London Heart Scandinavia

images-1Scandi-lifestyle is hot right now. It’s actually been so for ages. But when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s getting in on the act, you know it’s hit the big time.

There’s the uplifting TV (The Killing/Bridge, Wallander), Film (Melancholia, Nymphomaniac) and literature (Millennium trilogy). They’ve also given us androgynous fashion (Cos, Acne) and thoroughly tasteful interior design – tick, tick, tick.

Scandi-food may be the last element of this lifestyle to infiltrate, but it’s way more exiting than all that other shit.

AA Gill and Antony Bourdain agree that to truly understand a country’s culture you must eat its food. Naturally, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are all very different. But they all embrace their cold outdoors and the adventure that comes intertwined. This is at the heart of what their food’s about.

“Scandinavians enjoy their open spaces with gusto and it shows in their soul, in their faces and in their diet.” Valentine Warner

err I think I've got one
Good catch

Scandinavia is home to some of most beautiful landscapes on earth. A day in the life of a Scandi must be like living inside Instagram. If that was real. Which it is. Sort of.

Fjord

The immensely likeable Valentine Warner is as ruddy as they come. The future patron saint of clotted cream, he loves a bit of British. In his brilliant series ‘Valentine eats Scandinavia’ (523 calories) he swoons for another and falls majestically in love with salt-cod, spruce, herring, cherry wine, ash, flæskesteg, wild berries, licorice and smoked reindeer whilst fishing, foraging and frolicking the Frords and Skogs.

Valentine Warner
“I’m inclined to bite things that other people wouldn’t bite” Valentine Warner

Valentine’s a right little adventurer, and it’s fair to say Scandi-food is suited for those with cojones. Often challenging (see Surströmming), always interesting (see Noma or Höst). Save for the odd gherkin, Scandi–food is the antithesis of ubiqui-burger-zzzs. It’s ‘clean’ with sharp, sweet, sour and salty nodes. Less sleazy shag, more tantric titillation, sans post-coital guilt. So, better pass those lingonberries Helga.

Scandinavia is even producing some of the best new beers around, using American craft techniques in micro breweries. Look out for Mikkeller and Nøgne Ø.

I spent last Midsummer’s in Stockholm’s archipelago, where it was light for 24 hours. Staying with a group of Swedish friends, their generous culture shone through and you can see they’ve got it good in so many ways. It was delicious, herring-laden, sunny, beautiful, Volvo-ey, drunken, bizarre and scary. Totally mesmerising.

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Dancing round the maypole is like The Wiker man with a happy ending. This video captures the vibe spot on.

Thankfully Scandinavia’s cultural impact on London has been significant and, ever so surely, the gourmand ripples are being felt.

Scandi-food LDN. Five of the best:

1)

Lisa’s – Notting Hill – 305 Portobello Road

Swedish Meatballs

HIGHLY recommended by its loyal following. Classic Swedish served Tapas Style. Come here and leave 3 years younger.

2)

Oslo Hackney , 1A Amhurst Road, Hackney

Oslo Hackney

A newie. Also a music venue. Try Apple & Horseradish Cured Mackerel, Pressed Apple, Griddled Cucumber.

3)

Scandinavian Kitchen, 61 Great Titchfield Street. London. W1W 7PP

Scandinavian Kitchen

Probably the best known Scandi food source in London. For good reason too. Famous for its open sandwiches, and with over 600 Scandi specialties from the shop, it’s the biggest in the UK.

4)

Fika, 161 Brick Lane, E1 6SB

Fika

If MEAT liquor is a night at Fabric, Fika is a spinning class with a sauna after. Both good experiences, Fika will leave you smug for longer.

5)

Hedone, 301-303 Chiswick High Rd, W4 4HH

Hedone

Swede Mikael Jonsson has moved from running a blog about food to running a restaurant. This one has a Michelin star. There is hope.

6)

Dabbous, 39 Whitfield Street, W1T 2SF

Coddled Egg Dabbous

Still the darling of the critics. Whilst not purely Scandinavian, Ollie Dabbous is hugely influenced by René Redzepi.

