We visited the Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia, London for a 12 course Thai tasting lunch.
There are three Crazy Bear venues. One in Stadhampton, Oxfordshire, one in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire and the one in London which we visited.
The décor of the Crazy Bear in Fitzrovia is modern with a quirky twist. The upstairs, which is the ground level as you go in, is dressed with leather chairs surrounding wooden tables with chrome lamps sitting on them.
The tables are quite closely packed in, so you can feel quite intimate with the table next door, but we went when it was quite quiet so we didn’t have anyone sitting next to us until just before we left.
The lower floor is exceptionally quirky. The sweeping staircase leads down to a large bar, which pretty much spans one wall. Again there’s lots of leather and wood. Trying to find the bathrooms could be tricky as they are hidden behind panels which just look like the wall, but the exceptionally attentive team there are obviously used to this as I got a very helpfully detailed description of how to find the secret panel for the ladies’ bathroom.
Soon after arrival we were presented with our first three courses, which were sharing appetisers of steamed edamame, crispy seaweed and shrimp crackers with sweet chilli dipping sauce. The edamame were served with Japanese chilli powder and rock salt and were particularly delicious. My other half hasn’t had edamame before but he almost at the whole bowl. I’m not usually a big fan of seaweed, but it was delicious. It was really crispy and not at all greasy.
After the appetisers we moved on to some cold starters, which consisted of wagyu beef tartar and seabass sashimi. The wagyu beef tartar was served in tiny taco shells and was delightful. The seabass sashimi was served with ponzu sauce, which is one of my favourite sauces for fish. It’s a citrus soy sauce and goes really well with sushi. I discovered it when I was in Bermuda and like to treat myself to a bottle on occasion, but it is tricky to find in our local shops.
Five course down and I’ll tell you I was starting to feel a little full already. We next moved on to the hot mains. We were brought out the following –
Roasted mandarin Cherry Valley duck
Honey roasted loin of Gloucestershire Old Spot pork
Crispy belly of Gloucestershire Old Spot pork
Lobster pad Thai noodles
Wok fried aubergine in black bean sauce
Steamed jasmine rice
Are you feeling full up yet? I know I was, even just trying some of these dishes. The tasting dishes were somewhat larger than I expected them to be.
The lobster pad Thai noodles were absolutely divine as was the aubergine dish. The duck was a little over cooked for my liking and the pork loin perhaps a little dry. But the pad Thai more than made up for that. We wouldn’t have been able to finish all the plates, even if we had wanted to.
After our mammoth set of mains, we had one final course, which was dessert. We were served chilli and Valrhona chocolate torte with tonka bean ice cream.
Never heard of Valrhona chocolate before? No me neither. It’s a French brand of premium chocolate, made near Lyon and it was delicious in this torte. My other half would have preferred the torte a bit sweeter (he’s got a very sweet tooth) but I thought it was spot on. Now, tonka bean ice cream. That is one I would give a thumbs down to. It wasn’t to either of our tastes. You may never have heard of a tonka bean. It’s a wrinkly flat bean from South America. It’s not something I’ve tried before, so I was glad to try it, but it really wasn’t my cup of tea. We washed the whole affair down with Pere et Fils Champagne. Scrumptious!
Overall the food was of a very high standard and you would have never left the Crazy Bear hungry, as the tasting dishes were somewhat large. The servers were very polite and really attentive, whipping away dishes as soon as we had emptied the plates and keeping our drinks topped up. I was super-impressed by the service.
The lunch cost £29.50 per person, as I purchased this as a voucher in advance. Fantastic value for a great selection of dishes in such a unique venue.
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