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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

Read more about AA ratings and awards

Creative and technically impressive cooking with local flavour

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Tasting menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass
Wheelchair access
Service charge

Laurie and Jacqueline Gear's high-flying restaurant may have its roots in the 16th-century with the gnarled oak beams, bare floorboards and the capacious inglenook that constitute its framework, but the whole interior design aesthetic has been reworked in a muted, contemporary style with modern art depictions of – you guessed it – artichokes; views into an open kitchen bring yet more life and energy to the space. If you notice that things have a distinctly Scandinavian look, that’s because fate propelled the restaurant along a new path a decade ago, when a fire in the neighbouring property forced it to close and Laurie used that downtime productively to put in a game-changing stint at Scandi superstar Réné Redzepi's Noma in Copenhagen. He returned to Amersham's market square fired up with new inspiration, and The Artichoke’s culinary direction has headed ever upwards. His dynamic, expertly crafted food arrives via a tasting menu (with wine flight), a veggie version, plus a carte and an excellent value set lunch. A spring version of the latter gets off to a flying start with superb breads – fluffy brioche flavoured with thyme, bacon and shallot, and Mackeson stout-flavoured wholemeal – and a terrific amuse of fennel mousse and crab purée to prime the tastebuds for a starter of sea trout tartare with pickled turnip and radish, crunchy seed wafers and lime cream cheese. There’s brilliance in the fish department too: main-course roasted cod loin comes with River Fowey mussels, chickpeas, taramasalata, crisp chicken skin and chicken broth, and to finish, the kitchen delivers a light-as-air galette of crisp pastry layered with poached pears, crème patissière and caramelised white chocolate alongside a harmonious Poire Williams sorbet. Elsewhere, components counterpoint each other cleverly in multi-faceted starters such as mustard and apple caramel-glazed bacon with apple jelly and purée, caraway pickled onion and pickled cauliflower, and there's plenty going on in complex main courses too: smoked saddle of venison might come partnered with chervil root, orange curd, pickled red onions and Brussels sprouts. Desserts are no less creative and appealing – dark chocolate and pistachio tart, perhaps, with buttermilk sherbet and salted caramel, or go for a savoury finish with French and English farmhouse cheeses with hand-made crackers. The Artichoke is a class act in every way, with smartly-dressed staff in stone-coloured aprons providing polished and professional service, and a wide-ranging and intelligently curated wine list whose imaginative bins cover the globe in style.

Opening hours

  • Closed: 2 weeks at Christmas and April, 2 weeks in August/September
  • Days closed: Sunday to Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 3
  • Dinner served from: 6.30
  • Dinner served until: 11

Chef

  • Chef: Laurie Gear, Ben Jenkins

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern European
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines under £30: 5
  • Wines over £30: 246
  • Wines by the glass: 13

Price guide

  • Starter from 13.50
  • Main course from24
  • Dessert from6.50
  • Tasting menu from38
  • Service charge
  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 48
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16
  • Off-site parking available: On street, nearby car park

Additional information

  • Seats: 48
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 16

Getting here

M40 junction 2. 1 mile from Amersham New Town

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Nearest train station

Amersham
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