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A (relatively) brief lunchtime carte is another
concession to the location, though anyone who
has eaten at L'Enclume will know that multi-course
tasting menus are the way to go - particularly
when the line-up includes dense whipped potato
and salty Winslade cheese studded with springy
diced duck heart or stewed rabbit frilled with
crisp ribbons of batter (bunny bhaji, anyone?).
Other memorable avour hits range from
a grilled salad with Isle of Mull cheese, true
custard and sunower seeds to garden-fresh pea
wafers with fennel and owers. In fact, it can sometimes seem that
there are more oral bouquets than you'll see on a Sunday morning
down Columbia Road market and enough herbs to make Culpeper
proud: raw prawns and lardo pointed up with borage; plaice braised
in nettle butter; chrysanthemum in a dish of asparagus.
There's no doubting the skill on show here, and several plates
were the sort of never-tasted-before creations that stop you in your
tracks. However we felt that avours were not sustained as vividly as
at L'Enclume and found ourselves wondering halfway
through the 16 small courses whether the dishes had
become duller or our palates had become dulled.
Perhaps the problem is that Rogan's style of food
still feels as if it has been transplanted from Cumbria
rather than tasting as if it has taken root in Mayfair.
As for the service, so many dierent sta kept
appearing at our table that it made sustained
conversation dicult. And then there is the cost,
which seems OTT even for Claridge's. Nonetheless,
we're convinced that Fera will get better with time.
KEY TO REVIEWS Prices are based on a two-course dinner (starter and main)
for one, including half a bottle of house wine, coffee, cover charge, service and
vegetables. Square Meal stars are awarded to favourite restaurants based on
the overall experience. Two and three stars are given (more selectively) to places
that truly capture the zeitgeist and bear comparison with the best in the world.
THE LAST WORD Thrilling con�rmation of Rogan's arrival in the international big league
As be�ts a high-pro�le eatery in a top
hotel, this list focuses on France and
contains some jaw-dropping rarities,
such as Pétrus 1982 for £8,000. But it
also o�ers plenty of choice and prices
to suit all pockets. BEST BUY Ruché di
Castagnole Monferrato 2012, Cascina
'Tavijn, Piedmont, Italy, £38.