Off to the Races

Saturday, March 14th , 2020

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I first visited Five Fields in Chelsea soon after it opened in 2013. It gained a Michelin star in 2017 and so it was interesting to see how the cooking had developed. Over a lengthy tasting menu, I tried some very good dishes, such as a sweetbread dish with Thai dressing and a chicken and truffle mousse wrapped in Savoy cabbage. Not everything worked as well as this, but inevitably there will be some unevenness over a lengthy menu. The staff were excellent and the wine list was not aggressively priced, so I can certainly see why Michelin awarded the star.

A more puzzling Michelin decision was the dropping of a second star from Le Champignon Sauvage (pictured) in Cheltenham. This restaurant, running since 1987, has a chef/owner who had literally never missed a service in all that time (on the rare occasions when he has been physically unable to be there, he has closed the restaurant). I had a very good meal, with the level of food being just as I remember it from a visit many years ago. It is hard to imagine getting much for consistent that a head chef who is at every service, so I am not sure what Michelin was thinking here. As a bonus, the restaurant is fairly inexpensive by high end standards, and the wine list is a joy: carefully chosen growers and modest mark-ups. It may not be cutting edge cuisine but that is no bad thing as far as I am concerned, and it is far from old fashioned.