The Restaurant Marco Pierre White at the Oak Room

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Oystein Johnsen has an expensive lunch for one!

I was at MPW in the Oak Room in the end of October. I lunched alone, on my way to Glasgow from Oslo, and the food was terrific.

But alas, Marco's place is not cheap. My bill ran to Stg 340.00 which I thought quite steep, although I did have some decent wine to go with my food. Champagne is, for some reason, very expensive in the UK, and even more so in establishments like this. Since I was, as mentioned earlier, alone on this occasion, a glass of the stuff would have to suffice. I asked for a glass of 1983 Dom Perignon which was priced at Stg 25.00. Interesting, since I had not prevously sampled this vintage. When the waiter arrived, he brought a bottle of the 1990 which I have had on many occasions. It's a bit young to drink now I feel, and after asking the fellow what the price was, and being told it was the same as the '83, I told them rather bluntly, that it was overpriced, and requested a Kir Royal instead. It came to Stg 20.00. Hmm! - a glass of generic champagne with creme de cassis for twenty pounds?

The appetizer was 3 juicy oysters with ossietra caviar and an aspic. Very good and clean tasting. The problem when eating at establishments such as this at irregular intervals is that is difficult to choose. After trying to persuade one of the many waiters that I wanted an extra course, that is half each of two courses for a supplement, he told me Marco was not into that. I settled for scallops, which turned out to be 4 whole scallops, perfectly cooked and seasoned, but it was far from the best scallop dish I have eaten, especially at these prices.

With this I drank a 1/2 bottle of a Grand Cru Puligny Montrachet 89 which matched the scallops perfectly.

It was followed by a dish of pigeon with truffles, fois gras, cabbage and potato puree which was heaven. The pure was extremely rich and tasty. With it 1/2 bottle of a 1991 Volnay, another perfect match, suggested by the wine waiter.

Then followed cheese, which was good but not up to French restaurant standards in terms of quality and range.

For dessert I chose a spiced pinapple dish which left me stunned, it had TASTE, and left me feeling quite numb. I then settled in the lounge to have my espresso, a cigar and a digestif, and when I finished it all 4 hours had passed. I felt content.

By the way, the bread was excellent.

My judgement: After sampling all of London's 3 star establishments, Marco has the upper hand when it comes to the food. La Tante Claire (visited 3 weeks ago) is much cosier and a lot cheaper, but has lagged a bit since my last visit there. Nico Ladenis is a disaster, and my lunch there in January was the worst food I have ever had at a 3 star restaurant.

Oystein Johnsen email:

Compare this with the Oak Room pre Marco Pierre White. The description of the dining room is still accurate!

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