MONDAY 12 NOVEMBER 2012 AN EVENING AT THE ARTICHOKE RESTAURANT
An Evening at the Artichoke Restaurant
About five or six years ago, I heard about a restaurant that had started in Old Amersham, not too far away from me. I was told that the food was good: customers of mine and other chefs alike were talking about this place. So I went to find out for myself. It was a tiny restaurant called The Artichoke.
We arrived for dinner, in this little restaurant, with maybe 12 covers. But it was beautiful, well loved, well kept - and superb cooking. I still remember the piece of skate I ate; beautifully cooked, presented, and served with warmth and charm.
So we came again, and again. Always the food was good, the welcome was warm. I believed - and still believe, along with many others, that Laurie (the chef here) deserves a Michelin star.
I became friends with Laurie and his wife Jackie - who manages the restaurant so well. I offered my support, and my encouragement: to build a restaurant, a loyal customer base, to make a living - this is not easy! Then the opportunity came for them to expand into the next door space: a huge undertaking. I offered my support - to help with the business plan. I am always happy to give a helping hand to young people - to encourage them as they strive for success.
So, The Artichoke grew and became a beautiful restaurant with 40 covers, and a lovely private dining room as well, while keeping its character. And Laurie and Jackie are working so hard to make it a success. Restaurants need customers, as we all know!
Some while ago we agreed that we would arrange a special evening at The Artichoke, celebrating the best of Laurie's talent, along with some dishes from our repertoire at Le Manoir. The date was fixed for 31 October, and so, along with my trusty Adam and Kush, we arrived to take part in a wonderful celebration. I had already spent the day with Eurostar, as I have just become their Culinary Director, so I was exhausted. But as soon as we arrived, the excitement and adrenaline kicked in, and off we went!
The great team of chefs from The Artichoke, with myself, Kush and Adam.
The menu was as follows (all photographs courtesy of Paul Winch-Furness):
Garden beetroot terrine, horseradish crème fraiche
Isle of Skye scallop, slow braised pork belly, cumin cauliflower
Confit salmon, dill cucumber, cauliflower, horseradish crème fraiche
Breast of squab pigeon, confit leg, sweetcorn, truffle, sprout tops
Goats milk mousse, sorrel sorbet
Exotic fruit ravioli, kaffir lime, coconut jus
Coffee with hand-made petits fours
The restaurant was completely full for the evening, and it was such a pleasure to see so many smiling faces, enjoying their food, the company and the ambience in this lovely restaurant. Laurie and Jackie have so much to be proud of, and they have worked so hard for it. If I can encourage people to visit their beautiful restaurant, then I must! I recommend the Artichoke to you all - definitely worth a visit!
9 Market Square
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T. 01494 726611
Paul Winch-Furness website: www.paulwf.co.uk
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