So go make friends with some Scandis and get chomping. Helan går – Skol, Skol.

————————

http://scandinaviancoffeehouse.com/

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/valentine-warner/scandinavia-food_b_3934703.html

You are what you order

Perhaps it’s a lost chapter in Freud’s The Ego and the ID, but what he or she is ordering, is a greatly underused insightful tool into someone’s personality. Obviously.

Recently I was sitting alone at the the bar in The Gilbert Scott. Next to me was a guy and with a face I’ve seen thousands of times before. For some reason, in a Debrownian moment, I decided I’d be able to guess what he’d order from the menu. So I did, and every time he ordered something else, I got it. His face told me that he’d have steak with béarnaise sauce, chips,  glass of red, average flirt with waitress, double espresso, Marlboro red to finish. You know, that kinda guy. Voilà.

So here’s my foolproof and highly useful guide to who’s ordering what:

Oysters

You’re a lothario, you think you’re Mick Jagger. But you’re not as fertile, so reign it in. You enjoy Roxy Music, mostly wear a blue blazer and ice white jeans.

Ceviche

You’re a player. Keep your game tight. You’re pretty fruity too. All are welcome.

Ribs

You write for The Guardian. You have a good beard and a strong collection of checked shirts.

Croque Moisseur

You are a multi millionaire Jonathan Ross type. You’ve no idea how you made all your money and neither does anyone else. You wears Crocs to the theatre and pyjamas in bed.

Lasagne

Delia's Lazagne

You are a mummy’s boy.

Onion Soup.

You are French and excellent in bed. Take people home, share your talents, then say.. ‘Non, Je ne regrette rein’

Lamb Cutlets

You are pale white due to your job in The Mafia.

Burger

You are a DJ.

Steak Tartare

You work at a Hedge Fund.

Prawn Cocktail

BBC Good Food Prawn Cocktail Image

WOW. Where to start? You’re a member of Mensa. You’re the missing link. You transcend class, you cockney-toff. You’re on Kofi Annan’s and Craig David’s speed-dial. You’ve got the Midas touch and you’re clumsy. You order prawn fucking cocktail and you don’t even care.

Club Sandwich

You are having an affair. Finish the sandwich, leave the hotel, then finish the affair.

Pizza

You write a blog. Get a life.

Quiona Salad

You are Sting.

Images:

BBC, Bon Appetit, Delia Smith

4 of the best restaurants in London, right now

The nights are closing in. Breaking Bad is about to end and X Factor has started. Bummers all round. However, there have also been more London restaurant openings (of notable excellence) in the last year, than I can ever remember.

Here are some bona fied, alotofchopapproved, sizziling hot, new(ish) restaurants

Bruno Loubet. Grain Store

Grain Store

The main man behind Grain Store is Bruno Loubet (Zetter Townhouse), whom everyone in the food world seems to adore. This means he’ll have access to the best suppliers in and outside the country.  His new place Grain Store, in Kings Cross is outstanding. You can expect the toppest, Italian inspired cooking and ingredients (from the Frenchman). Butternut squash ravioli, sage & mustard apricots, pumpkin seed oil or Chilled clear lobster ‘Bloody Mary’ .

Bruno can do no wrong.

Quality Chop House

The-Quality-Chop-House-dining-room_w_jpg_900x600_crop-center_q95

Last year Giles Coren tweeted that Quality Chop House did the best house red he’d ever had, and at only £4p/glass. He also mentioned that it was one of the best places he’d been all year.

I got straight on the phone, and it was engaged for 45 mins.  Popular guys, and rightly so. The quality of the meat is some of the best in London, hands down. There is a private area upstairs with its own private bathroom that The Porcelin Gentleman would approve of. Giles was right about the wine too.

Honey – Fitzrovia

Honey

I have a friend who will always choose the diciest thing on the menu. I’m talking the McLobster in McDonalds,  Fish Surprise in the chippy, hearts, necks, tentacles, eyeballs when available.  If Nandos did chicken feet, he’d clean them out.

