There really is no better way to catch up than over lunch.
Whether it’s a quick bagel while you walk, nattering during a rushed lunch break, a long summer’s picnic in the park or a fancy tasting menu for two… there’s something about the combination of stuffing your face that encourages you to pour your heart out.
I was invited to review Marcus Wareing’s spruced up new offering at The Berkeley; Marcus.
I knew it would be a long, drawn out affair. With two Michelin stars, lunch is more of a performance than a lunch.
There was only one person I wanted to take and chat to throughout the performance; my mad friend, Bella.
We meet at the hotel, embraced excitedly and head in to enjoy the show.
The restaurant mixes formal and chilled with ease.
Crisp white linen table cloths are illuminated by light pouring in from enormous windows, looking out on to Knightsbridge.
Chipper staff swan effortlessly between tables. The place is packed with businessmen but doesn’t feel stuffy. They’re wooing each other over boozy lunches, clapping each other on the back and hooting with faux laughter (you can almost see them roll their eyes when they look away).
Every table is an island who’s inhabitants are completely engrossed in its own existence.
A magical place for two curious people watchers!
We start with pink champagne and pastry puffs.
Then dive into burratta with lardo and frozen tomato.
Paired with a light white wine from France.
Burratta, ham and tomato go together, this is nothing new.
But it is special. The creamy, rich burratta is enrobed in top quality olive oil. The ham is the best it could be and the icy tomato adds a new experience to an old, Italian classic.
Fresh and delicate.
Followed by the rich and punchy duck’s liver with mango and granola.
Married with a sweet, exotic, darker white wine.
Here we hit a fork in the road. When we order Bella switches hers’ for quail, which arrives glistening, topped with crisp ham and a shaving of parmesan.
Which, naturally, deserves its own wine.
B is even snap happier than I am, I have to almost wrestle the camera out of her hands so she doesn’t take any more photos of me eating!
Eventually she gets distracted by her own plate and we trot swiftly on to our next course.
Veal belly, frogs’ legs, snails and wild garlic.
With a deep, strong red.
As we eat, we chat.
We’ve both been travelling of late and haven’t had a chance to debrief since we’ve been back.
Bella travelled to LA with our mutual girlfriend, Kimberley and couldn’t wait to fill me in on all of the gossip.
We gasp, laugh and hide our heads in our hands as all of the juicy details unfold.
The waiters, well skilled in the art of not interrupting, slip the next part of the performance under our noses before we even notice.
Another slight fork in the road, white fish for B.
Big, juicy scallops for me.
Two of the prettiest plates I’ve ever seen.
With crisp chardonnay.
^ That is a face thrilled with food and company!
Our final savoury course is Lake District lamb with mint, radish and black olive.
One that B had to snap for herself (we have matching cameras).
As the sommelier added to her collection of wines.
A velvety, fruity red to go with the pink lamb.
By the time we clear our plates, the restaurant is almost deserted (the islands of native businessmen have cleared off) and we’re left with a never ending supply of wines.
Which just don’t seem to stop coming!
We try our best to make our way through them during the interval before pudding.
But it’s just not do-able.
I tell Bella all about New York, Dallas and how things are going with my chap (swimmingly incase you’re curious too! He might just be a keeper) and our first sweet course arrives.
ComtÃ©, cheese, apple, cider.
A very, very strange combination. Cheese and whipped cream is not a combination I’m keen to try again.
The next wine however, makes up for it.
A sweet, honey-like Riesling from New Zealand.
With a slice of lemon meringue tart.
And finally a mini tiramisu.
Apparently my man’s ears were burning. He joins us for coffee and to help polish off the last of our puddings.
The perfect afternoon with one of my favourite people.
Who could resist a quick snap in a room stuffed with tulips and peonies?!
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The Berkeley has always been one of my favourite hotels, but I was blown away by Marcus.
If you have a special occasion coming up I highly recommend a trip.