriac, chimichurri (Strongly recommend)
A fitting finale to the main dishes. The lamb was cooked perfectly. It was tender and tasty. Instead of the traditional pairing with mint sauce, chef is asking us to try it with tangy and refreshing chimichurri as well as sweet caramelised celeriac and creamy ricotta cheese. It has worked charmingly.
6. Clementine and tequila (Recommend)
A pleasant palate cleanser. Refreshing and sour clementine mousse, tequila sorbet, orange sherbet with liquid nitrogen freeze-dried orange on a sablé biscuit. Children’s version were made with pineapple sorbet instead of tequila.
7. 61% Chocolate crémeux, 33% Tanariva chocolate nougat, salted caramel mousse, peanut (Strongly recommend)
The other star of the show and it is worth the wait. Another adventurous multi-dimensional dish. Thoroughly enjoyed the playful union of crunchy, crispy, wafer and soft textures. Fell in love with the delicious amalgamation of sweet, salty and bitter chocolates. A true perfection.