Harden's survey result
“Laurie Gear and his team never fail to delight in this French fine dining establishment”: a “small and intimate” haunt in a characterful part of Old Amersham, where “the best seats are downstairs by the kitchen where you can witness how hard and skilfully the chefs work”. For many years now, the opinion has been widespread that its “impeccable” cuisine and “warm and welcoming” service were being inexplicably ignored by the tyre men, but in October 2019 Michelin finally gave way and gave it its long overdue recognition with the award of a star.
“Why no Michelin star?” Laurie Gear’s “simply brilliant” fixture in a characterful part of Old Amersham espouses all the values the Tyre Man is supposed to hold so dear. “The tasting menu is a stunning experience” with “first class” cuisine and service highly “professional”. “The open plan kitchen is interesting to watch too”. Gripes? “It can feel a bit squeezed-in at busy times”. And “try to get a table downstairs, you’re more in the action: the upstairs room is a little quiet”.
“Perfect, perfect, perfect!” – “It’s such a surprise to find this gem nestled in Old Amersham”, and Laurie Gear’s “magnificent” establishment on a picturesque Georgian street would enjoy a much higher profile if it were not bizarrely overlooked by Michelin year-on-year. Chef/Patron Laurie Gear’s “complex cooking comes with a very deft touch”: “beautifully crafted, rich, with gorgeous accompanying wine, and delivered by staff who make you feel a million dollars”. “It is incomprehensible that it doesn’t have a star” – in fact some say “it’s worthy of two” – yet a number of fans feel that “the fact that it lacks recognition almost improves it”: “please let them keep missing out, because it keeps the place just about affordable, and we can get a table when we want!”
“I cannot understand why this simply sublime restaurant has yet to achieve a Michelin star!” – inexplicably, Laurie Gear’s “classy” operation in Old Amersham continues to fly under the tyre men’s radar. “Chef Laurie always seems to be in the kitchen, and the entire team provide a genuinely warm welcome combined with professional service” in a setting that’s “very pretty and cosy”. “Fabulous tasting menus deliver so many flavours and textures”…“some dishes are so memorable, and all are delightful”, and it’s good value too – “at the high end of fine dining and the lower end of the haute-type price bracket!”
The restaurant was extended into the adjoining building in May 2011, which ironically was the scene of a devastating fire in June 2008, which forced Laurie and Jacqueline to close the Artichoke for 18 months to rebuild the property to its former 16th Century glory. The interior was designed by Fiona Johnston Parke from the Award winning Emily Todd Hunter, who combined the original features of the building with Scandinavian inspired interiors, in memory of Laurie’s time spent at Noma; with muted grey tones and accents of amethyst, which create a seamless, comfortable but stylish extension of the original building.
Now the Artichoke offers three dining areas including a Private Dining Room with its own wine cellar, the Kitchen Dining Room with an open Pass, Chefs’ Tables, and the Garden Room, with a view onto a botanical “living wall” of herbs.
Laurie’s innovative cooking showcases well sourced ingredients, changing with the seasons, using highly dedicated producers. The open kitchen with its willow resin screen offers the opportunity to experience the culinary theatre of the Pass. The collection of expressive menus include an approachable set lunch, intriguing five and six course lunch tastings and an artisan seven course tasting featuring highlights of the main menu. Dishes focus on flavour, presentation and taste combinations, often inspired by time spent with Rene Redzepi at the legendary Noma during the enforced closure.
The notable wine list features forward thinking winemakers and local ales with all tasting menus offering eclectic wine pairings, chosen by Restaurant Manager/Sommelier Matteo Scaccabarozzi, combined with the open pass and the ultimate Chefs’ tables, the Artichoke offers a unique fine dining experience.
|Wine per bottle||£43.00|
Our Private Dining Room
Situated on the first floor, this beautiful self-contained dining area offers a wonderful view overlooking the historical Market Town of Old Amersham.
