The London skyline is quite spectacular. We don’t often get the chance to see London from a rooftop but this summer, a new venue has been installed on the top of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.
The Cube is a pop up restaurant sponsored by Electrolux that has already appeared in other big cities like Stockholm, Brussels and Milan. The Cube (A bit of poetic licence for those of you that are mathematically inclined) is mainly a terrace, a large glass box with an open kitchen and a long white table that is built on hydraulics that allows it to be lifted up to the ceiling.
Why is Electrolux sponsoring this? It seems that they supply high end kitchen equipment to the majority of the professional kitchens in the country and they want to highlight their domestic kitchen range too.
This is the list of top chefs from around the country who are lined up to cook at The Cube: Tom Kitchin, Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford, Tom Kitchin and Jonray & Peter Sanchez.
I was so thrilled that it would be Claude Bosi’s day when I was due to go for lunch. Claude Bosi is the two star chef of Hibiscus in Mayfair.
The event started with drinks and canapes on the terrace overlooking the Thames, with gorgeous views towards the London Eye and the Houses of Parliament.
The menu featured a lot of his specialties from Hibiscus. He said that as the kitchen equipment at The Cube was similar to his own kitchen, he was able to recreate a lot of the dishes from his restaurant menu.
Every course was introduced by Claude himself (which you can see in the video) and served personally by him and his chefs. The chefs were working in the open kitchen that opens up to the dining area and diners were encouraged to go up and watch and ask questions. You can’t do that at a Michelin starred restaurant. You also don’t get served personally by the chef himself either so this was extra special.
Here is a short interview with Claude and clips of him introducing some of the dishes.
We were firstly served the signature Hibiscus Flower and pineapple soda. The hibiscus flower is Malaysia’s national flower but we never used to make drinks with it. The little shot glass of pink hibiscus flower topped up with pineapple soda was quite refreshing and gave a hint of what further unusual culinary combinations were about to appear.
We started with Confit Asparagus with hollandaise made with hay smoked butter, served with a confit of orange and sugar. For a dish that looks so simple, it was wrapped up in layers of flavours. Every course was accompanied by a wine which I’ve included in photos below.
This was followed by a summery New Caledonian prawn with a strawberry Sauce Vierge, in a green and red tomato juice. Strawberry and prawns, who knew that was a winning combination.
The next dish, Cornish cod with new season girolles, mushroom ketchup (the original ketchup) Lancashire mead and Jura Morteau Sausage. Perfectly cooked fish, highly flavoured accompaniments and especially like the cripsy fish skins on top to give that extra contrast in texture.
The next piece of culinary artistry was Label Anglais chicken (which Claude thinks is better than Bresse) served with seasonal English peas and pink grapefruit. Ahh, chicken that taste like chicken contrasted with the slightly astringent pink grapefruit sauce.
For pre-desert we were served another shot glass which looked exactly like the first but the contents were completely different. This time it was filled with Charlotte Strawberry jelly and Szechuan pepper foam. The Szechuan pepper foam was made by infusing the pepper in warm custard. Who would have thought that mixing up ever thought of using Szechuan pepper in a dessert? This was very refreshing and left your mouth a little numb from the pepper.
The desert itself was another specialty from Hibiscus. From just looking at it, it was impossible to work out the ingredients and is we were told to taste it and guess. From tasting it all sorts of unexpected flavours were coming up like asparagus, olives and coconut. It was actually made with white asparagus and the dots of black olives provided further confusion to the taste buds. It all came together incredibly well.
It takes a lot of experimentation and creativity to create a menu with the combinations of these ingredients. Claude Bosi is a genius and it was nice that he had time to chat and do our little video interview too.
The last thing that deserves a mention are the little “Aero” petit fours in three flavours dark chocolate, thyme and lemon verbena. They melted like perfumed air.
Dining at The Cube is a really fun experience. It might not be quite the same as dining at the chef’s own Michelin starred restaurant but this is a chance to get up close and personal with the chef and if you don’t mind sharing a table with strangers.
Even for London this is quite an unusual and unique dining experience, and if you like your food and wine, don’t miss out.
Electrolux is running this special event over the summer unitl the end of September. You can find out more details here. http://www.electrolux.co.uk/Cube/London
The Cube by Electrolux
The Royal Festival Hall
tel: 020 7288 6450.
Open daily, lunch at 12pm, £175; dinner 7pm, £215 (price includes champagne reception, minimum six-course tasting menu and wines.) Reservations can be taken up to 4 weeks in advance. The booking line is open 10am – 7pm, 7 days per week.
Details of Claude Bosi’s Hibiscus Restaurant here.
Slow Food Kitchen was a guest of Electrolux