The Great British Menu comes to London

Stephen TerryBank holiday Monday; Susie was working. I went for a cycle, washed the dishes from last night, mopped the kitchen floor, found some great sounds on Spotify (Philip Glass, Arvo Part, Stereolab and the Dead Boys), and read my book (Dead Air by Iain Banks; promising so far …) in the garden. With rain in the air, I then came in and slumped in front of the telly, where Glynn Purnell, James Sommerin et al were trying to impress Oliver Peyton, Pru Leith and Matthew Fort in the new series of the Great British Menu. Queue happy memories of last week’s food highlight.

On Monday evening, the seven finalists of the 2008 series of  the BBC’s Great British Menu took over the Marriott Grosvenor Square to co-host a night of fine dining in aid of their industry charity, Hospitality Action. Here’s their spectacular menu:

  • Canapes (Jason Atherton)
  • Haggis, Neeps and Tatties (Tom Kitchin)
  • Smoked salmon with beetroot jelly, fresh horseradish, sour cream & caviar (Stephen Terry)
  • Poached halibut with cockle & smoked bacon chowder (Danny Millar)
  • Baked cannon of “Lonkshire” lamb, caramelised sweetbreads, Formby asparagus & samphire (Nigel Haworth)
  • Verbena blancmange, early summer fruit probio ‘Nutrasouptical’ & flower tissue (Chris Horridge)
  • Chocolate truffle (Glynn Purnell)

All of their dishes were interesting; inevitably, some appealed more than others. My favourites were Nigel’s sweet lamb, Chris’ blancmange (like eating shampoo, but in a good way), and – best of all – Stephen’s smoked salmon, which was rich, sour, earthy and tart all at once. A triumph that left me planning a trip over the Severn Bridge to eat at his restaurant, the Hardwick, and wanting to try cooking with beetroot.  

[This post was brought to you by the soundtrack to Kundun.)