Savoy in style

It was quite a meal at the Savoy. First came lobster bisque, though I tasted one of the Dorset snails a companion ordered. Then came beef Wellington, medium rare with Vichy carrots. The piece de résistance was the crepe suzette. First butter and squeezed oranges, then Grand Marnier and cognac, then the crepes, and finally […]

Very old Madeira

I am very partial to very old Madeiras. Because the wine is already oxidised, it improves rather than deteriorates over time. I have enjoyed a pre-French Revolution 1789, an 1815 ‘Waterloo,’ and an 1824 Malmsey, laid down while Thomas Jefferson was still alive. I have just acquired an 1885 Bual, the year when the Marquis […]

Elderberry Port

I was given some. It’s from the Lyme Bay winery, which seems to be a National Trust property, with revenues from its sale accruing to the Trust itself. I’m not sure. It’s 17 percent, fortified wine level, rather than the ‘liqueur’ it is sometimes described as. I like port, but I suppose this might qualify […]

Wine & cheese in Cambridge

The Cambridge Wine Merchants have an area for people to sit and drink wine, with a small range of foods to go with it.  Of their cheeseboard I chose Suffolk Blue, Suffolk Gold and Godmanchester cheddar – all good cheeses.  It was a pleasure to see oatcakes, rather than bread and crackers, provided with chutney. […]

Marscapone ravioli

Flying out on British Airways to Boston via New York, I chose their marscapone ravioli for my main course, and was glad I did so. The pasta was al dente, and the filling delicious. It went down very well with rosé champagne…

Bavette at the Loose Box

A most welcome dish has been added to the menu of the Loose Box in Horseferry Road, Westminster. It’s a Hereford bavette steak, served with skin-on fries, roasted tomato and rocket garnish, and a peppercorn sauce. It’s very nicely done, served in thick slices and medium rare, as I asked. It went superbly with the […]

Mixed fried seafood

One thing they do very well in Nice is fritto misto, a mixture of seafood lightly deep fried.  This one had lots of squid, prawns, sardines, and some unidentifiable small fish.  Most of it was served whole, leaving the delicate job of extracting the bits you don’t want to eat.  Very good with homemade tartare […]

Ivy Market Grill

The Ivy Market Grill is a fairly recent discovery for me. It’s very close to Covent Garden and has outside tables for warm days.  The menu is actually closer in style to the nearby Delaunay than to its parent Ivy, but it’s very good. And the bar is spectacularly large and decorative.

Just desserts

I was at a Vice-Chancellor’s Circle reception and tour at Cambridge’s Botanic Garden and Sainsbury Laboratory.  We saw some of Darwin’s specimens from his Galapagos trip.  Afterwards there was a champagne buffet lunch of sandwiches, plus some mini desserts, great looking and great tasting…


The meal included Brussels paté, lemon & basil crusted cod fillet and strawberry & stem ginger Eton mess, and the wine went with it very well.  It was Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Chenevottes, 2006, a white Burgundy. Depending on exchange rates, it currently costs about £55 a bottle in the UK, though I’m sure Jesus College […]

What a friend we have in cheeses

The menu for High Table at Jesus College featured quite a good deal of cheese.  There was goat’s cheese to start with, cheesecake for dessert, then a cheese board.  Even the steak was originally going to be served with a blue cheese sauce, but someone must have thought “too much cheese” and changed it to […]

A rather nice frittata

I made a frittata to share at lunch with my guest, a pescatarian. So no meat or poultry, but there were king prawns, plus pre-par-cooked potatoes, green peppers, onions, tomatoes & courgettes. I whipped up four and a half eggs with two spoons of creme fraiche, two of Greek-style yoghurt, half a cup of semi-skimmed […]