I love a good dessert.
Marcus Wareing supposedly makes the best. At least that’s what Harden’s, The Sunday Times and Remy Martin think.
On this year’s Sunday Times Food list his restaurant did not take any of the top spots, but he received a special prize for the best dessert. Sweet.
Walking into The Berkley immediately you feel like a bit of a celebrity. The restaurant itself is nice as well. The lighting is good and it feels elegant yet quite intimate. But still you do get a little bit the feeling that you are in a hotel restaurant.
There is a range of different tasting menus to choose from as well as à la carte. We went for the “Seasons of Britain“ menu paired with British wines - partly because this one included Marcus’ famous custard tart.
And British wines? Well, let’s see. If they serve them here, they can’t be too bad.
On the menu it looked like “Seasons of Britain” only included three courses, but as always there’s an amuse bouche, a pre-dessert, lovely bread, so we surely didn’t walk out hungry.
The first full course was lobster and broccoli. I was really looking forward to that, we haven’t had lobster on any of the menus so far. And it was nice, but not quite as fantastic as I had hoped. We’ve had crab or langoustine at some of the other places that were nicer in consistency and flavour. A good dish though, with broccoli cooked in three different ways and a nice sauce – soft flavours that allowed you to still taste the lobster.
We then had the grouse with truffle, kale, Pink Fir Apple potatoes and bread sauce. Very strong flavours, the grouse was quite gamey, but I really enjoyed it.
I’m becoming a big fan of kale as well. Overall just a really lush autumnal dish.
And now it was time for dessert, the moment I’d been waiting for, the custard tart.
What we got though didn’t look like a tart at all. Oh, a pre-dessert! Horlicks, honey, whiskey. Really lovely. An ice cream filled pastry in whiskey foam and little pieces of honey jelly. Made me look forward even more to the famous custard tart.
Then it came, the tart, accompanied by a glass of British sparkling wine. The consistency was absolutely perfect, the custard dissolving as soon as it touched your tongue, a beautiful pastry. But the best British dessert? Nah. I thought it was a bit bland. It might be though that I’m not British enough for it. I’d never had custard tart, I didn’t really know what to expect, I didn’t have memories of eating grandma’s custard tart as a kid. My partner had those and thought it was divine.
Overall the food was very good, but will the night stand out amongst the others? Probably not for the food.
For the British wines? Perhaps. They were surprisingly good. The key word though is probably “surprisingly”. The expectations weren’t very high, but the wines were actually really tasty, especially the Ridgeview sparkling rosé that came with dessert.
What the night will definitely stand out for is the service. The staff was very friendly.
The lovely lady with the Champagne trolley, who seemed to like gin more than the sparkling she was offering and joined us in lamenting that the restaurant didn’t stock Hendricks or any of the really good gins.
The waiter that honestly seemed to want to know if we enjoyed the meal and then engaged with us in a conversation about all the other places we had been to and the ones that he would recommend.
The sommelier was a bit of a lecturer, but as we were having British wines, I actually thought this was quite interesting. And we even got a personal tour of the kitchen from the maître d'.
Marcus wasn’t around at that moment. But I bumped into Roger Federer on the way to the loo, which added the little celebrity factor that you expect when dining at The Berkley.
A bit of a blunder though came with the bill. They overcharged us by £80 and when questioned on it didn’t seem to understand their own bill, leaving us to explain the prices on the menu and do the math.
It ended up coming to £285. Not too bad.
And we left with four little bags of chocolate truffles.
Would I go again? Not sure. Maybe for the lunch menu which seems to be excellent value for money.
Three more restaurants to go. Need to make the next booking.