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
"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"
"This was our fourteenth visit in the last three years to the Artichoke and in that time have become good friends with owners Laurie , Jackie and head chef Ben. So therefore when the announcement came on Monday 7th October that they they had finally earned the distinctive honour of holding a Michelin Star ?? I couldn't have been more pleased. The food here has been so consistent and we've even noticed that on our last three or four visits this has definitely risen to the next level. The imagination and creativity using excellent local produce in order to put these fabulous dishes in front of their customers is amazing. Their front of house team has also been very good over the years which is now under the leadership of manager Jerek. Once we heard the exciting news we really couldn't wait to pay another visit and luckily that happened to be yesterday. So on a nice bright saturday we headed from east to west and enjoy another nice afternoon in the lovely little town of Amersham. As soon as we entered the restaurant you could still clearly see that everyone was still on a high from receiving the fantastic news. So after our nice friendly welcome we was escorted to our table in front of the fabulous wine rack which obviously used to be a fireplace. While we were given the menus to look through they poured us a glass of complimentary champagne as part of them celebrating the achievement with their customers. There are five menus to choose from the Lunch , A la Carte , Lunch Tasting Menu and a short six course and long eight course Tasting Menus. We decided to choose the eight course tasting menu as since it had been a few months since our last visit all the dishes were new.?We started with the fabulous Chiltern Black Ale Bread which this time came with a Bee Pollen Butter. This was followed by a delightful little Amuse Bouche of Taramasalata , Cucumber & Kohlrabi to cleanse the palate before we moved onto our first course a Seafood Ravioli with Pumpkin Veloute & Sea Herbs. The next course was definitely one of the highlights a Truffle Choux Bun with Lincolnshire Poacher , Cep Ketchup & Salsify and with the mixture of hot and cold this dish was stunning. We then moved on to our next course of Pan Fried Duck Liver which together with Poached Quince & Spiced Bread was a little taste sensation. This was followed by the Atlantic Halibut with Squid , Mussels , Seaweed and a beautiful Shellfish Miso. Now it was time for the main course to which their is a choice of two a Venison Saddle smoked with Douglas Fir and served alongside Venison Salami , Beef Dripping Potato , Red Cabbage & Beetroot and the other a Chalgrove Estate Partridge with a Black Pudding Tartlet , Morteau Sausage & Golden Raisins. Both dishes were amazing but I have to say my choice of the Partridge was without doubt the highlight of the day. During our little rest before we moved onto the next course it was nice of Laurie & Ben to come over for a quick chat and therefore gave us the opportunity to personally congratulate them on their prestigious award. Now we moved onto the cheese course a delightful little combination a Panna Cotta of Blue Murder with Roasted Walnuts , Black Figs , Apple & Celery. This led us onto a delicious palate cleanser of Poire William Sorbet with Poached & Pressed Pear a mixed seed Tuille & Vanilla Cream Cheese. Now it was time for dessert which was a very good Blackberry Baba with Somerset Apple , Brandy Ice Cream & Sorrel. This was paired with a Familia Castano Dulce Monastrell sweet wine with flavours of Plum Jam & Dried Figs which was nice & light and therefore a So another fabulous lunch at the Artichoke is brought to and one in which I'm looking forward to repeating again in the near future. It really is worth making the the trip to this great little town of Amersham and enjoy for yourself a fantastic dining experience at this amazing restaurant. Even if you can't make it for lunch you could stay overnight in one of the hotels on the opposite side of the road.?Congratulations once again to all the team at the Artichoke on receiving a Michelin Star perfect match. We then finished with a coffee & Petit Fours to end a fantastic lunch. "
"`Not the best evening we have had here and possibly the last, nothing hugely wrong perhaps because this was our first time upstairs and it was a busy Saturday. From the start the cucumber foam amuse bouche was not very impressive perhas it needed a couple of additional touches the rest of the meal was OK if rather small portions we ate from the short a la carte but they seemed more part of a "tasting" menu, having a young waitress reciting the ingredients in a very blurred French? accent was not a helpful addition. We were rather underwhelmed."
"A very pleasant Tuesday lunch with friends. Tasting menu and wine flight."
"Once again this was another fabulous visit to the Artichoke which is set in the lovely town of Old Amersham. There's always a friendly welcome on arrival as there was once more on this occasion. When you arrive the staff will have a nice little friendly chat with you before being escorted to your table. The food created by Chef Patron Laurie & Head Chef Ben has always been excellent and they often change at least one of their many menus which is great especially if your local and a regular diner as there will always be something new for you to try. This is one of the main reasons why we try to visit whenever we can. Another reason is they also have a great young french team of waiters & waitresses who are very friendly , engaging & professional.?Our table on this occasion was right next to the open kitchen giving you a great view and to see all the hard work that goes into creating the fabulous dishes that appear in front of you. While the team of chefs are busy working hard Laurie & Ben are on the pass adding the finishing touches to make sure every dish is perfect before it's sent out. They have an amazing selection of menus to choose from which caters anywhere from a quick lunch to the Full Eight Course Tasting Menu. We decided to choose the Tasting Menu as it was the most recently changed and full of New dishes.?While enjoying our aperitif the Chiltern Black Ale Bread arrived accompanied with the heavenly Lamb Fat Butter. This was then followed with our Amuse Bouche which was a Cider & Pickled Onion Veloute. It was now time for our first course the Lyme Bay Crab with Heirloom Tomato , Passion Fruit Dressing & Basil. This was a beautiful dish that really refreshed the palate and a delightful way to start. Our next course was the Wye Valley Asparagus with Lincolnshire Poacher & Nettle Pesto a perfect blend of freshness from asparagus with the creamy texture of the cheese. We then moved on to the next course the Quail Breast served in a Cup & Saucer with Quail Tea , Confit Leg & Mushroom Cannelloni. A very clever dish and full of flavour. It was now time for a fish course the Chalk Stream Trout with Artichoke Barigoule , Almonds , Rye Bread & Brown Butter Hollandaise which was an absolute delight. Next to come was the main courses to which there was a choice of two so we decided to have one of each. The first being the Saddle of Scotsgrove Lamb with Lamb Sweetbread , Cream Cheese Tortellini , Broad Beans , Peas , Carrots & Nasturtium. The other main course was a Loire Valley Poussin with Wild Garlic Kiev , Mushroom Ketchup , White Asparagus & Leek. Thsee were two amazing dishes and perfect for spring time. Now we moved onto the cheese course which did divide us as it was a Cheese Soufflé with a Stinking Bishop cheese sauce. My wife who loves Stinking Bishop was in heaven but it was a bit strong for me so as much as I tried I couldn't finish it all. This was followed by our pre dessert & a delight it was to Gariguette Strawberry with Lemon Verbena Cream , Strawberry Sorbet & Shortbread. This was served with a Strawberry & Cremant Cocktail. We then finished with a stunning Warm Chocolate Tart with Raspberry , White Chocolate & Lemon Thyme Sherbet. If I could have brought some home I would have it was amazing. We then finished with Coffee & Petit Fours bringing to an end another fantastic visit to this great restaurant. I would highly recommend a visit not just for the excellent food & service at the Artichoke but also the Old town of Amersham has some delightful friendly hotels where you can stay making it ideal for an overnight stay or a lovely weekend away. I'm definitely looking forward to my next visit which hopefully won't be to far away.. "
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|