https://labelleassiette.co.uk/ +44 (0) 2033185003
I used to give dinner parties…I also used to have high blood pressure. I’m not saying that there was a direct causal link between the two but the high stakes poker shootout atmosphere of the kitchen probably didn’t help. Choosing a menu that met all dietary requirements whilst being sufficiently cutting edge to make my guests feel unsophisticated and inadequate for not being au fait with the latest trends in Peruvian cuisine or molecular gastronomy was the least of my worries. My golden rule was to never cook anything I had done before as that would lessen the adrenaline rush. And then it was difficult to restrain my homicidal feelings when guests would turn up 30 minutes late with shallow excuses about babysitting. Didn’t they know that the starter had to be cooked for precisely 197 minutes at 32.7 degrees centigrade with any deviation being disastrous?
So when Fiona invited me to a ‘validation’ dinner party to be catered by chefs from La Belle Assiette I was intrigued. Apparently staying in is the new going out and La Belle Assiette have built successful businesses in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany and now the UK by taking the strain out of the dinner party. It’s a simple process. You log onto their website, choose a chef and menu at a price point that suits you, invite your guests and that’s it. The chefs and company take care of everything else including the washing up.
The chefs have to undertake a validation dinner before they are taken on La Belle Assiette‘s books and that’s what we are experiencing tonight. We have been promised “Exciting and avant-garde chefs duet: One is a French chef graduated from a prestigious chef school. 7 years experience in various high standards kitchens around France and Europe such as Michelin star, 5 Rosettes and Relais & Chateaux. …The other is an Irish “street trained” chef. Over 10 years experience, travelling around Europe, Asia and Australia. He accumulated experiences and knowledge from the trendiest places.” I can hardly wait!
So how did they do?Our Amuse Bouche was a high-concept marinated prawn (in orange) that had been smoked over hay. There was also a stick of rosemary in the mix. It had a wonderful smokey citrus flavour which was a minor revelation!Our starter was really a vegetarian main masquerading as a starter it was so substantial. On trend roasted beetroot came with a goat cheese croquette and a pomegranate and aged balsamic vinegar dressing. The dish had a well-balanced set of flavours, the sweetness of the beetroot offset by the sweetsourness of the pomegranate.Our palates were suitably cleansed by a lemongrass sorbet.The main course was a confit Aberdeen ox cheek-rich, tender and full of flavour, with a luxurious celeriac and truffle purée, caramelized new potatoes, silver skin onions and Madeira jus. For the non-meat eaters there was Pan Fried Skrei (the new season Norwegian Cod) that was one of the best pieces of fish I have eaten this year , a sweet heritage carrot purée and a violet artichoke and onion cream.
Souffle is never straightforward but the chaps delivered an impeccably light and perfectly delivered blueberry soufflée with pistachio crumbs and a rich buttermilk ice cream.
I love the service that La Belle Assiette provide and it’s at a price point where if you can afford to eat out, then it is affordable. They even have a service which allows each guest to pay for their own food which is perfect for a group of students or young professionals who want to get together. For the host it creates a new dynamic where can interact with your guests in a stress free setting. No more panicking over the state of elevation of the souflée! Our eating out culture has changed so much in the last few years it’s clearly time to change how we eat in. La Belle Assiette delivers that change in a cost effective, friendly and efficient manner.