It all reminds me of this:

But I digress. Despite these persuasions, he’s actually one of the most trustworthy foodies I know. He knows his dumpling form his Dim Sum, if you know what I mean. His favourite place of the moment is Honey, in Fitzrovia. Home style, Ottolenghi-esque, middle eastern cooking. Not a testicle in sight.

Mayfields

MAYFIELDS

An absolute beauty in Hackney, just near Ridley Road Market. Seared Mackerel, Grapefruit and Celery. Turbot, Carrot and Sage.  Lemon Sole Citrus Butter, Daikon and Licorice. Cold glass of Reisling Kabinette. Perfect for a sunny Autumnal day. SOLD.

Cookhouse Joe

Berwick Street

As a youngster things were simpler. There was Burger King, Wimpy, Pizza Hut and McDonalds. There was also a fucking spaceship on the motorway called Megatron where you ordered your food from a computer and a robot delivered it. Maybe this was just a dream, (then maybe it wasn’t). All exciting stuff regardless. But now things are so complicated for kids and kidults. I mean Giraffe.. seriously?

I’ve smugly avoided Nandos for years until I acquiesced last year. Frantically dispirited from an ill fated trainer shopping trip, I was 1st world starving and slipped in to a Bethnal Green ‘branch’.  Aside from a complex ordering procedure it was, you know, not bad.

London’s insatiable appetite for American food trends has recently been all about sexed up chicken. Mark Hix’s Tram Shed aside, they have all been much of a muchness. Food wise, nothing has been that that better than Nandos in my opinion.

However a midweek visit to Cookhouse Joe surprised me.

Situated on Berwick Street, Cookhouse Joe is run by same family who look after Soho Joe.  There are two floors. Downstairs is cosy with 50 chickens on a rotisserie overseeing things and upstairs is more spacious.

We were looked after by one of the three brothers who seemed trustworthy and ordered for us.

First up flat breads and Moutable. The Moutable was a revelation. Smoked, citrusy, balanced. Lemon is an underrated seasoning and throughout this meal and they judged it to perfection.

Ordering flat breads is a cue for my girlfriend to tell me her story of living in Oman for at least 5 minutes. Should a falafel arrive, game over! There goes the whole night. Falafels were delicious.

Then the big moment. Enter the chicken. Any boring gourmand worth his salt will tell you the best chicken in the world is Poulet de Bresse from France. They say you can get better rotisserie chicken in a French service station than in any restaurant in Europe. Whilst this notion may be bollocks, it’s also romantic and pretentions, I‘ve always liked it.

Our chicken was up there with anything I can recently remember. Moist with crispy skin, ‘tastes like real chicken’ etc. You know what I mean.

Accompaniments were ok. Chips fine, salads fine. The only quam was the limp, Michel Clegg of a Chili sauce.

Next a delightfully enormous apple pie & ice cream with two spoons and two forks This was served in a mess tin which is a nice touch I don’t even think I’ve seen in Shoreditch. The pie was epic; cinnamony and indulgent. Perfect for a 11C Summer’s June evening.

Spooning
Spooning

When family places are done well they offer something chains or restaurant groups will never be able to. Perhaps it’s sincerity. The owner showed us around and immediately you wondered what this place had been or seen before. Opium den, public house, brothel, maison derrière… all good.

This a Soho beauty, ready for these owners to leave their own history, until the next..

Cookhouse Joe

55 Berwick St London

W1D 2JB

07970 555355, 

@CookhouseJoeUK , Facebook

Cookhouse Joe on Urbanspoon

Beagle

Beagle

Hoxton tube station is Shoreditch’s Bermuda triangle if London cabbies are to be believed. And I’ve no reason not to trust them. Google may offer a simpler and more direct route than theirs but where’s the fun in that? Eventually we arrived at Geffrye Street under the railway arches and assured the cabbie this wasn’t a mirage but a brand new restaurant. Enter stage Beagle.

