Following a fire at the restaurant which spread from neighbouring premises in early 2008, The Artichoke in Buckinghamshire's sleepy Amersham was reduced to a gutted shell of its former self. Sixteen months later, thanks to the Herculean efforts of owners Laurie and Jacqueline Gear, it reopened its doors to be met with rapturous praise from the public and critics alike. Following several months of innovation and experimentation, this award winning restaurant has completely redesigned its menu - the results are, quite simply, sublime.
Head chef, Laurie Gear, has taken his French inspiration and once again applied his unique culinary talents to create dishes which are both innovative and elegant. Starters range from creel caught Scottish langoustines with English wild asparagus, pea mousse, bacon crisp, herb emulsion and wild flowers (a dish as pleasing aesthetically as it is to the palate), to the exquisite pan fried foie gras with pear sorbet, toasted spiced pain d'epices and chocolate jus. These are followed by a set of beautifully balanced main courses including delicacies such as slow cooked Dedham Vale rib eye beef with oxtail croquette, watercress sauce, new season garlic puree and spring vegetables, and pan fried fillet of Cornish sea bass with a lobster ravioli, spaghetti of vegetables and lobster bisque with saffron and orange. With a dessert menu boasting treats such as hot blush gooseberry soufflé with a praline crumble and elderflower sorbet, there really is no area in which The Artichoke does not excel. It hardly needs mentioning that all produce has been personally sourced by Laurie, who now patronises a collection of artisan producers, many locally within the Chilterns.
Also featured in: AA Guide, Good Food Guide, Harden's.
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