The restaurant of a celebrity chef can bring a degree of hesitation with it; will it live up to the hype, or will expectations be left in tatters? MARCUS, we’re pleased to report, delivers on every level for an evening of pure indulgence. The key perhaps lies in the chef’s presence in the kitchen each week, when he works a regular service (apparently demanding silence to allow for complete concentration).
As a master of classic French cookery, you might expect Marcus Wareing’s eponymous restaurant to stick to tried-and-tested combinations, but the Michelin-starred chef plays with international influences to produce intricate and interesting plates of food that balance flavours and textures with precision.
A crab parfait came perfectly seasoned, lifted by the flavour of lemongrass and accompanied with a sweet, fragrant satay sauce while fat, sweet scallops were dressed with a sticky sauce of bone marrow and served with a Scandinavian-style smoked cod roe and crisped kale.
Mains of perfectly pink duck breast and cod with octopus were almost outshone by a side order of some stunning spuds. Gnarled and crisp on the outside, these torn hunks of potatoes were fluffy on the inside and cooked in beef fat for a nostalgic roast dinner flavour and served with sour cream and truffle.
Given that this is no place for restraint, dessert and drinks aren’t to be missed. The wine list is, as might be expected, a robust yet approachable list of bottles that ranges from drinks by the glass through to eye-wateringly expensive Champagnes. For pudding, the tarte Tatin comes highly recommended by the gracious hosts who carefully look after each guest. Served tableside and sliced up between two, it seduces with the rich caramel notes of near-burned sugar.
There’s no happier sound than the happy hum of diners and in the low-lit comfortable space at MARCUS, such a noise fills the room. Everything about the experience is for the pleasure of guests, which is exemplified in the range of menu options on offer; from tasting and set menus to à la carte options, this is flexible fine dining.