“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating”. – Lucien Pavarotti
In our previous food blog we featured Anna’s trip to the San Pellegrino World 50 Best Restaurant Awards held in London. We felt proudly South African to be placed in the top 50 where Luke Dale-Roberts of the Test Kitchen was ranked at number 28. This time around, Anna writes about a lavish dinner at the opulent Le Gavroche, a walk through the Columbia Flower Street Market (that will leave you in awe), and food markets to feast your eyes on.
Tamsin and I without fail always make a visit to Le Gavroche for an evening of fine dining, exquisite service and beyond delicious flavours. Emmanuel Ladre, the General Manager greets us like long lost friends and ensures that we never leave hungry or thirsty.
Outside the entrance of Le Gavroche with Tamsin
The famous Soufflé Suissesse – Cheese Souffle cooked in double cream, made for the Queen over 40 years ago and still an incredible and consistent signature of Le Gavroche.
Something very rare – Oeuf de Mouette Asperges et Caviar – Poached Gull Egg with Oscietra Caviar and Asparagus Tips. These Gull Eggs are only found for five weeks of the year during this particular time – imagine the texture of softly poached gull eggs with the subtle crunch of asparagus and caviar melting in your mouth…
Salade de Crabe et Crabe Mou Frit Tomatoe et Balsamic Blanc – Portland and Soft Shell Crab Salad, Tomato and White Balsamic – another incredibly delicious plate of textures and spoils.
Although Emanuel put together our menu for the evening together with Michel Roux Jnr himself, we insisted to have our favourite from each year!
Coeur d’Artichaut “Lucullus” – Aritchoke filled with Foie Gras, Truffles and Chicken Mousse – mouthwatering and sensational – a must for anyone dining at Le Gavroche.
Homard Pôché Parfumé à la Citronelle et Coco – Butter Poached Lobster, Coconut and Lemon Grass Bisque Sauce – simple, light, tasty and full of subtle flavours
Filet de Veau Rossini – Veal Fillet with Foie Gras and Truffle Madeira Sauce – extremely rich and decadent.
My all time favourite ending at Le Gavroche – the Cheese Board. An amazing selection of Cheeses from all over the world and this year a five year old Cheddar that I’m still thinking about!
During our dinner at Le Gavroche, Emmanuel found out we were travelling to Marlow the following day so insisted that we make a stop at The Waterside Inn. “Guided by the inimitable Alain Roux – whose passion for food is a reflection of his father’s – this team continues to create food that delights even the most discerning palates.”
Due to Londolozi having three Relais & Chateaux, camps, it was an honour to visit and dine here. Diego Masciaga’s dedicated commitment to service and hospitality clearly showed me why this establishment is unashamedly one of the best. We had the pleasure of meeting him and he coerced us into not only a canapé and a glass of bubbles, but a four-course lunch!
Émietté de tourteau du Devon au naturel, crémeux Du Barry et caviar osciètre “Royal de Belgique” – Flaked Devon Crab with a smooth cauliflower cream and oscietra “Royal Belgian Caviar” – this dish was not only so pretty (note how they have thinly sliced the cauliflower and dipped in beetroot juice to replicate the look of coral!) it was light and delicious.
Fleur de courgette farcie aux senteurs des sous-bois et sa palette de primeurs du Val de Loire agrémentés d’huile d’olive à la truffe écrasée – Courgette flower filled with wild mushrooms, spring vegetables tossed in a warm olive oil with chopped truffle – a highlight of my lunch as all these flavours were incredible together – sadly this was the last week it was being served due to the seasons changing.
Tronçonnettes de homard poêlées minute au porto blanc – Pan-fried Lobster medallions with a white port sauce and ginger flavoured vegetable julienne
And why not end off with not just one dessert but a few?
Outside The Waterside Inn in the rain. Big smiles on our faces as it was a day to be remembered forever – Thank you Diego and your amazing team!
A new find for me this year was done by Alex, who insisted that she take us to the Columbia Flower Street Market. What an incredible street – imagine a road, filled with flowers of every variety – the scent of fresh peony’s, sweet peas, hydrangeas and roses – the flower sellers shouting their prices loud and clear as we strolled through the rain! I felt as though I was on the set of My Fair Lady (one of my childhood favourite movies). A great morning out and something I would recommend everyone visiting London should do.
As you may remember, one of my favourite things to do is browse markets and this year Borough Market was once again on our Saturday itinerary. There’s nothing better after your first cup of coffee, than finding the place for the best bacon ‘buttie’ in the world! Then feasting your eyes on the pure and utter beauty of food, breads, Turkish delights and the market buzz
Another all time Anna favourite – Turkish delight. This year, the newest flavour was Pomegranate and Cherry. Needless to say many of these were devoured. The breads were incredible and taken as an inspiration for our new baker the fabulous and passionate, Brite Ncube (watch this space for his story coming soon).
Alex and I strolling through the rain and flower scented street of the Columbia Flower Market.
Never one to dismiss a glass of fine wine, once again I was spoilt beyond belief. I couldn’t help think of Kim Drake, our resident Sommelier who readily agreed that I was a very lucky person! Below are a few wines of the many that were served at La Gavroche and The Waterside Inn.
From left to right: the first three-courses were enjoyed with these wines.
Le Gavroche wines and an incredible 20-year-old Port which accompanied my cheese
Some of the wines tasted at The Waterside Inn…
Even though my tummy was quite full and my senses were charged, I still managed to fit in another four of London’s finest dining establishments. Keep feasting your eyes as there is more in store in my next blog – same time next week.
Written and Photographed by: Anna Ridgewell, Londolozi Executive Chef