Under the railway arches traditionally sounds like place for a children’s story, a mafia hangout, a 1993 / 2009 rave, but not perhaps a restaurant. Sure enough approaching Beagle you realise this place is very secluded giving it intimacy and shelter from marauding London.

The building is two large arches, sexy lighting and brilliant acoustics (seriously). It’s not often I notice the dimensions of a restaurant’s roof, but this one is perfect. Feng Shui nirvana. The height of the ceilings are as perfect as you can get for a restaurant (I looked it up).

We had a drink at the bar before sitting down and were impressed. Craft beer lovers in particlar will be pleased. Cocktails I’m told were very special and punchy.

So to the food.

My pigeon and prune terrine was gelatinous fun like all the best things in life. Sweet prunes with gamey bird is a classic. It was our first time with skate knobs and they was good. Deep fried cheeks of fish partner apertifs very well.

My braised rabbit, butter beans and mustard was wholesome and utterly delicious, perhaps the winning dish (picture below). Like something you would have at your granny’s. If your granny was a fucking good cook. Which I’m sure she is.

YESssssssssss. I'll have some of that. NICE ONE
YESssssssssss. I’ll have some of that. NICE ONE. tasty vibes

Full marks to James Ferguson (prev Head Chef of Rochelle Canteen) for championing British ingredients and dishes (with an occasional nod to Italy). Rhubarb, watercress, Jersey royals and steamed sponge all feature on the seasonal menu. I noticed lamb with anchovies (and before Waitrose’s Heston advert).

The overall focus here is simplicity. Some very fine cooking yes, but its the ingredients that are allowed to shine. Nothing is too complicated, there is no ego here. In this respect it reminds me of Brawn.

The Clancy brothers have worked their Midas touch once again and brought to town not only a very good restaurant but more importantly, an original one. This isn’t trend led, American inspired, gimic-laden or derivative. There is no kitchen roll served on the side with your food.

I think this place will grow into itself more and more. It’s also a coffee bar and has a huge outdoor area so it will really come into its own in the summer. Its idiosyncrasies, like the distant rumble of the train going over ahead, add character. Beagle is a hugely welcome addition to East London.

Take the overground.. Or taxi if you dare.

Beagle

Bar, Coffee Shop, Restaurant

397-400 Geffrye

6pm -12am

http://www.beaglelondon.co.uk

@beaglelondon

Square Meal

Beagle on Urbanspoon

The Roux Family

Semur-en-Brionnais, Burgundy, above a butchery to be precise. A place steeped in Gallic history and tradition but one that would ultimately have an enromous impact not in France but the other side of the Chanel.  This was the birthplace of Michel (1935) and Albert Roux (1941) , affectionaly  known as the Godfathers of modern restaurant cuisine in the UK.

Their story is a great one and the legacy they have curated even greater.

Michel (left), Albert
Michel (left), Albert

Following in their own family footsteps, Michel started as a charcuterier before following his brother Albert into becoming a patissier. Albert worked at the British embassy while Michel become a chef at  Philippe de Rothschild’s service.

Albert then became private cook to Nancy Astor, the first woman MP. He would then meet the Cazalet family who helped convince him to come to England. This was a place the Roux brothers (and most of France) had always considered, gastronomically speaking, in ‘the dark ages’.

Roux PatisserieAlbert was private chef to the Cazalet family in Kent for eight years. Here he would have cooked for many discerning and international guests used to the world’s best gastronomy. The likes of  Noël Coward, Douglas Fairbanks Junior and Elizabeth Taylor were all guests and cooking for the famous would become normal for the Rouxs throughout their lives.

 Michael visited Albert to have a tour of London’s best restaurants. He wasn’t impressesd with his first meal at The Savoy Hotel:

“It looked like beef.  The colour was grey. The gravy was glutinous. The vegetables were so cooked it was almost inedible.”

This didn’t stop him moving to England and once he had done so he and Albert began to foster their ambitions. The Cazalet family and their friends eventually encouraged and financially helped the brothers to set up their own restaurant. In 1967, Le Gavroche was born. It became the first British restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star, then the first to gain two and the first to gain three. For many it remains the jewel in the crowd of London’s high end dining today.

