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Beck

Browns Hotel, Albermarle Street, London, W1S 4BP, United Kingdom

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For background about Beck at Browns and its chef, plus commentary on the wine list, please see my earlier review.

This meal began with some nibbles of anchovy crostini, which were pleasant though not especially exciting (14/20). A further amuse-bouche was sea bass ceviche with avocado with yuzu dressing and caviar. This was very enjoyable, the fish having good flavour, the saltiness of the caviar acting as a natural seasoning (15/20). Crab with grilled cabbage had a carrot and lemon dressing. The crab tasted very fresh and the slight acidity of the lemon dressing made this feel like a very refreshing starter. This was attractively presented, and the only real criticism is that one piece of shell made it into the dressed crab (15/20).

I tried the fagottelli carbonara, which was much more successful than the last time I tried it here, where there was a kitchen issue that caused the pasta to be too soft. The texture this time was excellent, the pasta parcels being filled with egg yolk, guanciale, Pecorino cheese and pepper. This filling melts when cooked, so as you bite into each there is a warm liquid centre. This is a Heinz Beck signature dish and the version today was well executed (17/20).

Lobster was served with morel mushrooms and black truffles with cep foam. Lobster is always a good test of a kitchen, as it is very easy to overcook, but the one here was tender, the truffles nicely lifting the flavour of the shellfish. The morels were good, though they were a touch lukewarm by the time they arrived, and the cep sauce complemented the lobster nicely (16/20).

I then had risotto with razor clams and fried courgette flowers with a hint of ginger. This used top notch Acquarello rice and had lovely texture, the courgette flowers light and attractive, the pieces of clam lightly cooked (16/20). Wild turbot came with green asparagus and wild mushrooms, as well as some little carrots. The fish was nicely cooked and the carrots had excellent flavour (15/20). A side dish of a puree of peas and broad beans was particularly impressive, the flavour of the vegetables lovely, with real depth (16/20).

A pre-dessert of Granny Smith apple came with ginger and pear sorbet and apple juice, and was a refreshing and attractive dish (15/20). Tiramisu had eggless coffee cake with marscapone, cocoa powder, marsala and chocolate sauce. The coffee flavour was suitably intense and the texture light (16/20). Even better was a Black Forest dish with a chocolate crumble base on top of which was cherry jam and kirsch sorbet with kirsch and ponzu sauce. This was particularly pretty but more importantly the taste was lovely, the cheery flavour really coming through, the ponzu meaning that the overall effect was not too rich (17/20).

The bill came to £117 a head, albeit with plenty of very nice wine. Service was excellent, and they were able to accommodate a vegetarian and a gluten-free guest admirably. This was the best meal I have eaten here so far, the cooking feeling more polished than my earlier visits, which makes sense since the kitchen team have had more time to settle in since the quite recent opening. We really enjoyed our meal here and I will definitely be back.

Further reviews: 08th May 2018

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  • Alan Spedding (cumbriafoodie)

    I actually spoke out loud 3 times during my trip through your photos there.... 2 x WOW and 1 x OMG. That food looks totally amazing , stunning and ohhh so edible. That`s definitely my kind of cooking and I`ll definitely have to visit that place next trip to London.

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