I recently attended a wonderful dinner at the Oxford and Cambridge Club, on Pall Mall. The clubhouse itself is quite striking (though a little bit of a maze inside!) and was designed by Sir Robert Smirke, who was also responsible for the British Museum. The interiors varied considerably in different rooms, from grandiose to twee, and from the traditionally furnished to those that echoed late 20th century. The venue for the dinner had a rather low ceiling, which combined with the lack of windows gave it a slightly claustrophobic feeling (see photo below), however the tables were beautifully laid and once we were enjoying the culinary delights this was quickly forgotten.
The starter of ‘Sauté foie gras with goats cheese and beetroot’ was not to my liking (nor my neighbours), however I’m not a lover of foie gras in any shape or form. Furthermore the beetroot was particularly bland. Fortunately things quickly improved with a superb veal wellington (perfectly flaky pastry and tender veal) which was accompanied by Perigourdine sauce (flavoured with madeira and truffles), tenderstem broccoli and Dauphinoise potatoes (a favourite of mine). This was a classic combination that had been very well executed. Finally, and yes I always have high expectations of the pudding, came the ‘Chocolate marquis with orange and Grand Marnier sauce’ and it did not disappoint. This was another very classic combination of flavours, however new is not always better and I realised that I’ve not had Grand Marnier in a dessert for quite sometime and I think it needs to make a comeback. The chocolate marquis was light in texture (a very good thing after a substantial main course) and the orange gave it just the right amount of tang. For me this was the highlight of the meal, in fact I might even try to make it at home!