A towering room of mahogany panels, gleaming architrave, deep-pile carpets and plush, peppermint-leather seating attended by battalions of suited staff; MARCUS (the restaurant) is as imposing as Mr Wareing’s culinary reputation – and “totally worth it”, according to one of its many fans.
Readers are rightly enamoured of the “stunning food” and “sensational, seasonal dishes” on offer in this patrician hotel dining room, although current chef-patrons Mark and Shauna Froydenlund (long-serving Wareing alumni) are starting to make their mark on proceedings with many new ideas fleshing out the already fascinating repertoire.
One reader’s “excellent lunch taster menu” yielded sourdough crumpets with cockle butter, turf-smoked trout with wild leek and sorrel oil, then slow-cooked rib of beef with braised onions and wild garlic, all culminating in Mr Wareing’s genre-defining Lancashire custard tart complete with a perfect wobble.
The fuller tasting menu is similarly appealing and eminently approachable, as in rack, loin and confit belly of Herdwick lamb with heritage beetroot and girolles or a pairing of Dorset snails, turbot and razor clams with Delica pumpkin – typical of the kitchen’s tried-and-tested take on cracking produce. To finish, there might be a salted milk chocolate ‘aero’ with honeycomb or a wizard take on peaches and cream presented, cheekily, in an open tin can.
Dining at MARCUS is undoubtedly a top-end experience designed to impress, although staff are nonetheless discreet and attentive, creating a “relaxed atmosphere” that “makes you feel nothing can go wrong in the world”. A thick wine list excels when it comes to big-name producers, while pairings show the sommeliers at their passionate best.