Monday was a happy-sad day for hospitality and tourism. Londoners awoke to the bad news that the Cutty Sark, one of the capital’s top tourist draws, was ablaze.
But then, at noon, around one hundred lucky individuals met at 43 Upper Brook Street to celebrate the forthieth birthday of one of London’s most iconic restaurants, Le Gavroche.
As editor of the Caterer, people often ask me if my working life is an endless whirl of champagne and Michelin-starred cuisine. Sadly, the honest answer is “no”. But sometimes you just have to hold your hands up and admit that you’re a very lucky boy.
Lunch was a triumph, and on hand to enjoy it was a happy throng of guests that included critics Matthew Fort, Jay Rayner and Giles Coren and chefs and restaurateurs Richard Shepherd, Richard Corrigan, Rowley Leigh and Simon Hopkinson.
Michel Roux Junior kicked proceedings off with a speech that emphasised the crucial role the restaurant’s suppliers and regular customers have played in its continuing success. Michel name-checked one such customer and thanked him for banging on the door at quarter to twelve evey Monday for his lunch. “It’s great – we can resell his table”, he admitted.
Albert Roux spoke next, and paid testament to the tireless work of maitre d’ Silvano Giraldin. Typically,Silvano was too busy marshalling the room to enjoy the compliment. Ever alert to his surroundings, he was whispering up to staff to keep the noise down upstairs, even as Albert was praising him.
Below is the lunch menu – a memorable feast for such a red letter day.
Taittinger “Comtes de Champagne” 1995 Blanc de Blancs
Saucisson de Volaille Bonnefoy
Batard Montrachet 2000 en Magnum Jean-Noel Gagnard
Coquille St Jacques Pochee Parfumee au Gingembre
Hermitage Blanc 2000 Domaine Jean Louis Chave
Medaillon et Jus de Homard
Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1967
Supreme de Pintade Fermiere aux Morilles, Pommes Mousseline et Pointes d’Asperges
Chateau Latour 1989
L’Assiette du Chef
Chateau Climens 1967
Café et Petits Fours
Cockburn Vintage Port 1967
Castarede Bas – Armagnac 1967