“Faultless” cuisine “of the highest calibre” maintains Marcus Wareing’s “masterful” Belgravia dining room in the top ranks of London’s culinary premier league; the setting can sometimes seem a touch “muted”, but the more general view is that it is “beautiful and calm”.
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The critic lunches with Heston Blumenthal (sighted, as so often, well away from his Bray kitchen). His guest duly sighs “in chefly appreciation” of the cooking at the Knightsbrige restaurant (which, according to our survey, is currently London’s best). Wareing is “still playing a sweet symphony that could be out of the [Wareing ex-boss] Ramsay song book”, says the critic, but “[t]his is a fine, fine restaurant”.
Zoe Williams (3rd September 2009)
This, we are told, is one of the few “genuine, special-occasion, marry-me or at least birthday-with-a-zero restaurant[s]” in the capital. Being in an hotel, it is “interior-designed to within an inch of its plush, maroon-hued life”, but – within this “theatrical” atmosphere – the critic is pleasantly surprised to find that the other customers are “perfectly fine, even normal”. “[I]t’s not a bargain”, she tells us, “but it’s certainly not overpriced for the market”, and the “very beautiful and minimalist” cooking is “spot on”.
Tracey MacLeod (15th June 2009)
This is a review of that “special once-a-year occasion when I get to blow the Independent’s budget on a spectacular dinner with the winning bidders in our annual charity auction, raising money for aid projects around the world”. The subject is the restaurant of “one of the brightest stars on the London restaurant scene, his reputation only burnished further since his acrimonious rupture with former mentor Gordon Ramsay”. Overall, it “was a great evening, and even though the food didn't quite earn the hoped-for five-star rating”.
Matthew Norman (4th November 2008)
Reflecting its days as a Gordon Ramsay group restaurant, this Knightsbridge establishment may look “warm enough”, says the critic, but “feels a bit chilly, characterless and temple-of-foody, as grand hotel restaurants so often do”. For all that, he notes, the “outstanding and ever reliable [sic] Harden's guide recently declared this London's finest, and if scores of well-informed Harden's ‘reporters’… rate it so highly, there must be sound reason for that”.
AA Gill (27th October 2008)
“Dinner was less engaging than I expected it to be, and very expensive” according to the critic in his review of what he feels is “a patrician’s dining room, a hushed, heavy, ponderous place”... “an expensive food brothel, catering to the sated”. He liked it a lot then! Actually, he doesn’t think it’s so bad. The issue though, is “the pressure, the will, the commitment in every dish” from Marcus Wareing as he “burns to gain the third [Michelin star]”. In consequence the maître d’ has “nervous hands” while waiters “walk on eggshells”. One dish is “a cacophony”, another “too little of too much”. All in all it may be “clever, accomplished, exemplary cooking” but ends up “effortful”, “unrewarding” and lacking “complementary combinations”. In summary, Gill pleads, “please give Wareing his third Michelin star, so he can relax… If it’s any help, I’ve always thought he’s a much better chef than Gordon”.
Giles Coren (6th October 2008)
Cooking 9, Service 9,
Richard Vines (24th September 2008)
Not much doubt in the mind of the finanical news service’s critic. “[I]f pushed to name London's best restaurant, my response would be Petrus. Or, to give it its full new name, the Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley”, he says.
David Sexton (24th September 2008)
“[T]he new edition of Harden’s… has rated Wareing’s restaurant the best in London for the first time”, notes the critic, and “[w]hen the next Michelin Guide is published, Wareing doubtless hopes to finally win three stars, too”. The problem is that “eating here feels like… being part of a mission to win the top accolade, to press every button of luxury”. The setting is “all so plush it feels a little like a scene in a disaster movie just before retributive catastrophe arrives”, and the cuisine rather effortfully strives for “super-richness” too. It’s not all bad, though, as “the food here seemed personal, not corporate”, as it has tended to be in the Ramsay restaurants the critic has recently experienced, “[b]ut it cannot be said to be well-balanced”.