I was invited to join the team at The Stafford London for a Gourmet Soiree but due to more boring commitments, I couldn't make it - but my foodie friend, Nicole Wright, did. So see below for her view on the event. Sounds like I missed a goodie:
Hidden away on a side street of the historic St. James’s district, away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Piccadilly, this is not an easy hotel to find. This is all part of its charm however, as once you are greeted by the doorman and shown inside you feel like you have found a well-kept London secret.
I went along to the first in the series of their (free!) ‘Pub Talks’ entitled ‘Gourmet Soiree’,lead by Executive Chef of the hotel’s Lyttelton restaurant, Brendan Fyldes. I was escorted down to the superbly replete wine cellars dating back to the 17th century. If you ever need a special private dining space for the wine buff in your life then this would be the place to hold it.
Word has obviously not got out yet about these evening talks as less than 20 people took part. A likeable mix of PR girls, hotel residents and genuine Foodies. Once everyone had a glass in hand Brendan began preparing his first creation; sea bass with rosemary and lemon. He made gutting and scaling the 12lb fish look like something everyone could easily try in their own kitchen, pointing out the techniques for removing the head and scales and how once removed the head and bones can be used to create a fish stock (make sure to remove the fish eyes!). The prepared fish was then whisked away and came back 20 minutes later beautifully grilled and ready for us all to dig in to accompaniedby a simple and delicious dip of blended chick peas and olive oil.
Following on from this we were shown how to prepare foiegras with rose salt and andPedro Ximenez (Spanish sweet wine from the Andulsian region). This reappeared later for us to try in the form of an incredible foiegras burger. I would definitely have indulged in a second one if Brendan had not whisked me away to the kitchen to try his freshly prepared Eccles cakes. The Eccles cakes alone make it worthwhile coming for afternoon tea here.
Throughout the food preparation and tasting we were encouraged to try a variety of different beers picked to match the food as well as being shown the different effects that different shaped beer glasses can have on taste. The final cheery beer was served elegantly in a martini glass.
I left having learnt how to gut and scale a fish, eaten well, sampled beers I never would have tried myself, made new friends, and with a new destination in my address book. There are 4 more Pub Talk evenings scheduled throughout September and October looking at wine and cigar pairing, cocktail making, custom jewellery and portrait photography and I plan to be at all of them!
Brendan’s recipe of the week can be found on the Lyttelton’s website: http://www.thelyttelton.com/Recipe-of-the-Week/