Dinner was at the Goring Hotel and joining us
were Mr. & Mrs. V. Mr. V and I first met 43 years ago outside the
Principals office at Campion School. We were both with our fathers who were teaching
us how to spell our respective surnames, both of which are complicated, while
we awaited our respective interviews by the Principal for admission to school.
We both got in and have remained friends since that day in 1969.
The Goring Hotel is owned by the same family
since its construction 100 years ago. When it was built, the Goring was the
first hotel in the world to have bathrooms attached to every room! This is so
normal now but it was obviously a big thing 100 years ago. The Goring Hotel is
a small, 69 room quintessentially British Hotel in Central London. The Hotel is
located very close to Buckingham Palace and has often been used by the Royal
Family. The last occasion was when Kate Middleton stayed at the Goring with her
family the night before she got married. Why the Goring Hotel? Well, we wanted
to have some classic British food and we thought what would be a better place
than the Dining Room at the Goring. Reservations were made and reconfirmed.
As is our wont, we reached early, so I
suggested to HRH the Queen of Kutch that we have a drink in the Bar while we
wait for Mr & Mrs. V. That is just what we did and let me tell you that I
have not been to a better bar in my life. The Bar absolutely defined the word `convivial’.
The feeling of relaxation and comfort and oddly warmth we both felt while in
the bar was surprisingly pleasant. The lighting was correct, the seating and
table distance was perfect, the slightly older crowd all contributed to the
great ambience. The Bar had strict rules, mobiles have to be turned off, no
computers allowed and business papers cannot be opened. It was a bar to relax
not a bar to do business in. HRH the Queen of Kutch ordered a Goring Martini
while I ordered a Negroni. Both drinks were fantastic and alcoholic not the
watered down rubbish we get back in India. Excellent. Soon Mr. & Mrs. V
arrived and we went off to the Dining Room.
The Room was large and handsome with well
spaced tables and unfortunately not very full. Anyway, we were handed our menus
and a Wine list. Mr. & Mrs. V decided to have the Eggs Drumkilbo. This dish
has a fascinating history. It is named after the Estate with Castle in Scotland
owned by the Queen Mother. The dish was invented for the Queen Mother and
remained a favourite hers. Only two establishments have the recipe, the Goring
Hotel and Buckingham Palace. Basically it comprises of Shrimp, Lobster, hard
cooked eggs, Mayonnaise, other seasonings all combined and covered with a Jellied
Chicken Consommé. It is a sort of Prawn Cocktail and Egg Mayonnaise combined. You
eat this with Brown Bread. The dish is served cold. It was a substantial
portion and it was very good. Mr. & Mrs. V polished off the dish, not
before giving us spoonfuls to taste. At this point Mr. V remarked that one
thing that irritates him immensely is restaurants that serve small portions. He
was most happy seeing the portion size in the Dining Room.
HRH the Queen of Kutch had Warm Duck Livers
with a Poached Duck Egg, Artichoke Puree and Sherry Vinegar Dressing. The dish
was perfect. The Livers cooked just right and the Poached Egg had a liquid yolk,
oozing and creating a sort of Sauce. I ordered the other signature dish, Glazed
Scottish Lobster Omelette. A thing of beauty it was, Lobster, Egg, Thermidor
Sauce all cooked together. Really a classy dish.
|Warm Duck Livers with a Poached Duck Egg, Artichoke Puree and Sherry Vinegar Dressing|
|Glazed Scottish Lobster Omelette|
For mains, HRH the Queen ordered Pan Fried Dover Sole. This came with Sauté Potato and Spinach. She was happy with the dish. The whole fish was presented and then the fish filleted tableside.
|The whole pan fried Dover Sole|
|Filleted and plated|
Mrs. V ordered Slow Cooked Best
End of Lamb with Purple Sprouting Broccoli and a Rosemary Jus. This was cooked
Medium. She said the dish was good. I think it was as she finished it. Both Mr. V and I ordered a British
classic, Beef Wellington which came with Roast Potato, Savoy Cabbage and a Red
Wine Jus. Excellent. The Beef was medium rare as ordered and very good. A Beef
Wellington is a particularly difficult dish to cook. What happens here is that
a Beef Fillet or Tenderloin is quickly seared. Then it is smeared with Mustard,
covered with Mushroom Duxelle and the whole thing wrapped in pastry. Then the whole
package is baked. Since you cannot see the meat, there is no way you can tell
if the meat is cooked to the required doneness as it is covered with pastry. So
it is a matter of tremendous skill to judge if the meat is cooked. Both dishes were presented on the Trolley and carved tableside.
|The Trolley with the Best End Lamb and Beef Wellington|
|Best End of Lamb|
|Portion of Savoy Cabbage|
Deserts were a difficult choice. Mrs. V
ordered a homemade Ice Cream which was attractively served. Mr. V ordered an
Amedei Chocolate Mousse with Caramel. This looked very good and had a portion
of Honeycomb too. I ordered the Spotted Dick, well; I was in a British
restaurant! Spotted Dick is a sort of Sponge made with Suet and candied fruit.
The Sponge is steamed and not baked. The Sponge is served with a simple Custard
or Crème Analgise as the French call it. Very nice, not too sweet and the
Sponge was moist.
|Amedei Chocolate Mousse with Caramel|
|Spotted Dick with Custard|
It was a most wonderful evening right from
the Bar, the meal and the company. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. While the
food and the Dining Room were no doubt good, I came away with very favourable
impressions of the Bar. A really nice Bar. Fully recommended.
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