To show their support for the event, Andaz Liverpool Street has consulted food designer Linda Monique to devise a concept for guests around sustainable dining: The Andaz Scrap Lab Series to be held on September 19 and 20, 2012 at 6:30 p.m.
I recently had the pleasure of joining the Lab Series’ preview event, drawn by the promise of “an experiential, hands-on dinner.” Having once worked in hospitality, I had an inkling of the jaw-dropping amount of food wasted and was interested to see what Monique’s interpretation had unearthed.
Kicking off the evening, we began in Andaz’s Catch restaurant with an aperitif of champagne accompanied by the syrup of left over orange juice and Pimms (very British, and fittingly so given the Olympic fever in the Capital). We then headed to the main kitchen, a place usually kept out of sight for guests, but for this particular experience, a very apt touch. Monique, I learned, has worked very closely with Andaz’s chefs across all five restaurants to utilize the core ingredients frequently used by the hotel, such as eggs, orange juice, sea bass and oysters.
Surrounded by the hive of activity in the kitchen, we tucked into a feast of oysters cooked in a variety of ways—one version, cleverly accompanied by a vial of oyster sauce, to be injected into the said mollusc. Joining closely behind was a ceviche of sea bass cheeks, a part of the fish that is usually discarded. A quirky addition was the sea bass heads poised in oversized fish bowls, seemingly staring as we devoured the feast to which they had so generously donated. It really was delicious, and the sommelier topped off the first course nicely with a lovely crisp white wine, which, because of the absence of a label on the bottle, could not be used in the restaurants.
Embarking on the next episode of our culinary journey, we found ourselves in the hotel’s resplendent Masonic Temple replete with a banqueting table in the center and a feast awaiting us for the main course. Monique talked us through the elements. There were heirloom vegetables, accompanied by a delicious cut of beef called Jacob’s Ladder Belly (almost reminiscent of pork belly with its fatty, delicious quality). One element, which left me literally tongue-tied, was the preserved cow’s tongue. Having spent the best part of my formative years as a vegetarian, I had to stop at this particular dish, but I have it on good authority from fellow, more carnivorous diners that it was a spectacularly good piece of meat, sliced paper thin Carpaccio-style and served with cider vinegar.
The experience culminated in spectacular style with dessert served in the grand surroundings of Andaz’s 1901 restaurant. We sat ourselves at the cheese and wine bar for the pièce de résistance: a dessert club sandwich, complete with donut-esque “fries”, raspberry coulis “ketchup” and white chocolate “mayonnaise”. Genius. Topped off with a lemon meringue “fried egg”, it was single-handedly the best piece of culinary trickery I’d encountered. The “sandwich” was in fact sponge cake, filled with strawberry, cherry and mint filling—quite a culinary coup and it certainly had the taste buds confused, but in the best possible way. We finished the feast with cherries injected with dark chocolate ganache and a lovely dessert wine from California.
Scrap Lab at Andaz is one of those dining experiences that transcends well beyond the evening and ends up being a point of conversation long after the plates have been cleared. It is also highly entertaining, insightful and you actually feel as though you are doing your environmental bit by feasting on what would normally be the scraps of the kitchen.
Something that Monique is saving for next month is the “eggcentric” installation, formed of 1,444 eggshells, representing 1% of the eggs Andaz kitchen gets through annually. Monique plans to fill the eggs with hotel coffee bean compost and sprouting herbs to create a “scrambled breakfast foodscape”.
To book, call 020 7618 7000 or email London.firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit andazdining.com for more information.
Aussie by birth but globetrotter by nature, Amber Greenwood’s love of travel was spawned at an early age with an overseas trip to London, where she’s lived ever since. Her daily bread is made living and breathing the world of luxury travel through her role as travel PR Director for leading luxury communications agency, LUCHFORD APM.