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Located on the ground floor of Berkeley hotel.
The photo might not show, but the dining room was dark and not spacious at all. We got one of the tables for four right at the middle closely packed among other groups.
Image 3: A welcoming snack of cracker bread and olive tomato dipping. Surprisingly, in a 2-star French cuisine, we were informed that the pan fried foie gras was not available and replaced by a terrine instead! Seeing our disappointing reaction, she said they could actually serve us pan-fried foie gras! She surprised us again with her conflicting statement! An extremely confusing start to our meal?!?!
Image 4: Our table then quickly filled with various amuse bouche - Black truffle parmesan risotto croquettes. Coming out from these crunchy spheres was warm creamy cheesy risotto with a subtle hint of truffle.
Image 5: Next, a layer of rich foie gras terrine sandwiched between a puffy buttery pastry with a sweet apricot touch. Wow, I could easily swallow a few more pieces!
Image 6: One last amuse bouche, a tall shot glass of onion and white bean velouté with nutmeg. It had a dominating onion flavour but not overwhelming. A brilliant selection of pre-meal snacks to seduce our palate!
Image 7: Finally, time for our Gourmand Menu. A single tortellini stuffed with lobster meat resting in lobster bisque. What a tiny first course!
Image 8: So, they did really have pan-fried foie gras; and it was decorated with a dried yogurt crisp, gingerbread cookie, and blackberry. Perfectly seared silky foie with a crispy thin crust. The cookie added a soft crunchy texture with a hint of ginger carried throughout the dish. Excellent course! Glad that we were reluctant to compromise with the terrine.
Image 9: But just to make it more interesting, I took the terrine option instead to see how differently they would serve it. Foie gras and its terrine are completely different in terms of the 3T's - Taste, Temperature, and Texture. We were surprised again because it was done exactly the same way! I didn't know Wareing's restaurants was full of surprises!
Image 10: I am sure a 2-star restaurant won't be running low on ingredients, let alone on foie gras. They probably had leftover terrine from previous nights and hence they encouraged customers to take foie gras terrine rather than pan-fried and lazy enough to create something better to complement the terrine! Shocking!
Image 11: Hidden under the thin smoked crouton was a quenelle of Cornish crab and baby beetroot. A very ordinary course with mild flavour, nothing too exciting.
Image 12: Then a complete contrast with the previous course -- a tender roasted quail reclining on smoked white beans paired up with a toast foam! Wow, the sweet airy foam was light with an intense fragrance of toasted bread - like having peanut butter on toast but a foamy version! It probably triggered my breakfast appetite, each bite made me want another bite! Definitely the highlight of the meal!
Image 13: Back to an ordinary course, a fish dish composed of Dover sole, walnut, gnocchi, beetroot, and soft cheese. The fish itself was fresh and delicate but the bitter walnut after taste ruined it. Also, note that we already had beetroot once in the Cornish crab course. Just pointing it out, not that I have problem with repeating ingredients.
Image 14: There were three choices for our main course. With four of us, of course we tried them all.
Medium-rare Cumbrian lamb served with black bean, smoked aubergine, and a strip of crispy lamb bacon.
Image 15: Second choice of main was "slow-cooked for 24 hours" Welsh suckling pig. The meat was juicy but a bit too salty. It came with braised chicory and fluffy pommes mousseline.
Image 16: The last choice was a medium-rare roasted Aberdeen Angus beef fillet with glazed carrots. To be honest, none of the main courses was that exciting!
Before the cheese course, they did a quick tour of the kitchen for us.
... and crackers
A blackberry sorbet for the two of us who opted out the cheese course.
Image 21: An extra dessert requested in place of the cheese: Peanut Parfait topped with a tuile, Valrhona chocolate mousse, and a salt caramel jelly! The saltiness from the jelly was very subtle.
Image 22: Then for all of us, a glass layered with passion fruit jelly, lemon custard and finished off with a gin sorbet sprinkled with dried violet petals.
Image 23: Another pre-dessert consisted of milk chocolate gâteau topped with praline ice cream and caramel-banana jelly.
Image 24: A tropical fruity dessert to finish our meal - a dome of iced lime mousse blanketed in pieces of soft baked meringue with a disc of sweet and sour pineapple underneath decorated with black liquorice. The lime-pineapple is always a good combination, but wasn't sure why the liquorice was there?!
Image 25: The most memorable item of this 5-hour meal was the toast foam and the foie gras incident. Nothing wrong with all three choices of main course, but they were very standard. Not that we expected a meal to have smoke coming out from the plate or other visual wonders to dazzle our eyes, but the cooking here really lacks some excitement.