Fera is such a beautiful word, non? It actually means “wild” and embodies the concept of Simon Rogan’s residency at the wonderfully classic Claridge’s Hotel. It’s a restaurant which celebrates our connection to nature, so one would expect a menu inspired by seasons, and ingredients harvested in their prime.
I recently had a catch up dinner with B and we thought Fera was the perfect setting for our rant and rave session.
Whilst waiting for our table, B & I sat by the counter at Fumoir Bar watching the world go by. Drinking excellently (or rather, extremely) potent martinis, we made up stories from the years of prohibition as we watched couples, groups and lone punters sip the night away.
And then we were called into the awesome dining room at Fera.
They’ve preserved the beautiful art deco theme but there are accents that lifted the mood. Foliage on the walls, sanded tree trunks, massive jarred candles… it was rather rustic and romantic without being extremely cheesy. And they have the type of lighting that makes everyone look gorgeous.
We were served an amuse bouche on some sort of cheese mousse on an herby cracker. Forgive me for what this was called exactly, but believe me when I say my bouche was definitely a-moussed. Har.
And then we were served the “snacks”
First of the snacks was a seaweed cracker with scallops. Beautifully presented on a bowl of small pebbles, this was absolutely delectable. The seaweed flavour pulled through and married so very well with the delicate sweet mousse.
Next up was the Tunworth with salsify. The strong cheese was so delicious, I licked my spoon til it was shining, shimmering splendid. But as I do not eat egg, I skipped the yolk hidden underneath. B said it was delicious and she ate mine, too.
The last snack was absolutely the best, though. We genuinely enjoyed the fried dumpling of stewed rabbit, served with dollops of pureed lovage. It was such a good savoury bite, with the filling so juicy and generous. I could’ve eaten ten of these, no sweat.
My starter of smoked hake mousse was as vibrant as the Summers we often dream of. I feared the mousse would be super fishy but I was greeted by a smooth and creamy spoonful. Shaved asparagus, kohlrabi and a subtle elderflower-based dressing lifted the flavour. It’s a dish that made me smile. And hope for better weather.
I must admit though, B’s caramelised cabbage with confit duck was absolutely bang on. The duck and cabbage combo was substantially flavoursome and well-balanced in richness and sweetness. Bits of rhubarb added a little bit of a punch. The only thing I didn’t like was the whey foam.
I opted for the steamed cod at Fera and was pleasantly surprised. Whilst I still think cod is my least favourite fish, this was nice. I do think it was well improved by the grelot onions, tomatoes and fried beans, though.
B’s pork belly and cheek with turnip and marjoram was quite a stunner, too. Flavour-wise, it was just alright but the pork itself was super tender. Again, I had food envy.
My dessert came in the form of chamomile custard with frozen buttermilk, adorned with raspberries and sweet cicely. I honestly thought it could’ve done without the frozen buttermilk. However, this chamomile custard was quite a revelation and I liked the herbaceous aftertaste it had.
As for B, a very fruity plate of strawberry sorbet, lemon verbena sponge, and sheep’s yoghurt elderflower. Refreshing and summery, it was a sharp contrast to my dessert but rather good, too.
Fera is a restaurant for those who appreciate the wild, the farmed and the foraged. I salute Simon Rogan for respecting nature’s bounty and educating people through his cooking. The food is quite beautiful, and that goes beyond presentation – which, by the way, is deserving of its own Michelin star. Service was very good, if not a bit too polite, and drinks definitely can hit the spot. It’s a good place to bring a date (though possibly not the first), or a celebratory meal with your fambam.
Go and get wild over at Fera. You’ll hopefully respect nature after, too.