There are some wonderful brands in this country that are so historical and memorable that they become legends and achieve iconic status. Last week I was invited to lunch to enjoy the partnership of two of my favourite stylish icons…I couldn’t imagine a more luxurious way to spend a Friday lunch in London
Claridge’s is one of the most iconic hotels in London, and one of my absolute faves. The grand dame opened in 1856 and from humble beginnings rose to being the hotel of choice for royalty and Hollywood legends such as Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant and Bing Crosby. Spencer Tracey even said he’d rather go to Claridge’s than to heaven when he died.
I agree, I can’t imagine heaven being better than the art deco jewel that is Claridge’s. From the impeccably designed foyer adorned with glittering chandeliers, gilt mirrors and plush furnishing to the famed afternoon tea and zen-like spa… what more could heaven possibly offer ;). Claridge’s will never go out of style and nowadays the hotel is still a favourite of celebrities such as Kate Moss, Brad Pitt and Mick Jagger; I actually spotted Mariah Carey leaving the hotel once!
In 2014, Claridge’s replaced their main restaurant run by Gordon Ramsay with Fera at Claridge’s, led by renowned head chef Simon Rogan. Simon had received acclaim for his restaurant, L’Enclume in the Lake District, which has been awarded two Michelin stars and Fera (the Latin word for wild) received a star only four and a half months after opening.
Mr S and I visited the Michelin-starred restaurant before for our anniversary dinner and we loved the rustic feel of the restaurant space.
The tree in the middle of the restaurant represents Simon Rogan’s organic and natural take on cooking. The chef is both the owner of a farm and a forager himself and is totally committed to using fresh and local ingredients from his own farm as well as handpicked suppliers.
So I mentioned this post was about two icons…
The other being Laurent-Perrier, my favourite champagne and our fizz of choice for our wedding day.
Like Claridge’s, despite being so steeped in tradition, Laurent Perrier keeps up to the minute with trends and when I went to the masterclass at Taste of London the champagne flight was paired with Bob’s Lobster, a street food truck. I love the idea of pairing the luxury brand with the delicious street food and the combination worked so well.
For lunch today, Laurent Perrier had invited a group of bloggers to check out the summer menu from the Financial Times. Joining me for lunch were Alex and Janelle, representatives from Laurent-Perrier, as well as Lex, blogger at the The Lex Chapter, and Andrea from The Petite Cook….
…and Laura who I’ve got to know over my last year and a half of blogging.
The FT Weekend is celebrating their 30th anniversary by collaborating with Laurent-Perrier and twelve top London restaurants. Each restaurant is showcasing a bespoke summer menu between £38 to £55 including a glass of the signature LP Brut of course! Be sure to check out the full list of participants.
Our tasting menu began with a rosemary cracker topped with a deliciously tangy and creamy blue cheese mousse. I loved the way that the canapes were served on a piece of bark reflecting the natural and earthy themes running through the restaurant.
The next snack was stewed rabbit with lovage, I really enjoyed the succulent meat in a delicious crispy casing of onion tapioca and the lovage puree paired perfectly.
Simon’s foodie manifesto is the search for the perfect ingredient and with this pea mousse, cod and calamint amuse you can really appreciate that sentiment. The freshness and sweet taste of the peas were bought out beautifully and the bright green colour definitely indicated the quality of vegetable.
Next was salt baked turnip with slow cooked egg yolk, mustard leaf and black truffle with a turnip cream poured on top. A stunning combination of textures, earthy flavours and the richness of the egg. I loved the innovative way that the egg was cooked so it wasn’t entirely runny but it had a thicker consistency that balanced perfectly with the sauce.
When sumptuous thick wedges of bread were placed on the table I could smell the stout that it was infused with and the heady, beery scent was an extremely pleasant one.
My favourite dish of the day was cod with mussels, tomato, sea lettuce, grilled fennel and rapeseed. Cod is not one of my favourite fish as it can be a little dry but the fish flaked apart beautifully and it was the perfect pairing with the light and citrusy Laurent-Perrier Brut.
The main meat course was 55 dry-aged pork, grilled carrots, lettuce and nasturium. As I don’t like pork I had an alternative, though I do think it photographs rather nicely!
I was given a perfectly cooked and exquisitely seasoned beef alternative with beautifully marbled meat and a side of short rib.
The service here was perfection, as you may imagine in Claridge’s…when I asked to charge my phone a mobile charger was bought to the table, I misplaced my napkin and seconds later a new one appeared, water was topped up throughout and thorough explanations of the dishes were given. It made for a rather fantastic overall experience.
Next, a pre-dessert (and we all agreed how awesome the idea of a pre-dessert is!) of pears, honeycomb and lemon thyme. The sweet pear made a perfect palate cleanser and I loved the side of ‘snow.’
I was very pleased to have light dessert on a hot day and we were presented with strawberries, sweet cicely custard, buttermilk and sorrel. A taste of the English countryside!
After our dessert the restaurant manager asked if we’d like to go and see inside the kitchen, of course there was a resounding ‘yes.’
And to meet chef Dan Cox, currently running the kitchen for Simon Rogan, who has also worked in Thomas Keller’s Per Se and Heston’s Fat Duck.
Back at the table we received some jewel-like petite fours perched on a tree stump to conclude our perfect meal experience.
I had an incredible lunch at Claridge’s: eating Simon Rogan’s Michelin-starred food, sipping on Laurent-Perrier and meeting new and old friends…but somehow I had guessed it was going to be a good day!
The FT Weekend and Champagne Laurent-Perrier menus are available until 31st of July and are redeemable by quoting ‘FT LP Menu’ when booking. Some of my favourites such as LIMA, Pont St and Roka are participating and offering wonderful set menus.
Fera at Claridge’s
020 7107 8888