Editor's note: it was reported in May 2018 that Maze would close by January 2019 and be relaunched as a "new concept".
Since 2011 the head chef at Maze has been Tristan Farmer, who trained at The Peat Inn and Andrew Fairlie before moving to London and cooking for Gordon Ramsay at, amongst others, the flagship Royal Hospital Road restaurant. Maze is a very large restaurant, seating 95 diners at one time, as well as having three private dining rooms. A team of 24 chefs were cooking when I visited. There is even a sushi bar here now, as well as Maze Grill next door. A £25 set lunch menu was available, from which you can choose four dishes, or a seven course tasting menu was £75. I opted for the set lunch at my last visit.
The wine list comes on a tablet computer, with selections such as Ciro Bianco Librandi 2012 at £37 for a wine that you can find in the high street for about £10, Jermann Pinot Grigio 2012 at £59 for a wine that retails at £19, and Ata Rangi Pinot Noir 2010 at £105 for a wine that will set you back £39 in a shop. Vega Sicilia Unico 1998 was £680 for a wine that retails at £326. White and brown baguettes were bought in from Millers, and were decent but no more (13/20).
The first dish I tried was terrine of duck and foie gras, with cherries, cherry jam, sauternes jelly, Iberico ham and almonds. The dish was prettily presented, the terrine having plenty of flavour, the cherries giving balancing acidity (16/20). Mackerel with a beetroot glaze rested on a bed of potato salad, with horseradish, ponzu jelly and apple. This was another attractively laid out plate and well-balanced dish, the flavour of the mackerel good but not absolutely top rank (15/20).
I preferred pork belly with peas and wasabi, the crackling of the pork crisp but not too hard, the wasabi sauce going very well with the peas. Frozen wasabi imported from Japan was used, which is a big improvement on the tubes of coloured horseradish that most UK restaurants pass off as wasabi (16/20). Yuzu teacake had good texture, with mango and lime jam and smooth lemongrass oce cream (15/20). Coffee came with a selection of pettit fours, the best of which was a terrific mandarin jelly.
Service was very smooth, the bill with just mineral water and coffee plus the set lunch coming to £38 a head. Obviously this would be much more at dinner with wine. Despite the large scale of the restaurant, the standard of dishes was very consistent, the plating precise. Maze runs like a well-oiled machine.