When Fera opened at Claridges last year, we wasted no time in getting a booking in the diary. After missing the boat with Simon Rogan’s London pop-up Roganic and with the odds stacked against us ever getting round to making a trip up to L’eclume or The French, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try his food. Until I cancelled the booking.
As much as we wanted to go, we decided that, for us at least, £250+ was too much to spend on a midweek meal – regardless of how awesome it promised to be. Nevertheless, we still had a nagging desire to try Rogan’s food.
In the end we gave in, twice. We saw that Fera had launched a special lunchtime menu, offering three courses for £35 (inc. a free glass of bubbly if you book through Bookatable), perfect for a couple of tight arses like us.
It irks me when restaurants offer cut price menus then treat you like second class citizens if you order them. Well this can in no way be levelled at Fera. If you go for the lunch special, you still get pre-starters, lovely petit fours and the same excellent level of service as everybody else.
On our first visit, we shared three courses from the set menu and another three from the a la carte. Second time around, we both went for the special deal. On both occasions, dishes were inventive and brought to life by little touches like Simon’s Cumbrian micro herbs. Most of the ingredients are grown on their own farms and you might think it sounds like standard blogger bullshit but you can really taste that quality.
The outstanding starter was definitely the Gairloch scallops from the a la carte menu. The dish was brought to life by the addition of some fruity elderberry vinegar and the crunch of the accompanying pak choi. Almost its equal was the striking spring green veloute with smoked pork. The broth was bright green and tasted like the best pea and ham soup known to man. Cured salmon with pickled mushrooms and chicory also hit the mark. The salmon was thick cut to provide a nice firm texture, just how I like it.
Mains were very much in the same mould. Reg’s corn fed chicken was tender and flavourful, one of the best poultry dishes I’ve come across. We still haven’t worked out who Reg is, but Reg, we salute you. The belted Galloway beef, served with morels and a rich gravy, was another winner but we were left wanting more. If I had to weigh up these dishes head to head, I’d probably have to plump for the chicken. Not only did it look stunning but there was more protein on the plate and save a punch of beefy goodness, arguably more all round depth of flavour. Better still, the chicken was on the set menu.
Desserts were equally as pleasing. Bramley apple cake with cinnamon ice cream was exceptional; while smoked chocolate with peanut ice cream was rich and dark, a very adult pud. A dessert to win over dessert haters everywhere.
Putting aside what I know about ingredient costs, if I wasn’t told which dishes were from which menu, I’d have been hard pushed to guess. When you consider the margins that these guys have to work with, that is seriously impressive.
In a nutshell, the Bookatable deal enabled us to have a little slice of luxury for a fraction of the price. Don’t expect to leave here stuffed, this isn’t the place for that (although we did ask for a second helping of their delicious bread). What you can expect is exceptional food and great service. Fera is a fantastic place. Whether its an impromptu lunch or a special occasion, whatever your budget, just go.BOOK NOW
Lunch for two on Bookatable deal inc. drinks and service: £102.94