Restaurant Review: Marcus, Belgravia

Date of visit: May 2021

Marcus is the first post lockdown restaurant I visited (indoors) - I booked the first week off work specifically to have lunch in a few new places, and dined by myself. The restaurant is located within the 5 star Berkeley hotel in Knightsbridge which as you would expect is beautiful throughout. The dining room was as nice as you would expect for such a hotel, with nicely spaced out tables, largely set up with guests facing into the restaurant as opposed to having their backs to the room. For a Tuesday lunchtime it was quite busy - almost full - but not too surprising given the first week with indoor dining. 

The lunch options included the usual 5 or 7 course tasting menus (£110 and £125 respectively) but I opted for the three course lunch menu at £55. I usually save the expense of a full tasting menu for Saturday nights (not alone!) as weekday lunches are a great opportunity to try somewhere new for a lot less money.

Each menu had the option of paired wines at about 90% of the respective menu price. The tasting menus also had a prestige pairing option for twice the food menu price. I don’t personally like paired wine options as I find the amount of wine overwhelming and normally end up with a table of half full glass of wine by the end of the meal. Luckily Marcus has a great selection of wines by the glass (125ml) or half bottle, so there is really no issue with ordering one by one. I chose a lovely glass of Australian Chardonnay for £12. I always choose wines using Vivino and this was a 4.1. This is no doubt hated by sommeliers but I have had numerous poor suggestions in the past at restaurants of all levels so much prefer the reliability of the scores on Vivino. This is probably a good thing as I noticed the table next to me opted for a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc at £10 a glass with a 3.1 rating on Vivino. Admittedly it had not so many reviews, but still.

All in all, I thought this was the perfect lunch to celebrate the reopening of indoor dining. At a slightly higher price than other lunches I have had but the quality was obviously better than most at around the £30-£40 lunch menu range. My meal cost £83 including one glass of wine, a bottle of sparkling water (£6.50) and service.

The Bread and Butter

Good bread and butter is a sign of a good restaurant. If the effort doesn’t extend to this part of the meal this do not bode well for everything else!  Bread should be tasty, well textured, ideally warm and served with room temperature butter. 

Marcus ticked all of these for me with a pork and fennel brioche and French baguette, served with a salted butter. The brioche was of course very flavoursome but as was the baguette, which had a perfect crust and soft interior. The butter was perfectly salted and it spread perfectly easily as it was at the correct temperature. Full marks!

The Menu

Things started off with a canapé. I didn’t quite catch what it was (perhaps due to the muffling effect of face masks) but some sort of purée within two crackers. It was very tasty and a great start. I would have taken a photo but it had fallen over when it was presented.

There was no amuse bouche. To be honest I was expecting one as this is a slightly more expensive lunch menu.

For starter I chose scorched mackerel with taramasalata and pickled spring vegetables. The portion was fairly generous actually with two pieces of fish, which was beautifully prepared and full of flavour. The taramasalata wasn’t too salty and the vegetables were very delicately pickled. The only criticism I have on this dish is that the knife I was given was not very sharp and it couldn’t slice through the mackerel. Instead I had to squash and tear at the fish which was a bit of a shame given the delicate nature and presentation.

For my main course I chose rump of lamb with courgettes. This was served with an onion and chive emulsion and a beautiful sauce, as well as a surprise substance not on the menu which I think the waitress said was homemade ricotta. Whatever it was it was mixed with courgette and was totally delicious. The lamb was quite a big portion served just pink, perhaps slightly more cooked than I would prefer but wonderfully tender. It also had a lovely smokiness to it. I wasn’t asked how I would like it cooked which is fine with me as I’m happy for the restaurant to present is as they recommend. The restaurant definitely needs to upgrade their cutlery as again the knife was not sharp enough to easily slice through the lamb giving the impression of the meat being over cooked which was not the case. This dish was the highlight of the meal.

For pudding I chose the rum baba - which is unusual for me as I’m not a fan of cake after a meal but I’m also not a massive fan of deeply chocolatey puddings or panna cotta which were the other options. This was really lovely and perfectly moist, served with mango purée and a coconut ice cream. Probably not the best desert I have ever eaten because it’s not my favourite kind, but if you are a rum baba aficionado this would be one for you!

The Service

As you would expect for a restaurant like this, the service was excellent and there was a stream of attentive waiters and waitresses throughout the meal. I never had to ask for anything as anything I could have wanted was offered, without being overbearing.

As mentioned in the intro the dining room is lovely however there was what I would consider a huge issue with my table. The table cloth had two stains on it, one of them about the size of a penny and right by my right hand. It was immediately noticeable and frankly detracted from the experience of a fine dining meal. I put my phone on top of it to hide it. It might sound like a small issue but I was genuinely tempted to ask for a different table or replacement cloth but I felt that would have caused a scene in what I assumed would be a full lunch service. This is an easy thing to fix that anybody working in the restaurant could have spotted but alas, it was not.


Bread and butter: 5/5

The bread was really excellent, varied - meets all the criteria for 5/5

Food: 4/5

Really lovely food but not quite wow all the way throughout the meal

Service: 3.5/5

I'm dinging the service entirely due to the marks on the tablecloth which might sound petty but really had an impact on the meal. The actual service from the staff was excellent.

Value for money: 3/5

The price is about what you would expect for this level of cooking, but no amuse bouche or petits fours.

Overall score: 3.9/5


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