So, the last Michelin experience I had in London, after Dinner by Heston and Pollen Street Social was at Marcus, the day before I was scheduled to fly out of London. Perhaps I was feeling a little weary (I had been on the road for close to three weeks already and I was feeling quite ready to fly back home), so instead of opting for the tasting course menu, I settled for having the set lunch menu instead.
One thing I noticed straight off was that prices for Marcus are a bit higher than other Michelin restaurants. Take the set lunch menu for example, it was £65 pounds for a 3 course, way more than the set lunch offered at Dinner by Heston.
The restaurant also gives off a more formal and stuffy vibe as compared to when I was at Dinner by Heston and Pollen Street Social. As a single diner, there were times when the atmosphere felt a little overwhelming and I confess that in between meals, I spent most of it keeping myself occupied on my phone so that I did not have to make eye contact with any discerning diner or the wait staff. To be honest, it was quite unlike my experience in Pollen Street Social, where the atmosphere felt lighter and more relaxed.
In any case, we started the meal with smoked salmon, watercress and a touch of caviar. The salmon was perfect and went very well with the watercress soup. It was light but had the right kind of balance, and was a good start to the meal. Visually, the contrasting colours was another appealing factor of the dish.
Next up was the pork jowl appetizer. This was a dish boldly served with all its fatty glory. It had to taste good, and it did. The breading on the pork jowl was crispy and the pork was deliciously tender underneath it.
So for the main, I decided to be a little bold and went with the rabbit which was served with oat and pickled celery.
I’ve had rabbit before, in Italy, and back then, the rabbit served to me had been cooked all the way through, so the meat was all white. Hence, it was a bit of a shock for me, when I saw the rabbit served to me was still pink in the centre. Again, being in that formal and somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere in the restaurant, I wasn’t very sure if this was how it was meant to be served. Somehow, the waiter serving my table must have sensed my discomfort, since he paused and asked if everything was all right. In a hush whisper, I asked if this was how the rabbit was meant to be served and he said yes it was. So I was quite torn, I didn’t know whether to continue or to play safe and not eat the pink / raw centers. So after a few messages with J, I learnt that some restaurants, who source their rabbit meats from credible farms, prefer to cook the rabbit meat to a medium rare, which most possibly was the case here.
And so I guess that since the waiter had sensed my discomfort, he subsequently gave me an additional dessert on top of the dessert that I had chosen for my set lunch. This was a bergamot ice tea infused dessert with meringue. It was delicious, refreshing and I really enjoyed this.
The dessert that I had chosen was the chocolate biscuit paired with clementine and rosemary. Another stunning plate. I thought that the presentation of the food at Marcus was superb and that the restaurant really executed the visual factor of food presentation very well.
So in all, I thought that the food served was of a very high quality (as expected from a Michelin restaurant). Perhaps, the reason why I did not enjoy the main course so much was due to my ignorance of wild meats, but at least we can say that I learnt something. The overwhelming formal atmosphere might have played a part as well. Clearly, I would not count this as my favourite dining experience in London; Dinner by Heston did that for me. I guess that’s why we have the saying, “to each their own”.
Add: The Berkeley, Wilton Pl, Knightsbridge, London