In the season of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, it seems wholly appropriate to pen a piece on a stunning dinner we hosted at the Royal Hospital Chelsea last week.
It was a sultry, late spring evening as guests arrived at the venue’s Chapel Gate, greeted by the soaring sound and rousing voices of the Royal Hospital’s choir, making their way through the ornate Octagon, with its distinctive cupola and lantern, to the stunning Figure Court.
Dinner was a sumptuous, five-course affair in the grand State Apartments, served by a brigade of VIP butlers in understatedly-suave grey and duck-egg blue waistcoats;
lavish and decadent, no expense was spared.
The finest foie gras played-off against arguably the world’s most famous wine, Chateau d’yquem, and was followed by delicate, sophisticated dishes using some of Europe’s best produce, including langoustine, Magret duck breast and Tornegus cheese. The illustrious wines paired with dinner, were only matched by the many portraits of Renaissance royals and historic heroes lining the venue’s walls.
As an extra treat, guests were joined by two of the Royal Hospital’s permanent residents, the Chelsea Pensioners, who provided a dash of vibrancy and colour in their iconic uniform.
The dinner culminated in another bespoke cocktail, ‘Father Wore Braces’, a potent mix of bourbon, espresso and ginger syrup, guaranteed to re-awaken the senses in time for a cheeky trip down the road to Raffles to dance the night away.
Foie gras, yoghurt, date purée, hazelnut crumb
Chateau Yquem 2007, Sauternes, France
Poached langoustine, cured salmon, charred cucumber, buttermilk, cucumber flowers
Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru ‘Les Folatières’ 2012, Philippe Chavy, France
Slow cooked Magret duck breast, confit fennel, blood orange, smoked oil and fennel remoulade
Valferrano ‘Finco Monteviejo’ Audagus de la Maquesa, 2006, Rioja, Spain
Tornegus, Regents Park honeycomb, ash crackers
Chateau Rieussec 2009, Premier Grand Cru Classe Sauternes
Iced lemon parfait, pistachio, Gariguette strawberry, olive oil marshmallow, mint gel
Father Wore Braces; Woodford Reserve bourbon, espresso and ginger syrup, Angostura bitters, grapefruit peel