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The Mirabelle Cookbook

by Marco Pierre White
Photographs by William Lingwood

160 pages, 9 1/2" x 12", hardcover, Ebury Press; $45
ISBN 0-09-186833-5
Reviewed by Paul Clark

From the pages of Epicurean

Englishman Marco Pierre White is the youngest chef ever to win three Michelin stars. He's the owner of the Oak Room, the Criterion, the Café Royal, the Mirabelle and the Titanic, all successful restaurants in Britain. He is also the author of three previous cookbooks.

White acquired the Mirabelle in 1997. The restaurant had been around since before World War II, and had a fine reputation for decades, before going through several owners and chefs in the 1980's and '90's. White set about redesigning the restaurant, bringing back some of the favorites from menus of the past, and updating the menu with some modern creations of his own.

Should you find yourself in London, the restaurant is in the historic Mayfair district, and boasts one of the finest wine lists in London, with over 300 wines on the everyday list, and extraordinary vertical collections and large bottles of some of the world's greatest wines.

The book is by Marco Pierre White, and we can assume he is responsible for at least the majority of the recipes, though he does point out that he is not Mirabelle's Chef. That role is shared by Executive Head Chef, Charlie Rushton, Head chef Spencer Patrick, and Pastry Chef Anthony M. Richards.

This is a slick, coffee table style book, with 60 full page photographs of the food by William Lingwood, and 66 recipes, plus another 33 recipes for the basics, i.e. stocks, sauces, spreads and various potato preparations. It's divided into Soups, Starters, Fish Dishes, Meat and Game Dishes, Puddings and Basics. The recipes include gazpacho; truffled cabbage soup; mussel and saffron soup; quiche of leeks and gruyère; tart of endive with sea scallops; salmon fishcakes with sorrel and watercress sauce; steak au poivre; panacotta; raspberry soufflé; and lemon tart - in other words, these are elegant, but not particularly difficult recipes to reproduce in the home kitchen.

At $45 it's pricey, but it's pretty enough to make a good present.

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