Yesterday I ate a golden egg. When I was told I would be eating said golden egg, I did think I was in for a most unexpected adventure that would have a few Willy Wonka twists involved along the way. I, of course, know Claridge’s is one of the best hotels in the world, but I didn’t expect that their latest culinary adventure, Fera, would involve a mythical golden egg. I guess dreams really do come true here.
When first reading about Fera at Claridge’s, in all honesty, I had no idea what to expect. “Fera” is latin for “wild animal,” and this food was anything but tame, that’s for sure. However, they aren’t making reference to any one wild beast, with the name, but rather food that comes from the “wild”- Simon’s wild. The food served at Fera at Claridge’s is sourced from Simon’s farms in the UK. It doesn’t get much fresher, folks, and we do certainly live in a society now where farm-to-table is celebrated above all else.
Fera’s head chef, Simon Rogan, has managed to create a menu that showcases the most beautiful, and flavorsome creations, all inspired by nature. Most of the combinations are of another world, another time, and the menu reads more like a science experience than a culinary one. Yet, with each bite I find myself thanking the universe for a visionary like Simon Rogan, who will take risks with ingredients that will pay dividends for years to come. And of course, the restaurant has already been recognized as a forcefield in food with the recent awarding of a Michelin star.
Our lunch lasted for hours on the day – perhaps not the intention of every guest in the 90 seat restaurant- but we took our time enjoying every bite, paired perfectly with carefully chosen wines. No detail was left to chance. The serving of dishes was like watching a perfectly timed orchestra and each new wine was delivered with a beautiful story of production. This was definitely as much of a show as the diner wishes it to be and the men and women attending to your table make that distinction quite swiftly. I was there for a show and I wanted every morsel of information they could provide on the dishes being served. Others around us were content to sit, enjoy the company of their diners and let the dishes roll out as they may. Call me old fashioned, but I do believe knowing everything about the plate in front of you makes each and every bite that much more fantastic. In my opinion, you should ask for the pomp and circumstance.
In total, I was served 10 different dishes at lunch while in residence with Fera at Claridge’s. Each was just as good as the last, truly. It felt wrong to give any one dish all my attention, so I thought I’d share each and every one here with you today. As well as being a tastebud delight, they were also all picture ready, begging out to the camera for attention – and I answered with constant flashes. Enjoy.
Stewed Rabbit with lovage
Smoked Roe and Red Cabbage
Mackerel, Oyster and Seaweed
Golden Yolk with Razor Clams
Aynsome soup of mixed leaves, mustard, eel, soft herbs and flowers
Butter Poached Lobster, artichoke, sea herbs, calf sweetbread
Cornish Lamb, collard greens, beetroot, white onion and hyssop
Belted Galloway beef fillet, lettuce, mushroom, pickled
Chocolate malt nitro, prune and dandelion
And naturally, there was wine paired with every course.
We drank the following (all were delicious- all worth trying!):
Jacques Lassaigne ‘Vignes de Montgueux’, Aube
Cotes du Jara Chardonnay ‘La Reine’, Julien Labot 2011
Santa Barbara Chardonnay ‘Los Alamos’, Gavin Chanin 2012
Chateauneuf du Pape, Domaine de Villeneuve 2010
Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Joseph Swan 2010
Jurancon ‘Marie Kattalin’, Domaine de Souch 2011
After all that wine, coffee gave me the strength to get up and walk away. Trust me when I declare I could have stayed in this culinary heaven forever.
Pictures taken with the Olympus Pen. FFG is an ambassador for Olympus in the UK.