As you will see from the earlier post – Fairwell to Chris Staines, the Foliage is not going to be with us for that much longer in its current form. I do not know the exact date of its demise. According to our sources, the plan is to combine the space currently occupied by the Foliage and The Park Restaurant to provide a new 140 cover restaurant (Heston Blumenthals London flagship). Most of the area currently used by the Foliage will become the kitchen. A new (temporary) restaurant will be housed in the basement while this work is going on.
Update : November 2009 – Looks like the basement restaurant is not going to be temporary after all, as New York restauranteur Daniel Boulud is opening Europes first Bar Boulud restaurant in a previously unused space beneath the hotel.
Update : January 2010 – The latest information seems to be that the Foliage will be closing sometime in March.
Update : March 2010 – We attended a fairwell lunch at the Foliage, for details see post:
Had my last meal at my favourite London restaurant the Foliage with Chris Staines as Head Chef. Chris was in the last week of his 3 months notice before he moves onto pastures new. Heston Blumenthal will open up his first London restaurant in its place in the Mandarin Oriental in a years time.
What amazed me was that even in his last week Chris was producing simply breathtakingly stunning dishes…Respect.
Over the years I’ve had some fantastic meals at the Foliage. In fact I use it as a benchmark to judge every other restaurant I visit. The service there is exceptional and the way Chris uses flavour and texture is the mark of a true artist. I suspect that the much larger replacement restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental will not live up to the high standard set by Chris or indeed Heston at the Fat Duck.
So many celebrity chefs are going down the “franchise” route, with disastrous results. The Abode chain (Micheal Caines) being a prime example and don’t get me started on how awful Harveys is (John Burton Race).
I’d like to thank Chris and his team at the Foliage for giving us many memorable meals (It was my experience of eating at the Foliage that got me interested in food) and to wish him the very best for the future. I just wish he was staying in London as his talent will be sorely missed.
For a group booking it will be hard to beat this location, for either the glamour of the venue or the value for money.
When I went to The Park, it was with a group of 12 people, and we were choosing from an early evening set menu that included unlimited wine with the first two courses.
The food and the service were of the high standard you would expect from the Mandarin Oriental, but what really surprised us was the range of options. How many places do you know that do a set menu where 12 people can all have different desserts?.
On the down side, you do have the Mandarin bar next door, so anything you save on the food will most likely get spent on the fabulous cocktails.
You will however need to get in quick, before The Park disappears in the planned refurbishment to fit in Heston Blumenthals new London venture : see Foliage replacement – the Gossip.