Thursday, May 24, 2007

There is such thing as a free lunch...

or even dinner!
I'd managed to accumulate enough points at Toptable to earn a free meal from a special menu at a couple of selected restaurants. I have let my accumulated points expire on so many occasions so I am endeavouring to use them up quickly before I lose them from now on. I've been wanting to check out the Savoy Grill for an age and when I glanced at their website at their "special" menu the 'Omelette Arnold Bennett' ensured an immediate booking. The other J accompanied me on this occasion, we only get to see her in the city on Thursdays so I thought I'd keep her out late this week!
It was a special menu so we didn't get the full Savoy Grill Michelin starred experience but it was a free lunch (dinner) so who's complaining! And our menu was the very respectable pre-theatre menu. The ham hock looked very interesting but when I'd verified that the smoked haddock omelette Arnold Bennett was on the menu it was the only starter I could really consider. I've been hankering after omelette Arnold Bennett for a while; when I was last in Cambridge I suggested we could whip them up for an elaborate brunch, but as LLcT is very cool when it comes to egg it didn't happen this time. And the the chefs here did create this omelette in Arnold Bennett's honour whilst he stayed at the Savoy whilst writing the Imperial Palace. Arnold loved this omelette so much he requested it was cooked for him wherever he visited. So as the home of this famous omelette, it would have been wrong not to try it on my first visit. The other J joined me in the ultra rich cheesy omelette and I can report that it was as delicious as I knew it would be. The only problem I think with the Savoy Grill is certainly not the wonderful food, the efficient and friendly service nor the elegant surrounding but therein lies my issue. We could hardly see our elegant surroundings and even though I am fortunate enough to have excellent vision I know others who would not be able to see the menu, the table or the food in such an environment. I am so much more aware of this increased forced ambience restaurants are encouraging appreciating how others would find this such a disappointment. Also, as a very minor concern it truly interferes with any possibility of taking a decent photograph of my food but if I ever did have the misfortune of losing my ability to see in such gloom I would truly miss much of the experience. Obviously I also wouldn't like to eat in a spotlight, I don't want harsh overhead lighting both unforgiving to both the diners and the restaurant itself but I am sure we could aim for a happier medium. So apologies for the seventies cookbook style slightly brown tinged photographs (trust me this is after Photoshop, before was coal mine black!) at least I got a photo off the Gordon Ramsay site of what the restaurant looks like with the lights on.
The slow braised beef featured too much tomato for my liking so it was potted lamb casserole with potato and cheese crust, creamed cabbage for both the other J and myself. With a vague shot of improving our five-a-day consumption we added the seasonal vegetables to the mix but as these contained mainly cabbage dotted with the odd French bean or carrot we didn't really add too much variety to the dish. And seriously, this was way more tasty than the murky photo indicates though the other J struggled to finish hers; I think this was entirely because I over faced her with the rich omelette.
The other J went for the crème brulee for dessert and I went for the Chocolate Royale. And a lovely chocolate cake disc topped with chocolate mousse and napped with the glossiest of chocolate coats went down exceedingly well.
I would love to go back to the Savoy Grill but next time I'll have the full tasting menu because it sounds utterly delicious and of course I'll pack my night vision goggles. Two forks for the Savoy Grill, the third fork I will save for the complete Savoy experience.

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