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REVIEW: A TASTE OF AUTUMN AT MARCUS

Michelin-starred chef, new Masterchef: The Professionals judge and restaurateur extraordinaire, Marcus Wareing has created a delicious and colourful new autumnal lunch menu at his restaurant Marcus. The Resident tried it and suggests you do too…

Critics of Masterchef: The Professionals have commented on Marcus Wareing’s “stern”, “uptight” and even “cruel” character but we are inclined to disagree them. No really “cruel” man could create such a delicious, vibrant, flavoursome and good value menu as Marcus’ Wareing’s new five-course lunch menu, A Taste of Autumn (£75), being served at his restaurant Marcus at The Berkeley Hotel this month.

Still shiny from its recent refurb, the supremely stylish dining room at Marcus is a cosy place to hunker down to a hearty meal, which began with one of the most exquisite amuse bouche I’ve ever seen. Bright orange hues filled the plate of pumpkin agnolotti, artichoke, crispy seeds and pumpkin voluté. If you’ve ever wondered what to do with your pumpkin post-Halloween, this is it.

Next came widgeon risotto, with cabbage and pine nuts served in a carved wooden bowl that looked like it came straight off the set of Hook. As I scooped out the last remnants I wondered how well a food fight would go down at Marcus. Not well I decided, plus I wouldn’t want to waste a drop of the risotto. The gamey widgeon’s (a breed of duck) rich flavours cut through the creamy risotto creating a well-balanced dish that was packed with flavour.

Marcus Wareing's new autumn lunch menu at Marcus, The Berkeley Hotel

After the density of the starter, the Maldon cured salmon with beetroot and horseradish that came next was a refreshing follow on. Thick cuts of salty, smoky salmon were washed down with my favourite wine of the night a 2012 Voignier, Trinity Hill Gimblett Gravels from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand. It was full-bodied and rich with citrus and apricot flavours and brought out the best of the salmon.

For mains, choose between Herdwick lamb with polenta, cep and lemon or bacon collar, with split peas, parsley and suet dumplings. Having tried both, the lamb was a clear winner. The bacon itself was very tasty and the parsley sauce brought an interesting combination of flavours to the dish but it was a little too earthy for me, and the sauce reminded me of my morning green juice. The lamb on the other hand was divine. Large meaty cep mushrooms combined with little girolles made the dish look like a miniature woodland forest and the lamb was so tender and perfectly pink that my knife slide through it as if it were butter.

Marcus Wareing's new autumn lunch menu at Marcus, The Berkeley Hotel

The palette-awakening pineapple dessert

An autumnal meal wouldn’t be complete without cheese, and in traditional French style, it came before the dessert with a fruity chutney and nutty rye bread. Then, just when we thought we couldn’t eat another morsel, the prettiest dessert arrived. Actually it was technically two desserts. The first, a custard pudding with a scattering of spicy nutmeg, and the second, pineapple and brioche cubes with tiny meringues and coconut and lime sorbet. It was so refreshing and zingy it acted like an espresso and any chance of falling into a food coma was out the window – which is ideal if you happen to be enjoying this lunch with clients.

Tea, coffee and even a bag of chocolates to take home are included in the £75 price tag, along with matching wines, which is quite frankly a fantastic deal. So I say: “Thank you Mr Wareing, for your very kind offer”, there’s nothing cruel here. 

A Taste of Autumn is available until the end of November 2014, five courses with three matching wines costs £75 per person. marcus-wareing.com

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