In conjunction with the prestigious Charles Heidsieck Champagne House and wine merchants Liberty Wines, we are delighted to introduce Charles Heidsieck Champagne to our Private Dining Room packages at The Artichoke.
Charles Heidsieck is one of the great names of Champagne and produces some of the finest Champagne wines...
Started in 1851, the foundation of its modern fame rests on the work done by winemaker Daniel Thibault, whose style has come to define ‘Charles’. Thibault died in 2002 and was succeeded by his assistant Régis Camus. Between them they have won the ‘Sparkling Winemaker of the Year’ at the International Wine Challenge an unrivalled 13 times. Thierry Roset is the current Chef de Cave, working with Camus. He has been with the house for more than 20 years and continues the approach that has driven their success - the relentless pursuit of quality. The base wines are made from a selection of the region‘s best vineyards. Charles Heidsieck benefit from the largest collection of reserve wines in Champagne.
Our exquisite Private Dining Room comfortably seats 10-14 guests creating a memorable and intimate atmosphere for those extra-special occasions. Designed with luxury in mind, the elegant setting is synonymous with the high quality of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
With its flexible layout, and dedicated waiting staff, the Private Dining Room is idyllic for a unique dining experience, corporate business lunch or special family celebrations. Tailored menus and strikingly backlit with its own chilled wine cellar will ensure all personal choices are catered for. To create the perfect, relaxed and enjoyable experience, flowers and decorations can also be sourced for a personalised dining package.
We have specially devised four dining options for our Private Dining Room to allow you to truly relax and enjoy your private dining experience all served with a chilled glass of Charles Heidsieck Champagne straight from our exclusive Wine Cellar.
*Tasting Menu Package
- to celebrate the ingredients of the season and accompanied by a collection of delightful wines.
champagne upon arrival, tasting menu with wines to accompany, sparkling and still mneral water, coffee / tea and infusions served with handmade petit fours
£135.00 per person £95.00 per person without the matching wine flight
*Lunch Tasting Menu Package
- five course lunchtime package including a glass of champagne upon arrival, sparkling and still mineral water, coffee / tea and infusions served with handmade petit fours
£78.00 per person £60.00 per person without the matching wine flight
*Prestigious Tasting Menu Package with exclusive wines - price upon request.
*Three Course a la Carte Menu Package (choice of three dishes per course)
with a complimentary amuse bouche and pre dessert
- to include a glass of champagne upon arrival, sparkling and still mineral water, coffee / tea and infusions served with handmade petit fours
£75.00 per person
(optional wine pairing also available - for this option pre-orders of dishes are required)
English and French cheeses selected instead of dessert come at a £3.50 supplement
- as an additional course £11.50
As with all of our Menus a 12.5% discretionary service charge will be added to the bill.
Please, note there is no room hire charge, but a minimum of ten guests.
Further, there is also a minimum spend required for a Friday and Saturday evening.
Please, note that a deposit is required to reserve the Private Room, which is non refundable with less than one month's notice for cancellation. With less than one week's notice the full package will be payable.
