A meal at the Cube by Electrolux, South Bank
|On top of the Royal Festival Hall – photo by Robert Carr Images|
So when I actually won two tickets on a Twitter competition, I could not believe my luck!
The Cube is not exactly a cube, more like a skewed rectangular plexiglass shape perched right on the top of the concrete building. To the left, old letters spell out the name of the venue and to the right, below us, the BFI and its current garden installations. Multi coloured flags flapped in the wind (much like my hair!) and the Savoy towered right in front of us, behind the Thames flickering with barges and boats.
|Royal Festival Hall from the Cube – photo by Robert Carr Images|
With a glass of champagne in hand, it finally sunk in – we were at the Cube! And, icing on the cake, THE chef I had wanted to catch was in fact cooking for us. Daniel Clifford, Michelin star chef of Midsummer Houseand winner of the Great British Menu 2012 main course, was in the house.
After some canapés we were invited to take our seats in the bright, light dining room. To one side, the river – to the other, the kitchen. Of course I sat as close to the kitchen pass as I could.
We introduced ourselves to our fellow diners, then listened avidly as Daniel introduced the first course, rather the amouse bouche – a Bloody Mary foam which was delicious and only a glimpse into what was to come.
First actual course was Crispy hen’s egg with end of season asparagus and asparagus cream, made without any dairy, so that the flavour was pure and light.
|Crispy hen’s egg|
Followed by Scallop, apple (from Daniel’s orchard), celeriac and Italian summer truffle shavings. The scallops were from Scotland, hand dived and perfectly roasted. I loved the celeriac puree in this dish. Each course was paired to a different wine. I particularly liked the Vermentino Monica di Sardegna 2010 served with this course.
|Daniel and his team plating up the scallops|
We then tried Roast quail, summer peas, girolles and wild garlic oil. After hailing the scallops as our favourite dish, we were in doubt as we loved the quail. It was moist, tender and the ‘lollipop’ leg was great.
|Slow roast lamb – photo by Robert Carr Images|
With the next dish, Daniel left us to guess the ingredients. I barely got them right, but really enjoyed a strange mix of Maple syrup, egg, cream. Odd, yet pleasant and beautifully colourful.
Caramelised pineapple, pineapple sorbet and candy floss with freshly grated lime was sweet to the right level with the different textures and temperatures working really well together.
I think the pictures of the dishes speak for themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed each single course, with each new one causing us to say ‘oh this is my favourite’. Time went so quickly! We had been told the meal would have finished at 3 but we actually did not leave until nearly 4.
Daniel sat with us at the end and chatted about his experience in the kitchen and other things while we had coffee and some of Midsummer House chocolates. Throughout the meal, guests are encouraged to get up and observe the chefs at work, and even annoy them with questions, something which I of course did as much as I could!
By the time we left, it almost felt we were amongst friends – not just with the other diners with whom we’d shared the experience, but also with Daniel and the maître d’, a very friendly fellow Italian who made us feel very welcome (talking about bikes, wine and football of course).
The Cube is a great experience. While the price tag is steep at £175 / 215 per head (which however includes all drinks and service), it does offer something unique, something to talk about and mainly, it does offer a chance to get up close and personal with a professional chef who for a few hours, cooks just for you, on top of London’s South Bank. It is a worthy treat!
Thank you Electrolux for giving us the chance to experience it.
The Cube is on the top of the RFH until the end of September, with chefs on rotation. Daniel is back in a few weeks.
Open daily, The Cube by Electrolux offers a lunch at 12:00 for £175 and dinner at 19:00 for £215 (prices includes Champagne reception, a minimum 6 course tasting menu and matched wines). Visit the site for more information.
Robert Carr Images on Flickr