Sunday, 8 July 2012

Food over London - cubed!

Warning: This post may contain an extreme amount of superlatives (it is justified)

Last Friday lunchtime, Shahzad and myself had a culinary experience like no other to dine at the Electrolux Cube for a 5 course meal with chef Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House, who had just won 'Great British Menu'. 

Situated above the Royal Festival Hall it has perfect views over the Thames from southbank. We were greeted by our Electrolux hosts to the terrace for some Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale 2002 champagne while we mingled with the other guests. Meanwhile, Daniel and his team were busy inside preparing the delights that were to come.

First up was a deconstructed bloody mary, when mixed together the ingredients combined so well giving really punchy and rich flavours, that set things up so well for what was to come. The starter was a Crispy hen's egg with grilled asparagus, asparagus velouté finished off with powdered burnt onion. Probably the most intriguing part of this dish was the burnt onion which initially I was bit skeptical of. But what an idea, it really complemented the flavours of the asparagus. Speaking to Daniel afterwards (oh yes, we could speak to the chef as he was cooking in front of us) he said the inspiration came about by chance when having a burnt onions in a hot dog then set about trying which dishes it would work best with. I love these left-field ideas that happen by chance to create something brilliant and soo unique. The hen's egg was perfectly cooked wrapped in potato strips. The dish was served with Castro Valdez Albarino, Adegas Castro Bay, Rias Baixas 2011

Now for one of the thickest scallops I've ever had. Sourced from the west coast of bonnie Scotland, these beauties were served with apple, celeriac and truffle shavings, pure indulgence! 

..and the dishes just kept on coming. Not even at the main meal yet, we were presented with this delightful dish of roast quail, summer peas, sautéed girolles and wild garlic oil. Having previously been a bit 'adverse' to trying ANYTHING mushroom related, I was just going to leave the girolles of the side, thankfully I came to my senses and they were a splendid delight. The thing with the bone was quite a treat, almost like a lollipop, a bit of gastronomy genius..........

Now this is a main dish. The chefs were buzzing around to make this dish absolutly perfect, but still had the time (and patience) to describe how the meat was cooked in a steam oven, a different variation of cooking to the fashionable sous vide. This lamb was extremely tender, now doubt being able to cook to such precision of the temperatures allows greater consistency than you'd be able to achieve otherwise. I really enjoyed the consistency that the courgette had together with the tenderness of the lamb. The tomato and the basil brought in some really rich flavours that are hard to forget. This was served with Chateau Moulinet, Pomerol 2007

 Shots - with a difference!
 Daniel perfecting the presentation

Before dessert was a bit of a a surprise with a shot with some interesting ingredients that we had to guess. I think the only one I got was the egg yolk in the middle layer. The rest were maple syrup at the bottom (really should have got this!) and Jack Daniels cream topped with chives of all things. 3 things I'd never thought I'd be downing together. The dessert was another 'Wow' moment that made most us regress to children at the sight of the pineapple candy floss on top of the caramelised pineapple and pineapple sorbet. What a way to finish. The candy floss can only be described as magical, bringing the fairground to our table.

Shahz with the fantastic view over London we had
Owen with Daniel Clifford - the grin says it all

Well what a truly unforgettable/spectacular/unexpected experience that will be very, very difficult to beat. Many thanks to Daniel and his team for the food, I now cannot recommend highly enough to get a booking  (if you can) at Midsummer House in Cambridge. Also, special mention to Electrolux for organising the whole cube in the unique location. And finally to the rest of the guests for conversation into everything from science to food, especially Sara and Annabelle from It was fantastic meeting you all.
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