Coda @ The Royal Albert Hall Kensington Gore
Box Office on 0845 401 5045
Dinner and a show. It’s what people used to go to the West End for; but the days of The Talk of The Town or even Pizza on The Park are long gone and with a few exceptions the contemporary equivalents don’t really deliver. The Americans really know how to do it-from the New York supper clubs to the highly choreographed dinner service at The Hollywood Bowl, food and entertainment go together there like…Thomas Keller and Jerry Garcia. …?
So when I received an invitation from those lovely people at rhubarb to go and see Elvis Costello, one of my teenage heroes, perform at The Royal Albert Hall preceded by dinner at the venue’s Coda restaurant I was really quite excited.
We hopped into the lift which took us up to Circle Level 3 and checked out the menu over a Bellini (£10) and glass of Mercier champagne (£9).
We both started with King prawns marinated in lime and chilli, cucumber, piquillo peppers, goma dressing (£10) . The prawns had a good texture and flavour which wasn’t overwhelmed by the oriental tone of the sesame goma dressing.
I had ordered Plaice meuniere (£24) for my main which came with a well-constructed ensemble of crushed new potatoes, sorrel, sweetcorn, chilli and samphire. I asked for the fish to be on the bone but the kitchen only had pre-filleted pieces; by the time it arrived at the table the fish had lost a lot of its heat. I prefer a meuniere hot and sizzling from the pan. My glass of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon was perfect with the fish.
Fiona’s Beef fillet (£32) was served with wild mushrooms and garlic, confit shallot and a potato and celeriac mille feuille. She chose to have it medium rare and pronounced the dish perfectly cooked and the meat to be of good quality. Her glass of Berry Bros Very Good Claret was a good match.
Possets are all the rage at the moment so as a dedicated follower of fashion I had to choose the Passion Fruit Posset (£8)with basil, peanuts and white chocolate cookies. The dish was overcomplicated with the delicious creamy posset overloaded with the more granular textures. My 2010 glass of Muscat (£11) worked really well with the passion fruit flavour.
Fiona’s Selection of Hamish Johnston cheeses with quince jelly (£9) were all well kept with good flavour.
If you want to go down the fine dining route at the Albert Hall then Coda is the right option. Inevitably given its location and function it’s a bit corporate in feel and prices reflect that, but the service is charming and the food is pretty good. And how was Elvis Costello? He was great.
Disclosure: The Hedonist was a guest of Coda.