On Monday 9 May Harden’s held a memorable event, exclusive to our readers, hosted at the restaurant nominated in this year’s survey as the pinnacle of London gastronomy: Le Gavroche. The evening celebrated our 25th anniversary as London’s foremost restaurant guide and also marked chef Michel Roux Jr’s quarter century at the helm of one of the city’s most distinguished restaurants.
We would like to thank our host and his wonderful staff for a brilliant evening that fully lived up to its survey ranking as London’s top restaurant. The team here at Harden’s would also like to thank our loyal readers for joining us (those lucky enough to get a ticket after the event sold out in a matter of hours!) to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Without you, we would have no excuse for such festivities. So please continue to take part in our annual survey so we can continue to produce the guide. And who knows? Maybe we’ll see some of you at our 50th anniversary event!
Commiserations to those of you who didn’t nab a ticket for Monday’s dinner, but we are planning to host other events later in the year – watch this space!
On the menu: Le Gavroche’s legendary Petit Soufflé Suissesse, followed by Scottish langoustines in a light butter sauce flavoured with ginger. For the main event, roast Herdwick lamb with St George mushrooms and garlic scented jus. And to top it all off, Le Fraisier et Pistaches (pistachio, strawberry and vanilla with strawberry sorbet).
These four delectable courses were paired with a knock-out selection of wines and particularly delicious sherry. Accompanying the cheese soufflé: Apostles 30-year-old Palo Cortado sherry. To match the langoustines: Clos Windsbuhl riesling, Domaine Zind Humbrecht 2011. And with the lamb, a very special double magnum: Silver Oak cabernet sauvignon, Napa Valley 1983. Dessert was paired with Vin de Constance, Klein Constantia 2011.
After dinner Michel gave a short Q&A session in the dining room where guests were certainly not shy about grilling the chef. Everything from his thoughts on marathon nutrition and celebrity chefs who abandon their kitchens in search of the limelight, to his ‘little contretemps’ with the BBC was discussed with Michel firmly stating that the whole experience had taught him a valuable lesson – “I’m a chef first and a TV chef second.”
Guests rounded-off the evening with a dram of 25-year-old Balvenie whisky. Taken from one single cask at The Balvenie distillery, no more than 250 bottles will ever be the same. The single cask has been selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, David Stewart MBE, who with 54 years services at the distillery is the longest serving whisky maker in Scotland.
Michel and Balvenie recently collaborated on The Craftsmen’s Dinner, a series of films that take an in depth look at some of Britain’s leading culinary craftspeople. Watch the films here.