Favourite Forks: From Dining Like the Royals to Experimenting with Asian Flavours

29 November, 2013

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Smoked aubergine caviar and wasabi peas at Atul Kochhar and Jun Tanaka’s tasting menu at Indian Essence

Royal Ascot Menu Planning at the Goring Hotel

Menu planning with “rhubarb” for Royal Ascot 2014 kicked off with an indulgent lunch at the Goring Hotel. Eggs Drumkilbo, a favourite of the late Queen Mother, was particularly inspirational – think posh prawn cocktail meets eggs mayonnaise.

Celebratory Lunch at A Wong

For a recent family birthday, we whiled away a Saturday afternoon with a succession of exemplary new-wave dim sum at the highly regarded A Wong.

Highlights include crab, seafood and bean-curd cannelloni, pork and prawn dumplings, Yunnan mushroom, pork and truffle dumplings and perfect pork crackling.

Eating Lean and Clean

After so much tasting, cooking and eating out, and with mince-pie season ahead, I’ve been eating clean in the evenings with the help of some great recipes. Taking inspiration from one of my favourite cookbooks, Bill Granger’s Everyday Asian, I’ve created a carb-free Vietnamese beef with little gem, raw vegetables and nuoc cham dish that really hits the spot.

I’m a great believer that a busy lifestyle doesn’t have to be conducive to a bad diet – Princi, just around the corner from my office in Soho, does just the trick – providing a healthy and quick bowl of porridge to ward off colds and hunger pangs before a late-morning tasting.
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Indian Essence’s array of chutneys and caramelised scallops with butternut squash and pumpkin seeds

Discovering Fortnum & Mason at St Pancras

Another royal favourite, Fortnum & Mason, has recently opened a new store in King’s Cross St. Pancras, so I made a point of making a visit. The first Fortum & Mason to open in the UK in more than three centuries, I feasted on an excellent breakfast of kedgeree, toast and Fortnum’s very own strawberry jam!

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Spiced pear and quince Mille Feuille with turmeric diplomat cream at Indian Essence

Wallacespace Working lunch

Wallacespace, based in Covent Garden and St Pancras, offers unusual and stimulating venues for clients needing to brainstorm business problems, conduct market research, run learning and development programmes and understand trends generally. My company, Bespoke Menu Design, provides menu consultation for Wallacespace’s client lunches, designed to satisfy appetites and stimulate minds.

This week we were profiling a new dish “sticky roast chicken with sumac and lemon”, and it lived up to all expectations.

Tasting Menu at Atul Kochhar’s Indian Essence

I’ve long been a fan of Indian chef Atul Kochhar and his imaginative cuisine, so when I heard he was to create a six-course tasting menu alongside his good friend with a distinctively French approach to cooking, Jun Tanaka, I knew it would be a good evening.

I wasn’t wrong. The menu kept diners on their toes with drinks and dishes that embraced both the east and the west, with passion fruit and Khatti-chutney bellinis with a real kick to an honestly British lamb confit and mushroom wellington with celeriac puree and brussels tops.

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Jun Tanaka’s standout wellington dish at Indian Essence