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#1 Fran

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 01:07 PM

How come no one has mentioned this fabulous restaurant in Old Amersham?

It has to be far and away the best in Amersham. Not cheap, but as a rare treat it's worth every penny.

You can view pictures and sample menus on their website:
http://www.theartich...staurant.co.uk/
but better to go in person.

On the other hand, it's only tiny, and if too many people get to know about it, maybe it will become impossible to get a table without weeks of planning? Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it? But then again, good work should be rewarded, hence I strongly recommend it.

Well, that's whetted my appetite... must be time for another visit...

#2 David P

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Posted 20 September 2006 - 08:02 PM

How come no one has mentioned this fabulous restaurant in Old Amersham?

We can't afford it!
David P

#3 mvjt

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Posted 22 September 2006 - 08:47 AM

My biggest problem is lack of vegetarian meals listed!

There is not one in either the starters or main on the website - even us veggies like to eat out sometimes and a lot of my meat eating friends often want a good meat/fish free meal.

And before anyone starts with the normal arguments - I'm not a veggie by choice!

V

#4 roob_the_doob

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Posted 25 September 2006 - 10:25 PM

We went a year or so ago, and were very disappointed. It's not so much that the food was badly cooked, it wasn't. But each dish had far too much going on, so you couldn't enjoy the flavours. If they'd gone for a simpler style it would have been much much better.

It struck us as a restuarant to be seen in, rather than one to eat in. Gilbey's is much better value IMHO

#5 Zoom

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 09:21 AM

Well Gilbey's is certainly much better VALUE. I guess at Gilbey's you're paying around 30-50 a head and at Artichoke 70-100 a head.

But objectively Artichoke has the better quality, more stylish, classier and more adventurous food.

I guess the comment about "too much going on" is more a matter of personal preference and the style of the food. The food at Artichoke is definitely more ornamental and more involved but I like that. I like the theatre of upmarket restaurants.

And having eaten at quite a few well known restaurants (eg Fat Duck, Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saissons, The Waterside Inn, Mirabelle) and many other London Restaurants, I'd say that Artichoke compares favourably in way that Gilbey's doesn't.

#6 Fran

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:48 AM

And having eaten at quite a few well known restaurants (eg Fat Duck, Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saissons, The Waterside Inn, Mirabelle) and many other London Restaurants,

Lucky you!


It struck us as a restuarant to be seen in, rather than one to eat in.

Well it's so tiny, what are the chances of being seen by anyone significant?

#7 roob_the_doob

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Posted 26 September 2006 - 11:09 PM

Well Gilbey's is certainly much better VALUE. I guess at Gilbey's you're paying around 30-50 a head and at Artichoke 70-100 a head.


Nope. The Artichoke 3-course menu is 36, comparable to what you pay in Gilbey's. 70-100 is what you pay if you go for their tasting menu.

#8 Fran

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:49 AM

Yes, but that's 36 excluding drinks, and they're never cheap in decent restaurants.

So on that basis, I think Artichoke is certainly better than Gilbey's on both quality and value criteria.

#9 Zoom

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 09:29 AM

Well I've eaten at both and Artichoke worked out at about almost double per head.

#10 a t o m i c

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 01:31 PM

How come no one has mentioned this fabulous restaurant in Old Amersham?

It has to be far and away the best in Amersham. Not cheap, but as a rare treat it's worth every penny.


Better than Gilbey's? If so, it'll defintely be worth a booking.

#11 James516

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Posted 10 April 2007 - 08:04 AM

Better than Gilbey's? If so, it'll defintely be worth a booking.


I took my wife to Artichoke for a treat on Saturday night. The food was excellent, service attentive without being overbearing, and a pleasant and cosy atmosphere. It is more expensive than Gilbey's, but partly because the ambience is such that you feel like pushing the boat out a bit more (e.g. we had dessert wines, which we normally never have).

I'd recommend it for a special occasion.

#12 Denise

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:50 PM

I took my wife to Artichoke for a treat on Saturday night. The food was excellent, service attentive without being overbearing, and a pleasant and cosy atmosphere. It is more expensive than Gilbey's, but partly because the ambience is such that you feel like pushing the boat out a bit more (e.g. we had dessert wines, which we normally never have).

I'd recommend it for a special occasion.


We dined at Artichoke for the first time on Saturday night, and I would rate it as one of the better restaurants in Amersham - it was a really enjoyable experience. The food is perfectly balanced so you don't feel like you have been over or (even worse!!) underfed. Strangely we too went for the dessert wines, and I was never a fan of those until I tried Canadian Icewine.

Very good venue for a special meal. Normally we go to Gilbeys a couple of times a year, so it was great to find an alternative restaurant and at short notice too.

A return visit is highly likely - the tasting menu looked fabulous!

#13 Fran

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Posted 02 January 2008 - 08:52 PM

it was great to find an alternative restaurant and at short notice too.

I'm surprised you got a table at short notice; it's so tiny and normally booked up well in advance. But then again, we've sometimes eaten out between Christmas and New Year (not at Artichoke) and found it very quiet - in fact once we had a whole restaurant to ourselves for almost the entire meal!

