London Restaurant Festival and American Express 10-10-10
The London Restaurant Festival, which took place in October 2010, was a celebration of eating out, and designed to demonstrate the highly diverse range of restaurants in the capital, from high-profile Michelin-starred restaurants to neighbourhood bistros.
American Express 10-10-10 was a culinary event created by the partnership between the London Restaurant Festival and American Express, which took place on 10 October 2010. Ten celebrated chefs from outside London joined forces with ten of their equally renowned London peers to offer a unique collaborative menu for Sunday lunch.
We started with a "selection of canapes" served with a glass of chilled Philipponnat Champagne Royale Reserve. These were simple but refined and the champagne a welcome aperitif.
The main course was "Poached wild turbot with oxtail jus" served with sautéed ceps and a raviolo filled with oxtail meat. We enjoyed this upmarket surf and turf, and felt that the delicate fish counterbalanced the rich oxtail meat, and the 08 Pinot Noir Delta Vineyards it was matched with.
For dessert we had "Chocolate mousse" with cumin caramel and coriander yoghurt. This was a surprisingly good dessert with the spices bringing out the rich chocolate flavours of the mousse. It was served with a deliciously concentrated, rich, sweet 09 Passito di Pantelleria from Sicily. This wine is made from grapes that have been sun dried to concentrate the juice in an ancient process also used to create Tuscan Vin Santo.
Cost: £125 per person including 7 courses and matching wines.
Likes: excellent wine choices by the sommelier Johannsen, fine cooking particularly demonstrated by the starters, elegant restaurant, attentive service.
Dislikes: at this price level I would have expected the earth to move! It didn't.
Verdict: nice food, great wines, stellar prices. One of the best food and wine pairing meals I can recall. Recommended for special occasions, business lunches and discounted offers.
The London Foodie was a guest of American Express
On the same day, John T (the lucky winner of the competition in this blog) enjoyed a sumptuous meal at Arbutus with a friend. John has kindly written to me about it, you can read his own review of this meal below.
From: john t [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, October 11, 2010 12:37 PM
To: Hara, Luiz
As promised, here is a quick summary of our meal.
THE MEAL WAS FABULOUS! the menu looked a lot more scary that is was - I had Pigs head as my first starter, Clare had razor clams and prawn cake. Both were amazing - very very intense flavours but well balanced and delicious.
We then went onto foies gras parfait - almost as soft as a Mr Whippy ice cream, served with fig jam and a slice of toasted Brioche served in its own wooden stand. the alternative was moules in beer which neither of us fancied.
Mains - I had braised ox cheek with dauphinoise and braised veg, (one carrot, one piece of celery!) and Clare had plaice with broad beans and lemon (too much lemon?)
We then had one of the best (and not just because it was the biggest) creme Brulees I have ever had - served with a shot of Innes and McGunn beer - I liked it, the burn hops worked with the burnt sugar, but quite a sharp contrast. Clare played safe with a sauternes!
All the wine on the list (25 white, 25 red, all very interesting) were available in 250ml carafes so great choice and great idea - we had a Gruner Vetliner and then a Santeny - first one was oxidised but sommelier was excellent and changed it immediately.
Two great double espressos, and we were done!
Service was impeccable - friendly and efficient, restaurant was nice, absolutely packed, but did not feel crowded or rushed.
The only possible downside was that it was all too rich - came out longing for a green salad - in about a weeks time!!
So how was Bentleys? Did Mr Corrigan come and speak to you?
Thanks again for such a great prize!