‘Shall we do something for our birthdays together this year’ came that What’s App message from Emma, blogger at Adventures of A London Kiwi.
‘Yes!’ was my reply and within about twenty minutes a plan was formed and a hashtag was coined #KiwiSpoonBirthday…
Formal invites were issued to our blogger besties and then all there was to do was to look forward to the big day. When it finally arrived everyone congregated at my flat for drinks before heading out to our chosen venue…
Emma and I don’t do things by halves and we’d chosen one of London’s best restaurants, two-Michelin starred MARCUS by chef Marcus Wareing, located in the luxurious Berkeley Hotel. And our glamorous companions for the day were Lauren, Aftab and Mina. I’ve become so close to all these bloggers and not a day goes by when we don’t have some form of contact, usually via what’s app. Carrying on as before we went ahead and ordered a bottle of champagne as an aperitif, opting for a crisp bottle of Champagne Billecart-Salmon.
With some foie gras, appropriately presented on silverspoons, we got started with looking at the menu. The hotel staff had actually already got into the birthday spirit and had left beautifully wrapped presents on the table for Emma and I containing Marcus Wareing’s own recipe book.
We had two choices, but we decided against the eight course menu, choosing the five course Taste of Autumn menu. At £49 it was very reasonably priced for a tasting menu at a two Michelin star restaurant and we went ahead and added the wine pairing with each course too.
The starter was a favourite of mine, a poached sea trout with trottolino pepper. I loved the texture of the trout achieved with the poaching method and it had the most perfect delicate taste. As Aftab doesn’t eat fish, the restaurant were able to substitute the vegetarian option from the alternative tasting menu.
Our next course was a delicious vegetarian option, a salt baked celeriac with a perfect crunch from the hazelnut and the rather heady addition of truffle.
Though I’ve been to this restaurant before, it has had a whole new look from its previous incarnation as Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley. The restaurant reopened with the simplified name of MARCUS in 2014, and with the name change came a refurbishment and a more ‘relaxed formality.’ What I loved about it was that it has all the elements of a special occasion place but with a relaxed buzz and very personable staff.
Our next course was a delicate a perfectly poached cod with a beautifully balanced accompaniment of charred sweetcorn and clams.
Marcus Wareing is a well-known name in gastronomic circles and has two other popular London restaurants; Tredwell’s and The Gilbert Scott at St Pancras Renaissance hotel. Famously he worked alongside Gordon Ramsay early on in his career but the two top chefs later fell out in a court room battle over this very restaurant. Nowadays Marcus is also known for being a judge on MasterChef: The Professionals having succeeded Michel Roux Junior. He also recently acted as a consultant for the film Burnt which sees Bradley Cooper portraying an American chef in London. Bradley Cooper and co-star Sienna Miller even visited Marcus at the restaurant to see how it’s all done and how a Michelin-star chef operates his kitchen.
There’s a choice of two dishes for the meat course and while the majority of us opted for this perfectly cooked venison with heritage carrot. Lauren fancied the chargrilled Cumbrian veal neck also with heritage carrot and Lautrec garlic. Two dishes perfect for autumn.
Of course with champagne aperitifs and wine pairing, things were starting to look a little blurry but we were having a fabulous time and laughing until we ached. After all that food my fellow bloggers looked a little weary about the addition of a supplemental course but I announced ‘I must have cheese on my birthday!’ and a beautiful selection was brought to our table.
A birthday really isn’t a birthday without chocolate cake and we loved this little slice of heaven topped with candied rosemary.
Photo credit: Emma London Kiwi
Not quite wanting the fantastic day to end, we popped into the hotel’s famous Blue Bar for more drinks (don’t judge it was my birthday…). It was one of those days when lunch turns into to afternoon drinks which turns to heading back to my flat with Aftab and Emma and watching my wedding video…
All in all a perfect way celebrate my birthday and a big thank you to everyone who came!
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