Like one-time regular diner Marilyn Monroe, Stylist sauntered into The Savoy Grill dining room. Unlike Marilyn, we were immediately escorted out again. We would be sitting - the Maitre d' explained - away from the chandeliers at the Bombay Sapphire Chef's Table, which is located in a separate room through the kitchens.
Words: John-Paul Nicholas
We entered and shuffled around the table to face a window directly onto the kitchen. It's an excellent view for anyone fascinated by cooking programmes such as MasterChef: The Professionals. It's equally brilliant for CSI fans as the window is a two-way mirror, so the chefs can't see you. They didn't give anything away, however. Even when the pre-theatre swarm arrived and 200 dishes were needed pronto, head chef Andy Cook didn't come over all Gordon F***ing Ramsay. We were slightly disappointed.
The 1920s menu alternates between 'rich' dishes and 'poor' for seven courses, and each rich course is joined by a cocktail. Our personal sommelier also matched wines to complement the poor courses. By the time we realised the cocktails alone would have been quite enough, it was, alas the next morning. Get the cocktail recipes and make your own at home.
Grand silver platters of oysters with mini blini and caviar were followed by mini potato soups en croute and accompanied by a gin and champagne cocktail. 'Rich course' they said; 'delicious' we thought. 'Poor course' they said; 'delicious' we thought. This glorious pattern carried on until we were invited into the kitchen to cook our fifth course.
Aprons on, we were given the opportunity to expertly fumble our own racks of veal onto the charcoal-fired Josper grill. We seasoned and delivered some dishes to the pass, then shouted at the patient chefs to prepare garnishes to accompany our meals. The course suggested the general rule that food cooked by others usually tastes better, especially when they're professional chefs. The Welsh Rarebit that followed proved it.
The evening was seasoned with pleasant choreographed surprises. For us, these included punchy surprise desserts, cook-at-home tips from the head chef and one-to-one Q&As with the junior chefs. Bringing diners behind the scenes makes this a one-off experience, and we can't imagine that dining in Marilyn Monroe's old seat would have been any more memorable.
The Savoy’s 1920s Chef's Table Menu
First course (rich): A selection of rock and native oysters with an Oscietra caviar with traditional garnish
Second course (poor): Roast garlic and potato soup en croute
Third course (rich): Poached Scottish blue lobster with shaved black truffle and Caesar salad
Fourth course (poor): Fish stew with pink fir potatoes
Fifth course (rich): Roasted rack of veal with sautéed Cep mushrooms, bordelaise sauce
Sixth course (poor): Welsh rarebit with grape chutney
Seventh course (rich): Opera cake with gold leaf and milk and honey ice cream
Book the table here.