Le Gavroche

“We were full on the first night and have been full ever since. The only time we saw a dip was when the IRA was putting bombs in London restaurants,” Albert Roux.

The brothers weren’t without their detractors. It’s a noted, if unfair critisim of the Roux family that their restaurants are out of reach for many. Thus they have no significance for most. Would Michel and Albert been able to eat in their own restaurants before their success? This is really to miss the point. Many refined forms of art or service require a level of dedication that makes them rare, expensive and all the more desirable. Picasso’s Principle:

A lady once approached Picasso, asked him to draw her a sketch. He did sketch and then said that this would cost $10,000.

She was dumbfounded. ‘It only took you five miuntes’.

‘The skecth may have only taken five minutes, but the learning took me thirty years’

Watch and learn son
Watch and learn son

After some lower profile ventures Albert and Michel opened the equally legendary Waterside Inn in Bray. It holds the record for the longest UK restaurant to have three Michelin stars. Though it was by no means an easy ride from the off.

“The Gavroche wasn’t so well known outside of London in those days and food was not at the top of the agenda for the British then. In the first few weeks, there were no clients during the week – it was as dead as a dodo. But the weekends were pretty chaotic, because we used to take extra bookings to cover.” Michel Roux

The Waterside Inn
The Waterside Inn

Egon Ronay, the Hungarian Fay Machler of the 1970s, claimed The Waterside Inn was one of the best restaurants in Britain in his Daily Telegraph article.  This had a dramatic effect, the place was filled and, like its sister Gavroche, has been ever since.

“You shouldn’t cook for the guides, but my god when you’re starting a business they’re bloody helpful, especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere and nobody knows you,” Michel Roux.

'..and so the crab said...'
‘..and so the crab said…’

Despite the restaurants being landmarks on the Gastronomic map, they form only part of the Roux’s oeuvre. Their mentoring, coaching and school has inspired and made the careers of a frightening number of Great Britain’s best chefs. In the Michelin Guide today, more than half the starred British restaurants have chefs either trained by The Roux family or by their protégées. This is staggering.

Some well known judges faces
Some well known judges of The Roux Scholarship

“If you are just running a restaurant without thinking about the industry around you, you are not thinking about having a full life. To pass on your knowledge and see young people grow and develop further gives you a wonderful sense of satisfaction.” Michel Roux

The family’s impact and influence goes far beyond their restaurants and filters down through to a book or story that inspires the next generation. The Roux Scholarship is one of the most prestidous competitions in the world. The winner gets the opportunity to cook for three months in a three Michelin starred kitchen, of their choice, anywhere in the world.

Their family’s influence is huge today and set to be so for many years. Albert’s son is hugely likeable Michel Roux Jn, who presides over Le Gavroche and presents Masterchef The Professionals. Alain is in charge of The Waterside Inn, considered by many England’s finest restaurant. Michel Roux Jn’s daughter is also one of the UK’s biggest young talents.

The Roux Family

 So how do the Godfathers feel about the current restaurant and food scene?

“We are facing a problem. You see, UK came from nowhere, it was a revolution, then everyone wanted to get a bite of the pie.” They are businessmen [in charge] instead of cooks. They want a theme restaurant and a quick return on capital.” Albert Roux

Would you expect anything else from a true gourmand?

‘They were the Beatles of gastronomy. They changed everything.’ Heston Blumenthal

Michael Winner

Michael Winner young

He may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but it was his column  ‘Winner’s Dinners’ that many would turn to first in The Sunday Times. Usually funnier, ruder and more succinct than other critics, he was provocative – albeit with his tongue firmly in cheek. Whatever your opinion he was a huge influence in the food and restaurant scene and always entertaining.

As a film director he was one of Marlon Brando’s closest friends and worked with Marlin Monroe, Orson Welles,  and Michael Caine. As a restaurant critic he was banned from Le Gavroche and The Waterside Inn. For life. He and his words will be missed.

