Fera at Claridge’s

Dinner – Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I really don’t know too much about Simon Rogan – he made his name at L’Enclume, and partnered with Claridge’s to open Fera in a space formerly occupied by Gordon Ramsay. We did, however, meet Anthony Rush, Rogan’s designated right-hand at Fera, this past May at a preview dinner for his forthcoming restaurant (with Chris Kajioka) in Hawaii. We were suitably impressed by his food, and to cut a long story short that is how we found ourselves here, on our last evening in London.

Cheese wafer, shallot jam, onion powder
The crisp, delicate wafers tasted very much like salt-and-vinegar potato chips  – assertive and (highly) addictive.

Pumpkin pebble, sheep’s yogurt, mint

Stewed rabbit, onion-tapioca crumb, lovage
Rabbit meat was wrapped in a fried coating and set upon a lovage puree – a bar snack on steroids. I loved the fresh, celery-like notes of the puree.

Smoked eel cigar, horseradish emulsion
The eel was wrapped in a thin potato skin rolled in seaweed powder – creamy within crispy. We dipped the cigars into the horseradish emulsion, itself dusted with burnt hay powder – a double dose of smokiness. Very good.

Tunworth cheese mousse, duck hearts, garlic chives

Poached scallop, maitake, winter herbs, sunchoke broth
Wow! An absolutely world-class dish! I believe this was supposed to be a recipe in testing, but it was easily our favourite of the evening. The heady broth, combined with bits of sunchoke that played against their scallop and mushroom neighbours, and the peppery bite of the winter herbs – superb.

Raw veal
Shiso, quince, kohlrabi, smoked mustard emulsion

Calcots
Mussel cream, smoked yolk, chicken skin, black garlic

Another highlight of the dinner for me – I love calcots. Here, they were accompanied by crispy chicken skin for texture, and a thick, nearly-set yolk laid upon a smear of black garlic puree. A terrific winter dish.

Halibut, butternut squash, spinach, yogurt
Pork lardo, cracklings and jowl

Roe deer, caramelized cauliflower
Red chicory, smoked beets, black trumpet mushrooms

English cheeses, marmalade, pickled shallots

Sheep’s yogurt mousse, lemon-rapeseed cake
Honey, juniper, tarragon, white chocolate

The tarragon ice cream stole our hearts away. The cake was excellent as well , particularly with the light-as-air mousse and a crumble of white chocolate. The juniper, present as a gin-and-tonic agar, I found strange.

Salted chocolate cream
Bergamot nitro ice, pink grapefruit puree, rosemary crisp

Verjus-tarragon pâte de fruit
Chocolate, cinnamon and apple truffle

Simon Rogan was in residence on this night – he reportedly spends a significant amount of time at Fera. During a post-dinner tour of the back-of-house, we were shown his new test kitchen, installed in a discrete (and discreet) area. There was certainly no shortage of high-end equipment, and there were a plethora of ingredients being pickled, dehydrated, infused, etc. I’m curious to see how the ideas generated from the test kitchen will trickle into the dining room – if they’re all as good as the scallop dish, London will need to watch out.

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