Medlar has been open since April 2011, gaining a Michelin star in 2013 and 2014, though losing that star in the 2015 guide. The chef since the outset has been Joe Mercer Nairne, who used to work at Chez Bruce, and before that at Savoy Grill as well as Rockpool in Sydney. The restaurant is named after the medlar fruit, which was culivated as far back as Roman times, and needs to be stored in a dark, cool place for some time after picking in order for it to ripen. The dining room here is longer than it first appears when you enter, having several distinct sections, the tables covered with crisply ironed white linen tablecloths.
Three courses were priced at £40 from the a la carte, with one or two supplements for certain dishes e.g. the Anjou pigeon. The restaurant has an unusually good and quite lengthy wine list as well as moderately priced corkage. Sample references were Chateau de la Negly La Clape Brise Marine Blanc 2018 at £38 for a bottle that you can find in the high street for £12, Willi Schaefer Rieslin Kabinette Graacher Himmelreich 2014 at £58 compared to its retail price of £31, and Luke Lambert Syrah 2018 at £88 for a wine that will set you back £23 in the high street. For those with the means there was Clos Rougeard Breze 2012 at £395 compared to its retail price of £249, and Lucien Le Moine Batard Montrachet 2010 at £555 for a wine whose current market value is £455.
Crab raviolo came with brown shrimps, fondue of leeks, samphire and a bisque sauce. The crab tasted fresh, the pasta had good texture, and the bisque had plenty of shellfish flavour (15/20). The other starters our table tried also went down well with our well-travelled dining companions.
Venison from Scotland was served in two forms: as the loin and also with the shoulder being braised. This came with Jerusalem artichoke puree, chestnuts, salsify and crosnes (Chinese artichokes). The loin was cooked well and had lovely flavour, the slowly cooked shoulder being tender, and the earthy accompaniments worked well with the richness of the deer (15/20). For dessert, apple tarte tatin, made with Braeburn apples, was excellent, being nicely caramelised and with very good pastry (16/20).
Service was excellent, the staff being very capable and friendly, led by front of house manager David O’Connor. The bill came to £74 per person including coffee, mineral water, corkage and service. This was a very enjoyable meal, and better than plenty of the current one-star Michelin restaurants in London.Book