#14 Ian

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 09:39 AM

I'm surprised you got a table at short notice; it's so tiny and normally booked up well in advance. But then again, we've sometimes eaten out between Christmas and New Year (not at Artichoke) and found it very quiet - in fact once we had a whole restaurant to ourselves for almost the entire meal!


We were lucky enough to get a table at short notice last Friday.
Really indulged and had the tasting menu with different glass of wine with each of the courses.
Very very good.

Nice touch was the chef coming to chat with us at the end of the meal to ask how we had enjoyed the experience.

Service excellent with engaging staff who described each wine/food combination.

Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

#15 Alan

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 03:40 PM

How come no one has mentioned this fabulous restaurant in Old Amersham?

It has to be far and away the best in Amersham. Not cheap, but as a rare treat it's worth every penny.

You can view pictures and sample menus on their website:
http://www.theartich...staurant.co.uk/
but better to go in person.

On the other hand, it's only tiny, and if too many people get to know about it, maybe it will become impossible to get a table without weeks of planning? Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned it? But then again, good work should be rewarded, hence I strongly recommend it.

Well, that's whetted my appetite... must be time for another visit...

Your right it is expensive, but for an occasion the menu look very interesting, just got to sell the family into slavery and I'll give it a try :lol: :D

#16 Fran

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Posted 23 March 2009 - 01:02 PM

After being gutted by fire in June 08, they're hoping to reopen summer 09. Meanwhile, the chef proprietor, Laurie Gear is teaching at Novelli's academy and researching new dishes. See Artichoke website, news.

#17 Fran

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 05:38 PM

In their own words:

ARTICHOKE REFURBISHMENT UPDATE

We are delighted to announce that the refurbishment is in full swing now and moving swiftly towards a completion date late Summer / Early Autumn.

Our featureful 16th Century Oak frame has been replicated to the highest level and we now have gable ends and a roof once again!

We promise to be in touch very soon with the release of a reopening date.

Laurie and his Chefs have been working hard on a whole new repertoire of dishes for the reopening and he is currently on 'stage' with his Sous Chef at Noma Restaurant, Copenhagen (voted 3rd best Restaurant in the world by Restaurant Magazine).

#18 Zoom

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 05:50 PM

Interesting.... when I went past the other day you could clearly see that Artichoke's roof had been fully replaced.... and the one at the end looked almost complete.... but it didn't look as if any work had taken place on the roof of Famous Fish and the charred roof beams were still open to the air.

#19 mitzi

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 07:30 PM

I'm looking forward to The Artichoke re-opening, good to have an upper-end eatery in the town amidst the pizza/pasta brigade (I've always found Gilbey's to be a bit disappointing). I've had some memorable meals at The Artichoke on special occasions, the food is fabulous, lets hope it continues to be when it re-opens - soooooooon please! C'mon builders! :lol:

#20 mitzi

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 10:52 AM

I drove past the The Artichoke yesterday, scaffolding is down and a sign is up saying 're-opening in the Autumn' - so not long now (must remind husband that it's his turn to take us out!!). Good luck to them.

#21 jarrod

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 01:58 PM

We had dinner at The Artichoke on Saturday night, our first visit since they re opened, and it was excellent.

We had the tasting menu, which is more or less the one that is currently on their website and thought that we could notice a marked improvement from our "pre-fire" visits. The quality and presentation is even better than it used to be.
The only slight dissappointment was the meat of the main course which wasn't as tender as expected. I had lamb and my wife had beef, they both looked like they should melt in your mouth but were both just a little bit tough, that said they were both very tasty. As for the other courses they were all delicious with the "young beets, shepton goats cheese" and "poached fillet of brill, white onion and cider mousse" courses standing out above the others.

Atmosphere was nice and relaxed and there was quite a buzz to the place, although being such a small restaurant I suppose that this can vary depending on the other customers and what the split of tables is on any particular evening (e.g. larger groups tend to generate more chat/noise).

When I initially called to book, they asked if they could have the table back after a couple of hours as they need to recycle the early tables due to the fact that they only have 24 covers. I was reluctant to do this as I anticipated that we would go for the tasting menu so they agreed to let us have the table for the whole evening if we pre booked the tasting menu. An alternative would have been to book a later (than 7:00p.m.) table.

So I would like to say welcome back to The Artichoke and am looking forward to visiting again soon. The next visit may not be quite so extravagant (this one was a special occasion), but with set lunches starting at 19.50 it's not really that much more expensive than a lot of other local restaurants.

I know that this restaurant is not to everyone's liking and suspect that if you didn't like it before, you still won't like it now because the concept is still the same, but if you did like it before, I suspect that you will like it even more now, we certainly did.

#22 ITSMEAGAIN

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Posted 01 April 2010 - 01:48 PM

For me the artichoke is more style over content. It's trying so hard to achieve a Michelin star that it's missing the real point, which is serving good quality food, cooked properly and offered at sensible prices. Not London prices or those of a restaurant which has already achieved the somewhat questionable status of a Michelin star.

