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The Artichoke

9 Market Square, Old Amersham, AMERSHAM, HP7 0DF

3 rosettes

Proving the dictum that 'it's an ill wind that blows no good', chef-patron Laurie Gear made excellent use of the enforced closure of his restaurant (by a fire in the neighbouring premises in 2008) to spend a period in the legendary Noma in Copenhagen. He returned reinvigorated and inspired, and together with his wife Jacqueline, who takes care of front-of-house, actually expanded The Artichoke into that fire-damaged neighbouring property - in fact the Scandinavian sojourn even inspired the interior décor of the revamped operation. The Artichoke sits in pole position on the market square of the lovely old town, the Grade II listed building combining the best of its original 16th-century features - a huge open fireplace, oak beams, and painted brick walls - with a chic 21st-century sheen involving designer chairs, walnut tables and modern art in three stylish dining areas, one sharing space with a new open kitchen. And you can rest assured that what emerges from that kitchen is inventive, ambitious, often quite complex, and supported by top-class technical ability. Ingredients (locally sourced, foraged too) are as good as you'll get, and flavours unapologetic, as witnessed in a full-throttle starter of pan-fried quail's breast with crispy stuffed leg, pickled artichokes, watercress, toasted hazelnut, and hazelnut mayonnaise. A more delicate accompaniment of cauliflower purée, pickled romanesco, baby spinach, and chervil foam supports a main course of roast hake; elsewhere, the flavours are turned back up to 11 in a punchy fish and meat combo comprising braised Dingley Dell pork cheeks, langoustines, star anise carrot purée, fennel salad, roast carrot, and bacon and star anise crumb. There's plenty going on, too, in a well-judged dessert of Michel Cluizel white chocolate ganache with amaretti biscuits, Amalfi lemon and olive oil jelly, and lemon and thyme sherbet. AA Restaurant of the Year for England 2013-14.

Further information

Tel: 01494 726611
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Open/closed

Days closed: Sun-Mon
Dates closed: 1 wk Xmas & Apr, 2 wks Aug/Sep

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern European
Chef: Laurie Gear, Ben Jenkins
Number of seats: 48
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Steps for wheelchair: 1
Vegetarian meals available.
Children welcome.
Children's portions.

 

Restaurant price guide

A La Carte Dinner Main Course from: £20.00
Prices are for guidance only. Please check when booking for current rates.

 
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M40 junct 2. 1m from Amersham New Town
Nearest station: Amersham

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