** RESTAURANT NOW CLOSED **
Psychologists call it the seven year itch – the point in marriage when you’ve been together for (unsurprisingly) seven years and everything is meant to go downhill. Somehow we’ve made it to this awkwardly named milestone – how we’ve managed to rub along for so long with all the indignities a blog/expat/cat-hosting husband has to endure I don’t know, but luckily he puts up with me.
And that’s inspite of the rugby supporting, eye-rolling, distracted evenings, lack of domestic ability, teasing, occasional calling his homeland rubbish (but only on really bad commuting days – the rest of the year I adore it I swear), getting dragged around the globe, so called “terrible taste in music” and a complete lack of tea making skill.
The boy is a keeper.
To celebrate our many years of ball & chaindom wedded bliss (no thanks to my antics at the Cambridge proposal), we usually visit the site of our London wedding dinner, which would have also been our first date location (except my much younger self panicked at the strata of cutlery present on one of the tables – it was bad enough that it was our first date, let alone wrangling with tiers of tines). This year we decided to up our game even further – what better way to celebrate such an auspicious year. We loved our first taste of Claridge’s refinement over a few hours of afternoon tea cup tinkling and thanks to Mrs Silverspoon‘s recommendation were rather pleased to book ourselves in for an anniversary treat at Seth Rogan’s Fera Restaurant.
Welcomed warmly, and seated with a cheeky glass of champagne, our waitress confirmed that I was gluten free (as specified when booking) and brought out an amuse bouche of rosemary crackers topped with blue cheese mousse and edible flowers. We admired the beautiful art deco interior replete with driftwood tree centrepiece – to quote Jay Rayner “rustic, by way of Chanel” – as we perused the menu.
To be honest, my photos aren’t fabulous because we didn’t want to intrude on other diners, and also we really wanted to enjoy our meal rather than focusing on snapping away (well, we took a few, but you know…). The atmosphere on a crisp autumnal evening was comfortably subdued, groups of diners here and there gathered to enjoy the fresh menu inspired by Seth Rogan’s love of vegetation, hand-reared and foraged ingredients, often gathered from his own UK farms.
Cod and parsley mousse, heritage tomato, kohlrabi and cucumber.
Pork jowl with carrots, stout, mushrooms and nasturtium leaf
“Fera” is named for Latinate for ‘wild’, and each dish is elegantly presented with an attention to fastidious detail (except one, we’ll get to that in a moment). I began with the pork jowl with carrots, stout, mushrooms and nasturtium leaf which was lovely in the combination of delicate flavour (not easy to do with pork) but fell head over heels with Mr Kiwi’s cod and parsley mousse, heritage tomato, kohlrabi and cucumber. Beautifully balanced, the dish was a taste of the sea.
I could get used to eating with silver daggers…
Our mains weren’t quite as thrilling; Mr Kiwi opting for the caramelised onion squash, courgette served with a foam of sheep’s milk and cobnuts which was tasty, but lacked depth. I rather enjoyed my umami-inducing guinea hen served with offal ragout, smoked beetroot, potato and verjus; the flavours working beautifully in tandem, but lacked a little in polished presentation.
Caramelised onion squash, courgette served with a foam of sheep’s milk and cobnuts
Guinea hen served with offal ragout, smoked beetroot, potato and verjus
After a slight menu confusion, the dessert course was unequivocally our favourite. I adored the rich and tantalisingly combination of chocolate mousse, chamomile ice cream, served with almond brittle and apricot conserve. It was worth visiting for this alone, then I tasted the raspberries with buttermilk, elderflower and verbena that the Mr had ordered. Refreshing on the palate (especially after the rich game of the guinea hen) each component was bursting with intriguing piquancy.
Chocolate mousse, chamomile ice cream, almond brittle and apricot conserve.
Raspberries with buttermilk, elderflower and verbena
We decided against tea and coffee, but couldn’t resist a parting sweet tidbit or two. To my blogger shame I don’t recall what they were, but we both closed our eyes in pleasure as we nibbled them.
We swept through the grandeur of Claridge’s glorious foyer, before settling in for a champagne cocktail and beer in the fumoir bar (the opulent and intimate gentleman’s retreat) and simply enjoyed our evening of timeless luxury.
We softly chinked our glasses to many more years like the previous seven.