Dinner at Fera is like a glimpse into another – extraordinarily beautiful and opulent – world and really, for the Michelin starred price point & joyful experience of it all, isn’t that kind of the point?
From the moment you step inside, you’re treated like royalty by staff who are utterly charming, incredibly polite and sincerely welcoming. Lofty ceilings and art décor grandeur make you wish you’d been born into 1920’s aristocracy while the curling branches of a focus pulling, twisty-limbed, sun-bleached tree, remind you that the plates of food you’re about to taste are focused on the natural, the seasonal and the local.
At £110 for the tasting menu and between £95 and £150 for accompanying wines, this is not a restaurant designed for your average Tuesday night supper but rather conceived to connect you to home-grown ingredients (most of which on my visit came from former Head Chef Simon Rogan’s own farm) that represent the seasons with ‘fera’ translating as ‘wild’ in Latin.
Rogan’s original restaurant L’Enclume is a 2 Michelin starred establishment that was recently voted number one in The Good Food Guide’s ‘Top 50 Restaurants’ for 2017; to say I was in safe hands here is to suggest that Miley Cyrus likes controversy.
From crispy fried & stewed rabbit perched atop pea-green lovage puree and sea-herb topped squid to petite buckwheat pastry cases filled with almond and topped with kale, the first three courses were imaginatively created and beautifully presented.
Streamlined portions leave you wanting more if they’re done well.
I wanted another dozen of each.
Cornish lamb, sweetbread with carrots, king oyster mushroom & wild garlic ushered in the mains with a quiet and spring fresh confidence…
…while halibut cooked in pine with Wye Valley asparagus, peas & whey brought flawless flavours of the ocean & the field to our table.
Vying for pole position as my favourite main course of night were two champion dishes that couldn’t have been more different. Raw Dexter beef with coal oil, pumpkin seeds & kohlrabi was iron rich in flavour and impeccably put together in appearance…
…and pearl barley & bulgar in stout with Isle of Mull purple sprouting broccoli was a deeply satisfying & assuredly simply savoury dish of umami glory.
Desserts were gorgeous; Yorkshire rhubarb paired with rose, Douglas fir yoghurt & honeycomb…
…anise hyssop, honey & sweet cheese was floral & delicate…
…while petite fours included the most modern and accomplished take on a fruit pastille I’ve ever had in the form of smoked beetroot jellies.
Wines and champagnes are explained by staff clearly passionate about what they’re serving and it’s a nice touch when chefs come from the kitchen to deliver certain courses.
By the end of several hours here you’ll feel more than comfortably full and like you’ve experienced something very special – if it’s an occasion you’re looking to celebrate, Fera should be top of your list.