The evening of food and music at the Arts Club started with a wine reception. Miss S and Mr B came along, she being unfamiliar with Cole Porter, and he being a die-hard fan.
After about half an hour we filtered in to the candle-lit dining room. At the top of the room, in front of the glass wall over the terrace, were a grand piano and a microphone. We had a great central table and our table companions were a group of five: an older lady with her guests, two daughters and their husbands. She told Mr B that I looked like one of those people who did the bull-jumping, with the labyrinth, Palace of Knossos. We studied them, and I still can't remember their name. *Mind still blank* Starts with "The ____s" *Feeling truly knuckleheaded*
Brendan Cole and Anton Du Beke, two of the suave ballroom dancers from Strictly Come Dancing on BBC1 were there. I spotted Brendan first and went nuts trying to figure out where I'd seen "that guy" before. I want to emphasise that I do not watch that programme, but I pick up a lot from TV ads and never forget a face...
For a while I think most of us were half expecting either Brendan or Anton to get up and swing a shoe to one of the numbers, but they never did. It's their right to sit and enjoy being entertained for once, isn't it?
The singer did not follow the traditional Cole Porter-style, he was a bit Broadway/West End (where he has performed of course) but he was charismatic, very amiable, and he got us going. Anyway, we had a few songs while we picked at our bread and waited for the actual food, then the real performance came at the end of dinner.
It was quite an interactive evening; enjoyable but for the clods at the back, obviously young guests who got drunk immediately and wouldn't shut up. When everyone got tired of shushing, the major domo had to come and stand by the loudest girl when the initial warning failed. What's more, she and her boyfriend were wearing jeans - and his were the low-crotch type (when the invitations said smart-casual!) Needless to say, they left us in peace after the coffee course.
Starter: a mouthwatering goats cheese and pickled red onion tarlet on a lightly dressed mizuna leaf salad.
Main: roast duck breast in a light orange sauce, and sides of carrots & green beans, and tasty, tender cubes of potato, with slivers of something tasty (?) I was too busy talking to everyone to spend the usual amount of time analysing everything.
Dessert: a mini molten chocolate cake (rich, hot, runny centre) and a little scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Followed by demi-tasses of coffee.
...It was all like really finely done home cooking. Enjoyable as gourmet restaurant food is, this sort of food is always more comforting, which I suppose is a retention of its Englishness, especially as it is a traditional club with silver service. The restaurant is renowned for its quality of food.
Now I truly look forward to attending one of their Sunday roasts. Who wants to come with me????
Ooh, gottit! The Minoans! King Minos and the Minotaur!
Yep, I look Minoan.
That's one I never heard before.