“What have I missed?” is my first thought whenever I return to London. I immediately want to make up for lost time. So I didn’t miss a beat hitting the town on Saturday night.
First item on the docket: some honest British nosh. And for that, it doesn’t get more genuine than English celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal.
Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is inside the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Knightsbridge. The concept here is to redefine the identity of British gastronomy, reinventing historic dishes with Heston’s molecular tweaks. Ensconced in the ruby-red decadence of the private dining room, we got stuck in with some classics.
Two signature plates are the Meat Fruit and the Tipsy Cake. The Meat Fruit is an iconic dish that dates back to Tudor times. Blumenthal’s interpretation of it translates to the richest, silkiest paté – disguised as a tangerine in a dimpled orange gelatin complete with a stem and leaf.
The Tipsy Cake is a cushy brioche bun soaked in alcohol and served with spit-roasted pineapple. It is probably one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted.
After a scrumptious dinner, we all spilled into a pair of black cabs and rumbled down the street to Ruski’s Caviar and Vodka Tavern. Like a plethora of London’s themed nightclubs, it’s contrived. Blatantly so. It’s a pastiche of a Soviet Russia theme. Supposedly, there’s a thoughtful Art Deco-ish design in there somewhere, but you’d never find it through all the fog machine haze hanging in the air. The place is absolutely steaming – from the unventilated smoke of sparkler fountains, from the dank basement humidity, from uncorked teen spirit.
But the music is great – and it’s thumping through the whole place, and everyone is energetic, so you get swept up in all the furor.
And you drink a few potent shots delivered in a Russian space helmet.
And you dance!
It was an excellent evening partying with my comrades.
London, it’s good to back.