Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental, London

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Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental

We're rewarded by broad smiles, soft welcomes and soothing tones. Foliage is a small room with enormous windows that offer a lovely view of Hyde Park, up close and personal. Guests are welcomed by not 3 but 4 courses. And for a price that's an absolute steal in what can be a criminally expensive city £29. Yes you read right, £29 for lunch.

The menu has 4 choices which is generous and all of them call out in some way. We finally decide on some dishes after a little deliberation. We're given bread, a choice of white, sourdough or walnut with salted and unsalted butter (walnut the clear winner, singing with walnut flavour through the copious amount of chunks).

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental chive vichysoise

Amuse Bouche: Chive Vichyssoise

We're then bestowed with our Amuse Bouche, a Chive Vichyssoise. It's creamy and smooth with a light mascarpone quenelle floating in the centre. A delicious start.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental crab

Starter: crab, mango, cucumber and coriander

Our starters then arrive, mine was the crab, mango, cucumber and coriander. The crab meat is delicate and sweet, the thing mango slices swirled on the plate with cucumber flavoured pasta and coriander sprigs. It all works beautifully together, never overwhelming the delicate crab. There are two delicious fried crab balls to give an alternate texture and taste.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental foie gras

Starter: Foie gras, beetroot, ginger bread and pecans

Blythe's starter, a Foie gras, beetroot, ginger bread and pecans cleverly resembles rhubarb stalks. I do like Foie gras although sometimes I find it too strong. Not in this case, it's beautifully balanced and beetroot goes wonderfully with the foie gras mousse. There is also a ball of foie gras rolled in pistachios which is also wonderful with the walnut bread which is thoughtfully topped up for us.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental scallops

Intermediate: Scallops, squid ink, orzo, green almonds

After a brief rest our Intermediates arrive, Scallops, squid ink, orzo, green almonds topped with generous flakes of gold leaf. The scallops are seared on the outside and sliced in half, which is one of my pet dislikes. I love the texture of a fat juicy scallop. But despite this it is a great dish, full of flavour, the squid ink giving the orzo an unusual taste along with the clouds of creamy emulsion.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental sweetbread

Intermediate: Sweetbreads, glazed leeks, morels and salted peanuts

The other Intermediate: Sweetbreads, glazed leeks, morels and salted peanuts reminds me of that hilarious scene in Ferris Beuller's Day Off where Ferris orders Sweetbreads, only to find out that they are Pancreas. If he had tried this dish, he would have swallowed without hesitation. The sweetbreads are wonderfully soft and perfectly paired with the leeks and heavenly morels.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental duck

Main: Duck, peach and edive tatin, cep puree and thyme

We wait a little longer for our mains but they are worth it. In fact, if we thought that the starters and Intermediates were good, they are about to be surpassed by the mains. My main, the Duck, peach and edive tatin, cep puree and thyme is tender juicy morsels of pink centered duck complemented by a sweetish peach tart tatin and baby salad. It's harmony and ecstasy everything in between.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental Guinea fowl

Main: Smoked guinea fowl, truffle polenta, white asparagus and lemongrass

The second main has me quietly moaning from pleasure, the Smoked guinea fowl, truffle polenta, white asparagus and lemongrass is an unusual but perfectly balanced combination, the guinea fowl so, so, so tender while the truffle polenta tastes of real truffle, not that bizarre truffle oil stuff, so heady and beautiful. The white asparagus giving the creaminess a little break. I have to be torn away from this dish.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental chocolate dessert

Dessert: Milk chocolate, thyme anglaise, olive oil ice cream

The first dessert, a most unusual but deliriously good combination of milk chocolate pudding in a delicate milk chocolate cup. And because I know you're curious about it, the olive oil ice cream is indeed olive oil-y in flavour but ice cream in texture. Interesting, although I don't know if I'd order a scoop of it on its own.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental apple dessert

Dessert: Calvados souffle, green apple iced parfait, sea salt caramel

The calvados souffle is a slender glass of risen souffle redolent with calvados and green apples, deliciously sweet and light as a souffle should be. The striped sea salt caramel is intensely salty and sweet, the green apple iced parfait is thrillingly and chillingly intensely flavoured.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental strawberry pannacotta

Vanilla Pannacotta, strawberry sorbet, buttermilk mousse and Elderflower

And because we are the luckiest diners in all of London today, we're given a complimentary dessert, the Vanilla Pannacotta, strawberry sorbet, buttermilk mousse and Elderflower, a dessert we'd seen sweeping past us earlier as we followed its journey to a neighbouring table craning our necks the whole time. It's a definite wow dessert in looks and taste, the thick vanilla pannacotta sitting at the bottom of the martini glass topped with finely diced marinated strawberries. Then on top lies a disc of thin white chocolate topped with the creamy, light buttermilk mousse and elderflower and a quenelle of strawberry sorbet, fresh, light and flavoursome.

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental Petit fours

The chocolates, rich and dark are gorgeous. The rectangular chocolate is given a drop of syrupy balsamic from a dropper at the table. It's a fittingly delicious end to the meal. We leave feeling light as air and like not a care in the world. If only we could live here...

Foliage at the Mandarin Oriental

66 Knightsbridge London SW1X 7LA, United Kingdom

Lunch:

12pm-2:30pm Monday-Sunday

Dinner:

7pm-10:30pm Monday-Saturday and 7pm-10pm Sunday