After visiting Marco Pierre White’s Wheeler’s in Threadneedle Street last year for the festive menu, I was extremely excited to try the new Christmas menu for 2016! Just as remembered, the decor with the high ceiling, quirky portraits of Marco himself, red leather seating and pretty Christmas lights gave a warm, festive feeling when entering the restaurant with a little Marco Pierre White touch!
Once seated at our table we were greeted with an incredible menu with endless options of dishes with a Christmas edge – but not your standard turkey and trimmings. Also on our table were Christmas crackers and a complimentary glass of bubbles each which is a great start to any meal, especially around this time of year.
I am not usually a fan of the traditional dinner. Turkey is my least favourite meat but of course I’d would never say no to a few pigs in blankets, it is December after all! As a result I was ecstatic to find there were so many more options than just turkey, so many in fact I was having trouble choosing which dishes to go for. While deciding we snacked on some warm bread and butter which I always think makes that extra difference to a meal (mainly because I would be happy living on warm bread and melted butter for the rest of my life – it is my weakness.)
For starters I decided to go for the risotto of smoked haddock, crispy quail’s eggs and spinach. I really do love risotto but it is usually the vegetarian option on a menu so never tend to choose it. When i saw that at Wheeler’s it was paired with smoked haddock and crispy quail’s egg it jumped above all the other starters. I am so pleased it did as for me this was the star dish of the meal. The portion was huge – maybe even a little too big which is not something you would often hear me say but I was nearly full by the time I was onto my main course. The risotto was creamy and flavoursome and the smoked haddock was light and matched the other flavours of the dish perfectly. The seasoning in risotto is usually something I judge the dish by too, it can sometimes be over seasoned with garlic and can end up being a little overpowering. This risotto however, was balanced with the right flavours and textures finding their way into my mouth and having a little food party on my tongue. The crispy quail eggs with their soft yolks topped the dish off to a strong 10/10 and were just a pleasure to eat.
My guest was very excited and interested to try her dessert-sounding starter. Some may find having a ‘Bon-Bon’ and ‘Pop’ to start strange but this savoury delight was more than impressive to say the least. Often small fried food can sadly taste of nothing, but not the crab bon-bon. These little crab balls were full of fresh chunky meat. The prawn brochette (not to be confused with bruschetta – skewers to us) sat elegantly on the plate and definitely added to the theatre of the plate. Soft and tender with just the right amount of crunch the prawns were cooked to perfection. The show stopper for my guest was the lobster pop, which accompanied with the light and creamy sauce could even keep her quiet for a few minutes.
Moving onto main course, staying away from the turkey I decided on the fillet of Buccleuch beef, pommes Anna, chestnut purée, truffle and Madeira jus. The entire dish was incredible and each part was married together perfectly on the plate. The cut of beef, cooked medium rare to perfection, was juicy and soft with a slight crisp on the outside which was full of flavour. You could tell how high the quality of the meat was from the first taste and even better it was accompanied by various sides and condiments. The beef was topped with a truffle crisp and served with thin, layered buttery potatoes (what could be better as a side!) and a beautiful Christmas-themed chestnut puree. Every bite was better than the last and I did not want this main course to end. I made sure every element of the dish was on my fork for every mouthful, not wanting to miss out on any of the flavours and my palate was grateful for this!
I have never seen my guest order a vegetarian dish as a main course, but much to my surprise she ordered the butternut squash ravioli mezzaluna with parmesan rocket and pine nuts, and I must admit I had slight food envy. Mezzaluna translates to ‘half-moon’ in Italian and the creatively shaped stuffed pasta were certainly packed with a soft and silky powerful flavour. Butternut squash may sound a little lonely or too delicate on its own, but the sheer simplicity of perfecting the right consistency and combining this with the saltiness of the parmesan, and crunch of the pine nuts made it a delicious dish. I think it’s safe to say my guest won’t be as quick to judge the vegetable anymore….although I don’t know many who could say no to a big bowl of pasta!
We definitely weren’t able to say no to a cheeky side as an extra addition to our mains. We went for a little pot full of creamy cabbage with crispy pancetta, it was basically a little pot of Christmas!
Somehow we managed to move on to dessert but with a huge struggle as we were already bursting at the seams. We decided it would be a wise decision to share a dessert and our initial thought on the cheese board too quickly went out the window as soon as we finished our main courses! For the final stage of the meal we went for white chocolate cheesecake, griottine cherries and chocolate sauce. After the first couple of bites I was slowly regretting opting to share as we could have demolished one of these each because it was so amazing! The sharpness of the cherries matched with the richness of the chocolate sauce and creaminess of the cheesecake created the most beautifully tasting amalgamation of flavours. Each segment of the dessert was distinguished with its own texture and taste and ended the meal with an amazing sweet tooth.
Just when we thought it was over, we were then greeted with Threadneedle’s luxurious mince pies, chocolate truffles and coffee. With out tummies full to the brim we asked to take these back with us in a little bag – needless to say this made us very popular back at the office!
Enjoying our amazing meal, surrounded by numerous Christmas parties, I would highly recommend this restaurant overall but especially over this Christmas period with their special festive menu. The set menu is running until 23rd of December and at an incredible value of £47.50 per person.
Marco Pierre White Wheeler’s Oyster Bar & Grill Room
5 Threadneedle Street. London, EC2R 8AY