EDIT; the total raised for Action Against Hunger by One Night in London was £806.08!
So it’s all over; 6 months of planning culminated in a whirlwind of restaurants, black cabs, knives, langoustine mass-murder, bread dough’s, booze, blood and burns… But at the end of it all, there were 32 happy diners and many tired but happy cooks and servers. If you want to read about how One night in London came about, check part 1 of this post.
After lunch at Roganic on Saturday, we headed over to The Chancery to get a tour of the kitchen and restaurant, have a quick beer and grab what we needed to do prep that night at Keith & Lolli’s. We took a cab over and started on the unenviable task of dispatching the live langoustine from Rex goldsmith.
We needed the meats raw, and a quick Chroma Knife incision to the back of the head seemed more humane than peeling them live. I volunteered Dan and Paul and through tears of anguish they silenced the begging pleas of the langoustine.
Killing the poor blighters was only the beginning, we still needed them out of the shells; a task which left me with a deep thumb wound (I only did one) and Dan & Paul with thousands of hairline cuts that would react agonizingly with all forms of acid over the next few days.
But at last they were done and happy.
Meanwhile Keith was on risotto & pork belly duty, I was making puff pastry and bread dough’s, filleting fish and so on… it was a long night and we went to bed after 2am. The next morning I was up at six to bake the bread in time for our 9am meeting with the rest of the team at The Chancery.
A delivery from The Rib man filled our stomachs and got us ready for the day ahead. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t have Holy Fuck sauce for breakfast.
We continued prep; quail needed boning, langoustine stock needed making, cheeks were braised and Onglet cleaned…
We we lucky to have the use of some truly exceptional knives from Chroma, we used them for just about everything. Deciding to use Dutch time rather than English time, we declared beer o’clock at 11.30. a good choice.
Prep moved up a gear as we moved into the afternoon. We wanted three ravioli per person, this meant that with a buffer we’d need 114 ravioli; 228 separate disks of Pasta. This took a while, we almost changed the portion size down to two per person, but we struggled on and were done in time.
The cheeky pie filling was made, the pastry rolled and filled. We moved on to the amuses, then the sauces, then the garnish. There was a lot to be done but as service approached we had time for a team meeting. With this out of the way, we cleaned down and got ready.
As guests arrived and we prepped the canapés, Nikki who was doing the washing up, volunteered to make the sticky toffee pudding, I called out the recipe and she produced a wonderful sticky pudding. This was kept in a warm place until needed. The canapés went out; Botarga on sourdough toast, RibMan Rillettes with HF sauce, all went down a treat.
The guests were seated, more wine poured and we started the amuses, we were struggling to find enough service dishes for 96 deep fried balls, then a blessing in disguise; the cod cakes collapsed in the pan and weren’t good enough to serve… this meant we had enough cups and glasses for the rest.
Quail time, the legs were frying then into the oven, the breasts were roasted of then rested. The sauce was perfect, we served the quail on watercress puree with game chips.
Fish course; some breathing room, we blanched the ravioli in batches of 38 and served three per person in a thick and rich langoustine bisque with some micro herbs…
As the last fish went out, the Onglet went in; six blazing pans of meat, seared all over then wrapped in foil to rest. The parsnip puree was vacuumed and resting in hot water, the sauce was finished, the broccoli was ready to be blanched… we decided to have a break for 5 minutes; we were so far ahead, we’d give our guests a rest.
When the tables were cleared and the next wine was poured, we started plating up. The Onglet was served with an ox cheek pie, parsnip puree & purple sprouting. All plates went out and we were happy.
Next came the cheese course; I cut the cheese & bread giving everyone a chance to clean down… I’m not sure I’ve ever seen 2.5 kilos of cheese disappear so quickly, all plates came back clean again…
The sorbet came out of the freezer and the toffee sauce was bubbling. Dessert went out calmly and smoothly leaving lots left for us to finally eat something…
The last thing to leave the kitchen; Macrons made by Edd Kimber. A happy end to a good dinner. Drinks all round, handshakes, cleaning.
After the raffle, group photos and more drinks. Things started going by in a blur, all too soon my taxi was there and it was time to leave this great, great night.
I’ve been asked quite a few times if I would do this again and I think the answer is a big yes. But this weekend took so much planning and focus that now it’s over I think I need to mourn it slightly before I can think about doing it again.
We’re still waiting for the final count up of all invoices and so on, but once that’s done we’ll publish the figures for ACFUK
I started trying to thank everyone on Twitter but there were so many people that helped with so many things, that I’ll just say here; thank you, to the people who know who they are.
Toasted sourdough with grey mullet bottarga & Masserei del Fuedo Sicilian olive oil
Umbrian black truffle Arancini
White & rye sourdough
Roast King Quail, watercress puree, game chips & sauce
Langoustine & seabass ravioli, langoustine broth
Black Angus Onglet, Parsnip & horseradish puree, new seasons purple sprouting, cheeky pie
Sparkenhoe – Farmhouse red Leicester
Gorwydd Caerphilly – mature Caerphilly made to a traditional recipe
Stichelton – newly developed Stilton style cheese
Hafod organic welsh cheddar
Served with malted barley, wheat & rye sourdough. All cheeses made from raw milk.
Sticky toffee pudding, blood orange sorbet
Coffee & Petit Four – Macrons
All bread made from stoneground flours from Fosters Mill in Cambridgeshire, with the exception of the toasted sourdough Canapés; this was made in Holland on Friday to allow it to “mature” in time for the dinner.
Specialist Italian items are supplied by Melograno Deli in Kensington, including olive oils, Umbrian truffle, pasta flours and carnaroli rice.
All fish supplied by Rex Goldsmith, The Chelsea Fishmonger.
All meat supplied by O’Shea’s butchers in Knightsbridge.
All vegetables supplied by andreasveg.co.uk
The cheese comes from Neal’s Yard Dairy and this selection unites some endangered or even extinct traditional British cheeses that have been revived in the past decade.