Friday, 21 December 2012

The Electrolux Cube with Tom Kerridge

On Saturday the 15th December I had one of the most unique and exciting dining experiences of my life. The venue was the Electrolux Cube in London, the chef was Tom Kerridge.

The Cube is a pop up restaurant created by Electrolux, there are currently two doing the rounds of Europe taking up residencies on top of iconic buildings.
The chefs are all Michelin starred. At London Sat Bains, Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford and Tom Kerridge are amongst the few.

In Brussels it was perched on top of the Parc du Cinquantenaire. Here guests were treated to never seen before views of the city. Once inside the concealed dining table dropped from the ceiling! In Milan it was positioned on the roof top of Galleria vittorio emanuelle overlooking the main Pizza Duomo.
Stockholm place of residence was atop the The Royal Swedish Opera House.

In London it arrived ( by the look of it ) from out of space and took up it's residency on top of the Royal Festival Hall.
Originally popped up in June it was suppose to pop back down in September, but it's popularity ensured it an extra stay until the end of December.

I missed the opportunity to visit in July as it was fully booked on the weekend I wanted.
After discovering the extended stay we decided another attempt to book would be ludicrous to miss.

Checking the cubes rota of chefs we saw Tom Kerridge was cooking the week of the
10th - 16th December. I rang the reservation team and was thrilled to secure a booking.
Tom Kerridge runs the very successful Hand and flowers in Marlow, the only pub to be awarded Two Michelin stars. He also appears as a judge on the great British menu.

The concept of the cube is to offer guests the ultimate dining experience with unparallelled views over the city, stunning food prepared by hand picked Michelin Stared chefs from all over the British Isles. Each chef preparing their own selection of dishes, showcasing the food they serve at their restaurants and some specially created for this experience.

The kitchen is in full view of the diners offering opportunity's to watch the masters at work,ask questions and take photographs. Basically in a very privileged position to get up close and personal and privy to a world that is usually closed off to diners when they visit a restaurant.

Arriving at the Royal Festival Hall we had to take the singing lift up to the sixth floor where we checked in at the members lounge then waited for our guide to take us up to the Cube.
It was strange and exciting to be taken through a secret door behind the bar through a series of corridors then up more steps to the roof where the cube was situated.

The first thing that strikes you is the magnificence of the building itself, a white and glass structure illuminated from within, it really did look like a spacecraft had just landed. Then there is the view, 360 degrees of jaw dropping scenery.

Waiting outside the craft were a couple of waiters offering us Champagne, taking a glass we went on board to meet Tom, his crew and our fellow diners.

There are quite a few unusual things about dining at the Cube.
a)   It's on a roof
b)  The menu is kept top secret
c)  There is one long communal table so you are seated with diners you have never met 
d)  You can stand at the pass and watch the chefs and their teams prepare the meal, 
      ask questions, take photographs and you are encouraged to do so.

This is what I imagine entering the Big Brother house must be like on the first night.
Put in a room full of people you've never met and plied with booze!

My partner and I were lucky to be seated next to a couple of people we got along with brilliantly from the off.

I suppose all 18 diners have one thing in common and that is a love of good food as seats are not cheap £175 for lunch and £215 for dinner per person with accompanying wines, But let me tell you it was worth every penny!

Tom started the proceedings by introducing himself and his team and what we can expect from the night, then pointing to the fridge he said " It's full of booze, it's Saturday night so lets have a good time"! from that moment on it felt relaxing and it was understood no one was expected to be on their best behaviour.

We partied in the sky and it was fantastic , we ate the most amazing food in the most amazing setting. For all us foodies this was living the dream !

Chef Tom Kerridge plating up the Amuse bouche's

Potato & Montgomery's cheddar croquet with truffle mayonnaise

Tom explaining the process of making first course

King oyster mushrooms with the blue cheese and garlic butter, before soup is poured over.

The Pumpkin soup 'en croute' was brought to the table

Tom carving into the 'en croute' to reveal the pumpkin soup

Pumpkin soup 'En croute' with king oyster mushrooms and garlic butter.
Accompanying wine Soc Grenache blanc, Domaine Ey, IGP Cotes Catalanes, France 2009

 Pigs head with Jerusalem artichoke , pancetta and crackling
Accompanying wine, Fiano Di Avellino, Terre di Diora, Terredora, Campania, Italy 2011

I believe this was made from the shredded meat, skin, tongue and brain from the pigs head bread crumbed then deep fried. Despite the sound of this it was absolutely Delicious.
The Pancetta was also fantastic it had a slight aniseed taste to it and crackling is always a winner. 

Hake and grapes
Accompanying wine, Clos Poggiale Blanc, Skalli, Vin de Corse 20011
This was a lovely dish, the hake was very delicate and wrapped in vine leaves. I think Tom said the sauce was a veonique?. As veronique means "with grapes" I think I'm safe describing it as so. Very buttery and light I loved it and I'm not a big lover of fish!

Next dish up was interesting and had us all over at the pass. A salt baked shoulder of lamb had been in the oven for the best part of the day, Tom was removing the salt crust, then after blow torching the skin the lamb was shredded.

Salt baked shoulder of lamb with salsa verde, pomme boulengere and buttered Brussels tops.
Accompanying wine, Le Pas de Zarat, Domaine le Cazal, Minervois, France 2009

When Tom told us how he had made the salsa Verde it seemed like the list of ingredients was endless, I think anything green went into this it was spine tingly good !

Forgive the presentation on this course we served ourselves and by this time we were feeling the effects of the Champagne and wine ! we were all so relaxed it felt like we were round at a friends for dinner. People started getting up from the table chatting with the team, taking photos and generally milling about, it was great fun.

Final course of the night was a Creme Brulee, this could have seemed very ordinary for this occasion but after all that food I was glad of it and it was perfect just the right amount of bitterness on the brulee which was perfect with the shot of beer that accompanied it.

Me and Tom Kerridge

Aaron & Tom

These two young chefs were also brilliant and they clearly love what they do, reading their Tweets afterwards confirmed this. Regularly claiming they have the dream job, well done boys you sure did "Smash the Cube" !

Signed copy of the menu

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