I fail to see how "jarrod" below can give such a resounding plus for a high priced restaurant that serves up tough meat! Or one that pressurizes you into taking the more expensive option of the tasting menu in order for you to have a relaxed meal without having to keep looking at your watch. Any restaurant is essentially about the quality of the food, and of course the price of that food and I believe this restaurant fails on both counts. It's very expensive without being anything exceptional. Having been lucky enough to have eaten in many 1,2 and 3 star Michelin restaurants, as well as far more humble establishments, and I can honestly say that for me the Artichoke falls into the latter category.

Again for me, Amersham and in fact most of the surrounding areas is sadly lacking a really good restaurant of any description. This is probably why ones like the Artichoke achieve a status beyond their true worth.

#23 jarrod

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Posted 02 April 2010 - 11:53 PM

Whilst I believe that everyone has the right to their own opinion, I do not like to be misquoted. It seems that my comment regarding the meat not being "melt in the mouth tender" has turned into "tough meat" and my comment regarding the restaurant advising me of their booking policy turns into presurised upselling, neither of which were true.

I don't mind restaurants having time limits on a table as long as I am advised at the time of booking, that way I can decide whether or not to continue with my reservation. Two hours would be perfectly fine for a relaxed 3 course meal but I was pretty sure at the time of booking that we would be trying the tasting menu therefore mentioned this and was offered the table all night if I confirmed there and then, no pressure just a simple decision.

I do agree that Artichoke is aiming for Michelin stars and believe that this is no bad thing, I hope they achieve it as this will show that have improved even more. They are not there yet, but I think they are heading in the right direction as some of the courses that we had were comparable to 1 and 2 star restaurants that we've eaten in.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I know that some people don't think as highly of Artichoke, but my opinion is that it is easily the best restaurant (that I know of) in the area around Amersham.

#24 roob_the_doob

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Posted 03 April 2010 - 12:04 AM

IMHO it's OK for the price, but no more than that. For the price, I'm looking for "wow". On neither occasion when we've been (once a la carte, once tasting) have we come away thinking "wow" or even close. For one thing, there's more than a hint of trying too hard, that results in the dishes being too fussy and overcomplicated.

Yes the food is good, and in terms of quality alone it's certainly arguable that it's the best hereabouts, and if you've money to burn and want to eat locally it's a decent choice. But at those prices it'll be a while before we give it another go.

#25 Fran

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 12:07 PM

Business is up (which is just as well given that their insurers deducted 20% from the loss of business claim because of the recession) and they now have 12 extra covers upstairs. See Daily Telegraph article.

#26 Fran

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 10:02 AM

We went to the Artichoke last night (yes, I know England were playing, but I didn't when I booked :unsure: ) for the first time since it reopened. It felt slightly lighter and hence more spacious, and the staff were charming, but not obsequious.

We had the tasting menu, which was slightly different from the one on the website (www.artichokerestaurant.co.uk), and it was very good. It's more conventional than somewhere like The Fat Duck, but each is excellent in its own way.

I don't know how long they've been serving the particular dishes we had (except for the compressed melon with green tea sorbet, which was having its first outing), but I didn't find it fussy or overcomplicated. Some of the courses were (deceptively) simple, but loaded with flavour. For example, the first course was a chilled tomato soup with pesto and basil. Some mouthfuls were strongly tomatoey and some strongly basilish; all were delicious. Lightly curried scallops were another highlight. Actually, so was the beef (which did "melt in the mouth", Jarrod, so they've upped their game)... and the pudding. It was all very good.

Although we opted for a set menu, they were very accommodating:
  • I can't eat cooked cheese and hate goat's cheese, so asked for my portion of one of the early courses to be served without the goat's cheese mousse. Instead they offered me a quail breast starter from the menu and actually, I think that was the best course of all those I had.
  • When I booked, I had mentioned it was my husband's birthday and that it would be nice if they could put a candle in his pudding. Instead they brought out an extra course with a jellied fruit, small piece of mango and coconut cake and raspberry sorbet in white chocolate each, on a plate with "Happy Birthday" written in chocolate sauce.

It's too expensive to go often, but we're lucky to have such an excellent restaurant in our town and I wish it continued success.

#27 Matthew (Admin/MPJ)

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 11:47 AM

The Artichoke has won an award from The Good Food Guide

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#28 mvjt

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:57 AM

I've heard a rumour they are expanding into the Famous Fish restaurant.

#29 Fran

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:18 PM

I've heard a rumour they are expanding into the Famous Fish restaurant.


You may have heard that rumour here, in May. However, at the time it was first raised it was highly improbable for the reasons given in the post below the idea.
See Post in Famous Fish topic.

However, if you have new information, please share...

#30 Fran

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:41 AM

In their own words, the rumour is true: Artichoke is hoping to expand into the old Famous Fish building. See Image of Times article in the topic about their recent award.

More details on their recent awards:

The Good Food Guide Editor’s Award for Best New Entry 2011: http://www.thegoodfo...ditorial-awards

It was #43 in The Good Food Guide’s Top 60 Restaurants: http://www.thegoodfo...rants-announced.

Other nearby listings include The Fat Duck at #1, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons at #3, the new(ish) restaurant at Danesfield House in Marlow at #13, plus many in nearby London.