Some quotes from and about the renegade:

“I don’t want to live in a tolerant society. I want to live in a very intolerant society.”

“As far as I’m concerned, British food went downhill after the 1950s, was still good in the 1970s and has since fallen off the edge of a cliff into a sea of mass suppliers, arrogance and absurdity.”

”The only way to hold a decent dinner party in Hollywood now is to have a seance”

-M.W complaining that all his favourite fellow diners are now dead.

Such sad news. The most charismatic food critic ever. Loved him dearly. God bless Michael Winner
Gordon Ramsay

I worked on lots of his films. He will be greatly missed by the film industry and restaurateurs.’
Terry O’Neil

‘Michael says all the things we wished we’d said when faced with bad food and service.’
Michael Parkinson

 

His favourite restaurant?

The River Cafe of course

London’s Tastiest-Healthiest Happenings 2013

Of course tastiest-healthiest sounds oxymoronic.

But A Lot Of Chop is nothing if not seasonally helpful and these being post Christmas bloaty times …

So suck in both sets of cheeks and get yourself down to these life extending joints.

Fika


Fika

Some have suggested that Fika is the most authentic Swedish restaurant in London. AND it’s on Brick lane. What’s not to like? Perhaps Reindeer. But that aside herrings, gravad lax, meatballs and sandwiches are all delicious and Swedish (therefore healthy).

Fika Menu

The Grocery

The Grocery

The Grocery is so wholesome it makes you feel healthy the minute you walk in. The shop is ridiculous, full of Hoxton Gwyneths macrobioticing the fuck out of life. If you like having a choice of  thirty different olive oils then this is the place for you. Out back is the café serving amazing new age artisan food to die for. Ironic as everyone here will live forever.

The Grocery

Nopi

Nopi

Seared scallops, pickled daikon, green apple / Seared prawns, fennel, white oregano, feta / Grilled garfish, vine leaves, chermoula / Raw brussels sprouts, oyster mushrooms, quail egg / Braised carrots, mung beans, smoked labneh.

You get the picture. Nopi. From the people who brought you Ottolenghi.

Nopi Menu

Ottolenghi

Ottolenghi

Like a modern day Confucius with an apron, Israeli-born Ottolenghi brings his intellect and philosophy to his food and expanding empire most successfully.

Ottolenghi

With the food-world’s biggest brain there’s no stopping him. He’s capable of making even vibeless vegetarian food interesting. Incredible Mediterranean Middle East flavours and textures take centre stage. You can expect plenty of  lemon, pomegranate, garlic and chilli punch to innovative and healthy dishes.

Delis in Notting Hill, Kensington, Belgravia and the restaurant is in Islington.

Ottolenghi Menu

London’s Best Restaurant, Newcomer, Chef, Critic… The Results

The votes are in – over 1,400 of them. The public has spoken and here’s what they said:

Best Newcomer of the Year – Pitt Cue

Pitt Cue

Pipping Bonnie Gull to Best Newcomer Of The Year is Pitt Cue with 43% of the vote. Pitt Cue brings American BBQ style food to London with aplomb. If there was a Zeitgeist restaurant of 2012, Pitt Cue is it. Concentrating on a few dishes of supreme quality; ribs, pulled pork and sausage, Pitt Cue offers outstanding value. Congratulations Pitt Cue, keep up the good work.

London’s Best Modern Restaurant – The Hawksmoor

The Hawksmoor

The Hawksmoor has become an institution and famous for having the best steaks on London. They have exceptional produce cooked to exacting standards. The new Hawksmoor Air offers more variety, with beautiful fish taking centre stage alongside the meat. There may be fancier presentation and more intricate cooking taking place in London, but it’s hard to argue with The Hawkmoor as the place you’d most like to visit for a proper feed.

Best Critic – Grace Dent

Grace Dent

The Evening Standard Magazine’s Grace Dent has become a must read for Friday night commuters travelling home for the weekend. Her column reminds people there is to something come back to London for after all. She beats Gill, Rayner and Coren in the public vote.

