Five Fields opened in a quiet Chelsea street in May 2013. It was set up by Taylor Bonnyman, who had worked as a chef at Corton in New York. He leads the kitchen, along with head chef Marguerite Keogh, who worked formerly at Marcus. Five Fields was awarded a Michelin star in the 2017 guide. It offers “playful modern British cooking” according to its own website. I am not entirely sure what that means but it offered dishes such as foie gras with shimeji mushrooms and beetroot at the time of my latest visit. Perhaps the mushrooms frolic a little with the beetroot before service. Three courses were £85 or there was a tasting menu at £95 (£75 at lunch). The dining room has a plain wood floor well-spaced tables covered with neatly ironed white linen.
The lengthy wine list had 468 labels and ranged in price from £21 to £4,000, with a median price of £130 and a markup to retail price of around 2.8 times, which is not exactly generous but is quite fair by London standards. Sample references were Emiliana Adobe Reserva 2015 at £45 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £10, Elemental Bob White Blend Retiro Series 2016 at £65 compared to its retail price of £26, and Caballo Loco Number 16 Valdivieso at £99 for a wine that will set you back £50 in the high street. For those with the means there was Château Calon-Ségur 1998 at £300 compared to its retail price of £130, and Les Forts de Latour by Château Latour 1999 at £650 for a wine whose current market value is £235. A particular gem was the lovely Chenin Blanc wine Domaine Guiberteau Le Clos des Carmes 2013 at £150 compared to a retail price of £70.
The meal began with a series of canapes. A cod mousse in a crisp brik pastry cylinder was enjoyable if a touch bland. This was better than a pickled vegetable pie with olive oil jam, which seemed to me overly sharp and a little odd. Best of the canapes was ham and piccalilli croquette with dill mayonnaise, which had an enjoyable bite and good texture. Finally there was a pleasant lamb and vegetable broth. (average 14/20 for the nibbles). Bread was excellent, from Hedone bakery, with a sourdough and a 28-hour fermented ciabatta.
A trio of seafood dishes featured octopus braised with parsley purée along with potato and capers. This was quite tender, and the parsley not too dominant. Crab and bonito gel with pickled ginger seemed to feature frozen crab that nonetheless tasted fine. The best element was raw Orkney scallop with Perigord black truffles and truffle mayonnaise, which had a nicely sweet scallop and good truffles (14/20).
Things moved up a gear with the next course. Foie gras parfait with beetroot gel came with pickled shimeji mushrooms, rainbow carrots, roast beetroot, and a beetroot brioche. This was a pretty dish, the parfait having smooth texture and the sharpness of the pickling juices balancing the richness of the liver (16/20). A small lobster tail came with broccoli and yoghurt with mild curry sauce. The shellfish was tender and the gentle hint of spices worked nicely with the lobster (15/20).
Morels were the feature of the next dish, or to be precise a quartet of dishes. Canneloni was filled with scallop, morels and asparagus purée. Gnocchi came with vin Jaune sauce, duck tongue, tarragon oil and morels. There were also roasted morels with dried scallop broth and barley risotto with shaved fennel, roasted morels and mushroom emulsion. I am a big fan of morels and these had good flavour, working well with their assorted accompaniments (15/20).
There was also a quartet of mini dishes based around cabbage. Glazed veal sweetbread with Thai dressing topped with Brussel sprouts was superb, and probably the best single element of the meal. Also genuinely excellent was chicken and truffle mousse wrapped in Savoy cabbage with a rich truffle sauce. Beside these dishes was a pleasant mushroom Bolognese with kohlrabi and kale with a ponzu dressing. Finally there was a turnip and miso mousse dipped in cabbage gel with black radishes. This was an elaborate set of dishes, with the sweetbread and chicken mousse elements in particular really standing out (16/20).
Brill was pan-roast with a truffle glaze, along with leek and truffle fondue with oysters cooked in kohlrabi emulsion topped with creamed truffle sauce and black truffles. The sauce worked very well though I found the brill to be just a touch overcooked (14/20). Beef short rib was from Longhorn cattle from Huntsham Court in Devon. This was topped with candied carrots and came with a port and red wine sauce and a beef tendon crisp. The beef had good flavour and the carrots worked well with it; for me the sauce could have been a bit more intense in flavour but this was still a very nice dish (15/20).
A mostly British cheese board included Colston Basset Stilton, Caerphilly, the powerful Renegade Monk cheese from Somerset, Helford White from Cornwall, Coolea from Cork, Lord London from Sussex and Saint Tola from Ireland. These were in good condition. This was followed by a pre-dessert of apple sorbet using Granny Smith apples, along with kaffir lime zest. I am fan of apples and also of kaffir limes, though I am not entirely sure about the combination (14/20).
I preferred a strawberry tart using new season wild strawberries from Brittany, with white chocolate ganache and sansho pepper ice cream. The sansho pepper was very subtle, and I enjoyed the combination of flavours (15/20). Rhubarb with vanilla custard came with pickled rhubarb, compressed tarragon leaves, rhubarb jus with tarragon oil and rhubarb sorbet with milk tuile. While I was not entirely convinced about the tarragon, the rhubarb was good and had just enough acidity without being too tart (15/20). Chocolate flavoured with miso came with semi fried orange segments, chocolate “soil” and stout ice cream. The touch of sweetness of the miso was quite interesting, and the acidity of the orange cut through the richness nicely (15/20).Coffee was basic Nespresso coffee.
Service was excellent throughout. The bill came to £231 per person including plenty of wine plus a cheese course. If you ordered a la carte and shared a modest bottle of wine from the list then a more typical cost per person might be around £125. Overall this was an enjoyable meal, with a lot of work having gone into the dishes. It was a definite step up from my previous dinner here.
Further reviews: 08th Jun 2013