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With a new 10-year contract at The Berkeley in the bag, Marcus Wareing has revamped and rebranded his flagship dining room as MARCUS, but don’t come here expecting a radical shake-up. Tables are
still dressed with spotless linen and aristocratic wines are still expertly decanted – although the austere maroon colour scheme has given way to soft greens and chestnut browns, and (smart) staff
have been instructed to adopt a more upbeat American attitude (with varying levels of conviction). Menus have also been refreshed, so it’s now possible to have a couple of courses if you don’t
fancy a tasting-menu blowout – though, as before, the food is about precision and playfulness, matching formidable technical prowess with bold Anglo-French flavours: deeply flavoured Anjou pigeon
accompanied by a pair of deep-fried legs for handheld nibbling; a subtle riff on clean-tasting scallops with cauliflower and cucumber; a beautifully balanced dish involving sweetbreads, lettuce,
pea and ham that looks set to become a classic; or a clever spin on warm chocolate with salted caramel ice cream. We’ve always been fans of Wareing’s achievements at The Berkeley and this reboot
shows he is evolving with the times – although we’re not sure it’s actually an improvement on what went before.
A classic selection but an exceptionally good one, sommelier Michael Deschamps has managed to put together an awesome range of wines without succumbing to the temptation simply to buy anything that looks expensive. As well as some terrific wines from classic French regions, there are flashes of inspiration from Spain and California as well that give it real personality, as well as bling.
Two Michelin starred Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley Hotel recently underwent an extensive refurb including, a name change to Marcus, in the hope of making it a much more relaxed affair. We had a brilliant lunch there a couple of years ago so when I received an invitation to review the new place, I jumped at the chance.The new look Marcus was a rather attractive one; it felt far less austere than it used to be. Gone were the purple felt walls and the champagne trolley and instead were bare tables (possibly too bare?) with crisp white tablecloths, dark wood panelled walls and plenty of natural light...
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I used to go to that Marcus Wareing place in the Berkeley Hotel when it was a dead posh gaff, with its dark velvet walls and more waiters than you could shake a stick at, not that I’m in the business of shaking sticks at waiters. It was proper faine daining, with its two glittering Michelin stars, fabulous wine waiter and gloriously camp sweetie-chariot, from which you could choose a little going-home present, the demise of which causes deep sadness to this day.And some truly memorable meals there, mostly dinners, including a brilliant dish of cauliflower, seven ways and a pasta dish with vegetables embedded like fossilised ferns, pretty as a picture. I loved MW for that vegetarian menu and they always remembered that I was, (was, note) and that care in all things (as well as THE TART, of which more later) was one of the reasons that I was, for years a regular visitor...
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