London Chef Of The Year – Michel Roux Jr

michel roux Jnr

The most graceful man on television. Effortlessly sliding between perfect French and English like a lubed up dolphin in the ocean.

TV aside, Michel Roux Jr presides over Le Gavroche, London’s pre-eminent fine dining French Restaurant.

There is no one more affable and deserving of London Chef of the Year. The Legend. Salute.

Trend of The Year – Pulled

Pulled-Pork


..As in pork, beef etc. Usually referring to the shoulder of the animal, cooked incredibly slowly, so that you can simply pull the meat from the bone. Well done Pulled, we love your style.

To 2013…

Food for Thought: The Titanic to Queen Victoria

In many respects the connection we have with our ancestors become more distant by the day. The human world moves on rapidly with technology at the forefront.  The gap between how we live our everyday lives and how previous generations did is ever widening.

The arts have always allowed us a glimpse into the past. Poems, art and music enable us to see how it might have been to live in a different time.

A less esoteric and explored historical reference is the food and dishes of generations gone by. We all have some understanding of food and most of us have our own opinions on it.

Here are some menus from events in history, which I think can bring you close to those involved in these events.

The Titanic’s final day and night, 1912 

The world’s greatest ever chef and restaurateur team Escoffier and César Ritz, both consulted on the menu and service for the Titanic. The food was certainly indulgent in richness and quantity. It was also the forefront of then modern gastronomy. So whilst totally different in style to Heston,  René and Ferran, the sentiment of enjoyment and celebration perhaps remains the same.

The Titanic’s lunch menu looked to be going for £100,000, which is roughly the cost (in today’s terms) of a 1st class ticket on the Titanic

Watch Appraisal: 1912 Titanic Luncheon Menu on PBS. See more from Antiques Roadshow.

The Titanic story continues to captivate people and I came across a Canadian cook who is passionate enough to put together the recepies for all of the menu of the 1st class dinner on that final night. Take a look here:

Here’s fresh faced Leo enjoying this menu.

Queen Victoria’s State Banquet, 1989

For a State Banquet in 1899, The Emperor and Empress of Germany came to visit Queen Victoria at Winsor Castle.

As the menu below shows, these were seriously indulgent feasts of 6,7,8 or more courses. There are no fewer than seventeen dishes being served on the menu.

Queen Victoria could be pretty narky and for some reason insisted on all windows being open during a dinner. Her famous ‘we are not amused’ line came about when someone told her a j o k e at the dinner table. Jeez.

Soup
Tomato soup (served cold) Purée Madeleine
Fish course
Cod with oyster sauce
Filets of fried whiting with anchovy sauce
Entreés
Quenelles with Regency sauce Ballotines of duck with Cumberland sauce
Light course
Braised beef with Hussard sauce Roast leg of lamb
Roast course
Pheasant Potato ribbons
Desserts
Spinach bread
Pastries with fruit Chocolate profiteroles Swiss tartlets
Buffet
Hot and Cold Roast Fowls Cold Roast Beef
Tongue

The menus from Victoria’s State Banquet time were written in French which is still the custom today.

As a contrast, take a peak at the

Christmas menu from The Fat Duck 2012.

Kid in a sweet shop indeed.

Bonus Titanic chef story:

Most of the chefs died on the Titanic but there is one well known story of a chef, Charles Joughin, who survived in an extraordinary way.

During the sinking of the ship Joughin and the other chefs brought food to the lifeboats. Joughin stayed on board right until the very end, drinking whiskey. After everyone else was in the water he straddled the Starboard rail as the ship sunk ever deeper. Right at the very last moment, just before the ship went under, he jumped off without his head even going under water. Charles Joughin had drunk ‘just the right amount’ of whiskey so that that the alcohol in his blood meant he survived longer. He was eventually picked up over two  hours later! He survived and lived till 78.

References:

Huffinton post New York Times Official Website British Monarchy  BBC Ocean Navigator

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