Casually scrolling through my Twitter feed during a break on my last day at work before Christmas, my heart practically stopped beating when I suddenly spotted a tweet advertising tickets for a £50 charity dinner that same evening catered Tom Kerridge.
I'd fallen in love with Tom's food after celebrating my birthday at his two Michelin star restaurant The Hand and Flowers, and literally only days before had discussed with my boyfriend the need for a return trip, after watching Tom's magnanimous coaching of the Professional Masterchef joint-winners.
Given the opportunity I would have willingly paid for Tom to serve me a slice of marmite on toast, but on closer inspection this offer became so incredible that it was impossible to ignore. The tickets were for a seat at Electrolux's exclusive dining experience The Cube positioned on top of the Southbank's Royal Festival Hall, and included a six course tasting menu with wine pairings, plus a champagne and canapé reception, normally costing £215 per person.
Without pausing for breath I frantically phoned the number listed on the tweet, and couldn't believe it when I was told that there were still a couple of spaces available for me and my man. In fact, the evening was so wonderful that if it wasnt for the photographic evidence below I would still fear that I dreamt the whole event, Inception-style.Arriving at The Cube that evening, we were stunned by how intimate it was - literally one long table with 18 seats, in the centre of a glass box. Of course, the transparent diner was made even more impressive by the panorama of London's most infamous landmarks surrounding us, lit up by the winter night's sky. Whilst my boyfriend took in the view, I hovered anxiously around the head of the table at the kitchen's pass, where the great chef himself was plating up canapés for his hungry guests. Tom was even more genial and jovial in person than he appears on TV, merrily chatting about his Christmas meal plans and willing to pause for photos with us all. Unsurprisingly, I chose the image of Tom and I together for Day #349 of #Project366, and it also features on my new iPad case!
Hand and Flowers doesn't offer a tasting menu, so the meals we were being served were a combination of popular dishes from the restaurant and other sharing plates that he had devised especially for The Cube, which he hoped would recreate the feeling of a family dinner. This is a concept I'm familiar with from attending various supperclubs, and it was even nicer that the nature of the ticket sales for this particular evening meant the other diners were all fellow foodies and bloggers - it was great to finally meet Nicky from Every Meal Matters after exchanging many tweets!
At the start of every course the waiting staff kindly explained the geography and tasting notes of the specific wine that had been selected to accompany each dish. My wine consumption has diminished significantly since moving in with someone who's tee-total, and I was already feeling slightly tipsy after knocking back enough champagne to summon up the Dutch courage to quiz Tom during the reception. So I must confess that I didn't pay a huge amount of attention to their descriptions of our drinks, but they certainly tasted delicious and even dry wines that I normally avoid worked perfectly with the richer foods. I still have the pairings list so please contact me if you're interested, and before you ask, no I didn't drink my boyfriend's wine samplings as well as my own...!
this Instagram photo how tender the crumbed cube's filling was!
Christmas gift of a blow torch, but I'm not hopeful!