10-13 Grosvenor Square, London, England, W1K 4AB, United Kingdom

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Below are notes from a meal in January 2007, by way of comparison.

Here are notes on my most recent dinner at Maze. One oddity here is a fetish about peculiar cutlery. On the table are little stands into which a knife, form and spoon (barely) rest their sharp ends (if you see what I mean). The waiters must just hate these because requires the skill of a juggler to replace the cutlery into these utterly pointless stands once you have removed them to, for example, actually eat something. Hence in between each little tapas dish there was a cameo of me trying to putt my fork prongs into the little holes in this stand, failing and having the fork roll around the table, after which a waitress would have a go, admittedly usually with more success than me (perhaps they have training classes). Sometimes cutlery is replaced between courses, sometimes not; perhaps there is some sort of unwritten code for how much in the way of sauce or food fragments must be left over to justify a replacement. All in all I found this a pretty tiresome distraction from the food.

The meal started well with Jersusalem artichoke, poured at the table into a cup with a little duck ragout. On the side was a small cep brioche with cep butter. The duck ragout had excellent strong taste and the artichoke soup also had good flavour, fluffed up with a whisk a little before serving; I don’t think the cep brioche added anything (17/20). Next was an aberration: “native lobster” served with thin slices of turnip and a few tiny pickled girolles, served with an aigre doux (sweet and sour) dressing and seasoned with ginger salt. The “native lobster” was very chewy indeed, so much so that I sent it back. Worryingly, when the dish came back it was identical, yet it could hardly be cut with my knife; maybe a super-sharp Japanese chef’s knife would have done the trick, but you get the idea. The turnip would have balanced the lobster reasonably well, along with the sweet and sour dressing, but that supposes you could actually eat the lobster (10/20). The meal came back on the rails next with three lovely Orkney scallops, very tender having been roasted with spices (all spice was involved) and a peppered golden raisin puree, while one scallop rested on a little cauliflower puree (17/20).

Honey and soy roasted quail was very tender, served as two pieces with a little foie gras from Landes and a spiced quince chutney that seemed superfluous (16/20). Spiced Royal Berkshire pork belly (cooked for 24 hours) was tender, served with an excellent piece of fillet of pork hat had been cooked sous vide at just 55C for just under an hour; this technique worked really well here, the pork being moist and full of flavour. This was served with apple cardamom puree and a jasmine-flavoured reduction of the cooking juices. There was an unannounced little mash potato that was so creamy it was almost liquid, which I think would have been better in a more conventional solid state (17/20 for the pork if I ignore the odd potato). Bread was just two rolls: white and brown (15/20).

The wine list is extensive and has a perfectly reasonable idea of a “flight” of three wines. What is weird is that they deliver these (a mix of white and red in this case) on a little rack, the glasses hanging on the rack rather like those little hangers they have at buffets so you can hold a plate and a wine glass with one hand. This is a peculiar idea, since surely you want the wine to be served when it is appropriate, and at the right temperature. We skipped dessert (which had a lot of rather odd combinations, with nothing classical at all except sorbets) and then asked for the bill. This was a bit of a farce, as first the bill arrived with the lobster still on it (which I had not eaten) and then reappeared minus lobster but plus a mystery £52 bottle of wine. Third time lucky in the end. The meal had some high points e.g. the excellent soup and pork, and the lobster was hopefully just out of character. My wife’s dishes were generally 16/20 level except for a bland potato salad, so I think the 16/20 mark is just about OK

Further reviews: 06th Sep 2013 | 01st Jun 2008 | 01st Oct 2005

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