During the London Design Festival (14-23 September), Andaz London Liverpool Street, one of the capital’s most design-forward hotels, will be laying on a series of dinners suitable for young and old design enthusiasts, so they can experience the world of food design.
Linda Monique, a talented food designer from Melbourne, has collaborated with the hotel chefs to bring guests some incredibly imaginative food creations, incorporating sustainability through using local produce and leftovers. Of course, Andaz hotel’s leftovers aren’t exactly your ordinary leftovers…
We had the pleasure of experiencing a special pre-design week preview of this dinner. It was more of an epic food journey rather than a dinner. To start the evening off and to whet one’s whistle, we were handed glasses of champagne mixed with the syrup of the leftover breakfast orange juice mixed with Pimm’s. The cocktail was deliciously refreshing way to start the night and signalled the tone for the rest of the evening.
The food voyage started in the belly of the hotel where all the culinary action happens; the kitchen. Feeling the heat from the stoves we sampled sea bass cheeks, prepared in a ceviche-style sitting in an empty oyster shell.
The table centre piece was a sea bass head staring at me with hollowed cheeks. Despite the frightening first impression, it was delicious and incredibly meaty. This was accompanied by seaweed and sweet potato crisps left discarded by Miyako, Andaz’s very own sushi restaurant.
An added touch that was the small squeezy tube that was filled with soy sauce stuck in to a small oyster side dish. You could then inject the soy sauce into the oyster for that perfect sauce-to-oyster ratio.
We then moved on to the main room to have our main course. ‘Room’ is a rather loose word to describe this Masonic Temple, which was only discovered 10 years ago after having been protected and hidden by a fake wall during WW2.
This grand room felt more like a banqueting hall from an old House and Linda wanted to really emphasise the idea of sustainability through using local produce, so we enjoyed Jacob’s Ladder belly, a typically English cut of beef to eat.
In addition to this and in keeping with the idea of left overs, we enjoyed a cut of beef that one wouldn’t normally find on the menu: Cow’s tongue served in a carpaccio form marinated in cider vinaigrette. The accompanying carrots and parsnips were super-human in size and were fittingly called ‘heirloom vegetables’.
The roasted garlic was exquisite, although not ideal for anyone we sat next to on the tube on the way home!
In order to help showcase the vast diversity of the hotel, we each ate our various courses off different plates. This underlined not only the amount of cooking variation that goes on in the hotel but also the huge amount of washing up that needs to be done.
For the final room and culinary pièce de résistance we sat around the cheese and wine table in Restaurant 1901 and were presented with a club sandwich, fried egg and fries. This was, in fact, dessert.
Picking up a ‘sandwich’ the last thing one expects is a deliciously light sponge cake with strawberry, cherry and mint filling. Needless to say, it was a welcome surprise. We dipped our doughnut chips in the accompanying raspberry ‘ketchup’ and white chocolate ‘mayonnaise’ and just about had enough room for the wonderful-looking fried egg marshmallow topped with lemon curd.
Walking through this hotel is a designer’s dream; each room has a different feel to it; traditional, gothic; modern. A minimalist staircase followed by a ballroom stairway, massive open spaces followed by smaller, more ornately decorated areas.
There is something for everyone’s designer taste as well as gastronomic treats galore. We highly recommend taking part in this epic food design journey through Andaz; you get a taste of leftover luxury in some incredible surroundings. And at only £45 per person it is not to be missed.
You’ll also get to take away with you a pot of marmalade infused with the left over Darjeeling tea scent that is constantly wafted through the hotel.
With regards to the wine, the mouth-watering white we enjoyed with the first course was, in fact, a case of bottles that arrived without any labels on. The sommelier couldn’t sell this in the restaurant, so it has been left in a corner. Obviously a fun game of guess the wine ensued, with lots of “I need another half glass in order to really be sure of my guess…”
Something that we missed out on that is the forthcoming ‘eggcentric’ installation, which is currently in the creation process. Linda is putting together 1,444 Andaz breakfast egg shells, only 1 per cent of the eggs they use in a year. She will be filling the eggs it with hotel coffee bean compost and sprouting herbs to create a ‘scrambled breakfast foodscape’. Yet another creative use of what would otherwise be discarded.
To book either call 020 7618 7000 or email London.firstname.lastname@example.org
The London Design Festival runs from 14-23 September.
Visit: http://www.andazdining.com/scrap-lab-dinners-by-linda-monique-,newsandevents_viewItem_24-en.html for more information.
Look out for our forthcoming feature on Andaz London Liverpool Street in the coming weeks!