So we are back on top of the Royal Festival Hall for a return visit to The Cube. Needless to say it is great to be back. We were even looking forward to the ride in the very unusual "singing lift" up to the sixth floor. If ever you go here, you must seek out this highly original elevator.
The guest chef this time was Claude Bosi, the double Michelin starred owner of Hibiscus. In the kitchen with him as part of the small team was his former head chef at Hibiscus Marcus McGuinness. Claude himself told me that they plan to open a joint venture in London within the next four or five months. It will not however be fine dining, more an on trend simple format.
On arrival guests were offered a glass ( and unlimited top ups ) of Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale 2002 and some inviting looking canapes in the form of cheese goujons and roasted garlic and black olive croquettes
For those not familiar with The Cube let me explain.
Electrolux who supply half of Europe's Michelin starred chefs with cooking equipment wanted to showcase their move into the domestic market with a top quality range of goods that was good enough for professional chefs to use. So where better to show off their product than in a spectacular glass transportable building and sit it atop another spectacular building, in this instance The Royal Festival Hall.
Thankfully the weather was not too bad at this particular lunch service. Guests were able to enjoy the incredible view from the balcony whilst sipping their champagne. Eighteen diners in total are able to be seated at any one time. So in effect it is a little bit like a very posh dinner party with one of the top chefs in the country doing the cooking for you. Before I move on. Special mention should be made of the chargers which adorned the table. Claude Bosi brought them along especially from his restaurant. Each one was individually handmade and cost many hundreds of euros each, so we had to be most careful in handling them.
Listed as a five course meal to include wines, tea, coffee and a glass of champagne it does actually turn into more courses when you add on nibbles, an amuse and pre dessert.
A little shot glass of Hibiscus Flower and Pineapple was offered to tease the palate.
First course, and the one my wife was looking forward to was the Spider Crab, Cucumber and Green Mango, and cardamom oil. The crab was from Wales. It was explained that an old couple have retired there and decided to pick the crab for something to keep them busy during their retirement. Very much enjoyed by us both.
More to my liking, the next course read well, and ate very well indeed. Peas, Wincles, Chorizo, Chickweed. So English peas, Tiny briny Cornish wincles. Not sure where the chickweed was from, but the chorizo was most certainly from Spain.
I thought the menu to be well balanced and also liked the sound of the next course, Wild salmon, Pigs Head, Barigoule.
Barigoule is a classic Provencal sauce usually served with artichokes or fish. Here of course it is served with them both. It is made with white wine, cream, tomato juice,chicken stock, garlic and various herbs. On top of the salmon was the skin which had been dried then deep fried to add an extra textural element to the dish.
Chicken seemed a good choice for the next course and it was listed on the menu as Label Anglaise Chicken, Liquorice, Banana, Kafir Lime. So the chicken was from Goosnargh in Lancashire. The idea for this dish came from Jerk chicken. Instead of plantain though fresh banana is used.The black line on the plate is liquorice. The banana is used as more of a condiment on the plate. Underneath the skin of the chicken was a mixture of onions and lime. Everyone in our immediate vicinity loved this dish.
Pre dessert next. Charlotte Strawberries, Celeriac, Szechuan Pepper. Most certainly an intriguing mix of ingredients. I initially thought I would not like the celeriac in this dish but it did not jar at all it was hardly noticeable. So from the bottom up. Strawberries, celeriac gel in the middle and black pepper szechuan cream on top. Claude Bosi explained the idea was to get all of the flavours together on the spoon. Unusual, but again the consensus of opinion by my fellow guests ranged from "gorgeous" to "wonderful"
Last but not least saw another vegetable used in a dessert dish. Peas! As in Peas, Moroccan Mint, Coconut. This was served on two dishes the Pea sabayon was in a salted chocolate tart case, and then in the other dish the coconut sorbet, topped with candied coconut. Again an unusual mix of ingredients which resulted in good conversation as to who did and who did not like it. Mostly we all liked it.
And finally tea or coffee with some "Aero" type of chocolates. The white was made with fresh mint and thyme and the dark made with seventy five per cent dark chocolate.
As before on our previous visit, guests were encouraged to interact with the chefs and an open invitation was offered to the kitchen. Indeed at one point there was that many guests milling around I could not see the chefs from my seat. So that worked a treat.
The beauty of this type of gathering is that guests can get up close and personal with their food heroes and meet new friends during the course of the meal.
Its been a while since our last visit to Claude Bosi's restaurant Hibiscus I am now considering a revisit after eating his food here.
The Cube runs until the end of September, after which it will appear in some other great City. So catch it while you can, before its too late.
Details here The Cube
Chef Claude Bosi and Marcus McGuinness.
We were invited to The Cube as a guest of Electrolux.