Thursday, November 24, 2005

De-Lovely Evening

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????

1.08 am:
Ooh, gottit! The Minoans! King Minos and the Minotaur!
Yep, I look Minoan.

That's one I never heard before.


Anonymous said...

I want to come!!!!! Gosh, what a lovely evening!!! I guess you do look a bit minoan, especially the hair.


MattJ said...

I want to come more! lol! Ok, I know nothing about the music but I can pretend and I really like food! Also, I have the added advantage of always making everyone else look good :-p

MattJ said...

Also I am very good at appearing knowledgable and interesting to the casual observer, as long as I am veered away from people before the facade is breeched it's all good! lol!

Anonymous said...

Well Minoan is kinda Greek isn't it and I always thought with your surname you'd have Greek roots? Am I completely off here?
Sounds like you had a lovely evening. Hope the outfit was a success?

rox said...

PS I do think you look a bit Greek is what I meant

Rebecca said...

Sounds nice! I love Cole Porter myself, and I'm so sure your dress was just the hit!

Olivia said...

Vanessa - I know you remember when it was long.

Matt - they don't always play music when serving food...

Yes Rox, right on it. I'm quarter Greek-Cypriot (before the Greeks settled on the island, there were Egyptians, Myceneans and Phoenicians).
The outfit is for the Christmas Ball :) This was just a smart-casual evening.

Olivia said...

Rebecca - I am pleasantly surprised that you like Cole too. If I'd known, you and Giu could have come along!

MattJ said...

Music with dinner is always good, I'm sure live music is even better. As long as the company is good I find the rest looks afetr itself anyway. Unless of course the food is truly awful and Slipknot is the background music. I would frown on that!lol!

That's the good thing though, if you have good company even a bad meal can be good because the scope for mockery is huge! ;-p

Rox said...

Hey Nick, also is Greek Cypriot (although born in England).
As for Cole Porter, that kinda music is just so up my alley! I love all that stuff from Bertie's and Poirot's 30s but also those Swing classics that came later with Sinatra et al. On a related note Nick and I went to see the Rat Pack musical/show in London a year or so ago. If you like that music too and it's still on I'd recommend it

Jia Li said...

you know I would of never said Minoan...

Rebecca said...

Are you kidding? The last time I ever performed I sang You're the Top. Big fan.
When I sang my favourite to do was always big band jazz music, and it is still where my heart lies!

Olivia said...

Matt - as it says in Proverbs, better a simple meal with worthy company than a feast with evil people. Something like that.

Rox - with a name like Nick I am not surprised!
I love the theme tunes to Jeeves & W, and Poirot with David Suchet.
The sets for both productions are also immaculate. I'm forever looking behind the actors at the glass brick walls and gilt Japonesque screens, etc. I swear one episode of Poirot was filmed at Eltham Palace.

I do like the Rat Pack, Deano especially.

Jia Li - neither would I!

Rebecca - you are now officially uber-cool in my books!

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, I do remember the long hair. Are you letting it grow much longer? How long are you letting it grow?


Mr. B said...

It truly was a splendid evening. Congratulations to you Miss O for arranging tickets. It seems, judging by the responses, that perhaps we may have had ourselves a mini Christie's soiree. I wonder if any of our ex US colleagues appreciate the delightful tones of Mr. Porter?

By the way, who was chap in the ill-suited beret? Wearing a hat indoors indeed! Tsk!

Olivia said...

Vanessa - I don't know how long, maybe until I can't take it anymore. Or until I start losing weight!

Mr B - We could have filled the rest of the table with Rebecca, Giu, Rox, Nick, and my good friend Anthony.