Please, contact our Private Dining Coordinator Johanna Schachner to discuss your requirements and availability on 01494 726611 or e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Artichoke Restaurant Diner Reviews
"We continued our support for the hospitality industry on Thursday evening with a return to one of our favourite places the Artichoke restaurant in the delightful town of Amersham. It's always a pleasure to visit here as the food and service is usually to a very high standard. Our visit this time as we know was going to be a little bit different. When we arrived we were given the usual friendly welcome before being asked to sanitize our hands. Once this was done they escorted us to our table in a prime spot in front of the newly designed open kitchen where we were greeted by owner / chef Laurie who it was great to see again. All the staff were wearing face shields which although we understand it really does make it hard to hear what's being said at times. They had also spaced out the tables leaving plenty of room in between each one. Once seated the sommelier came over to ask if we'd like an aperitif so we chose to have a glass of rose sparkling wine to start the evening. Now on to the menu where there was a choice of either the six or eight course Tasting Menu or the A la Carte. Our choice as always was the eight course tasting menu. We decided not to have the wine pairing and mentioned to the sommelier that we would like to try the Spanish Albarino to which he said was a good choice and would be an excellent pairing for the menu. So now it is food time which started with a delightful Amuse Bouche of Sea Trout & Apple. Along with this came the Chiltern Black Ale Bread & Malt Vinegar Butter. This led us on to the first course of Cornish Crab with brown crab cream , tomato water & summer vegetables. So now we moved on to our next course a Courgette Flower with lincolnshire poacher , borlotti beans & nettle pesto. This was followed by the Pan Fried Foie Gras with confit bacon , cauliflower purée & blackberries that was absolutely delicious. Our fish course was a Poached Brill with basil butter , brown shrimp , coco beans & violet artichoke. So now on to the main course where there was a choice of two. So with this my wife chose the Confed Landes Poussin with girolles , cep ketchup , leeks , carrots & Foie gras. While for myself I had the Saddle of Lamb , sweetbreads spiced with ras el hanout , yoghurt , apricots & lettuce. Now it was time for the cheese course which was very interesting but the combination of flavours really did work well together. This was a Goat's Cheese Souffle with smoked pepper sorbet & truffle honey. Next to come was desserts which started with the Cambridge Cream with strawberries , buttermilk ice cream , breton sable & strawberry soup. This was followed by the Oakchurch Raspberries with white chocolate ganache , gateaux savoie , ale ice cream & green almonds. We finished with coffee & petit fours to round of the evening of excellent food from Laurie & Ben and great service especially from our waitress Alexa. I would highly recommend a visit to the fantastic restaurant. Wishing them all the best and look forward to seeing you all again soon. #SupportHospitality"
"At last the French booking agency cum restaurant guide has come to its senses, and, not for the first time, Laurie Gear and Ben Jenkins demonstrated why this restaurant has been in the Good Food Guide top 50 for so many years. This was possibly the best meal we’ve had here, once again demonstrating the positive attitude to developing new dishes and combinations of flavours and ingredients that always has been the marker, with special mention in this respect for the “seasonal vegetables” dish which was so good we even thought there might possibly be a chance of our being persuaded to become vegetarians, although that would mean missing out on many of the marvellous dishes set before us here. The 8-course tasting menu is de rigueur for us and, headed up by the lovely black ale bread with malt vinegar butter which went beautifully with the amuse-bouche of pumpkin velouté topped with roasted seeds to set the taste buds trembling. A starter of superb smoked haddock tartare with russet apple and perfect horseradish cream had us smiling in appreciation of the match of textures and tastes, and our curiosity about the next dish of seasonal vegetables was soon satisfied when we were assailed by the nose of black truffle which blended so well with the Lancashire bomb cheese, enoki and roasted hazelnuts in a sort of umami taste attack. Absolutely mind-blowing! In a departure from the usual local sourcing of ingredients, the next course was Landes quail with perfect stuffing and a memorable quail tea, and that was followed by skate just how it should be served, off the bone with a super shellfish sauce and cauliflower brought to new heights. My wife chose venison for her main course which was tender and full of the proper game taste one expects from smoked saddle, while I opted for duck, another wonderful confirmation of this kitchen’s skills and highlighted by delicious smoked morteau sausage and a lovely maple and clementine glaze. The soaked goat’s cheese balanced perfectly with quince, crab apple jelly and celery led us into one of the best pre-desserts ever with rhubarb presented in two guises, poached with crême brulée and lemony biscuits, and in liquid form as a cocktail with ginger. The stunning chocolate dessert, a dark chocolate tart with nuts, pear slices and pear sorbet made for a suitably excellent ending to an outstanding meal. Dining experience rating: 18.5/20"
9 Market Sq, Amersham, HP7 0DF
|Number of Diners:|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:15 pm‑11 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:15 pm‑11 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6:15 pm‑11 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑11:30 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm‑3 pm, 6 pm‑11:30 pm|