London’s Most Exclusive Restaurant
Ding dong. It’s Lavender’s Blue’s Christmas lunch. Where to, where to? Our second stately home, of course. Homely Home House. Anthony Blunt’s former home; raffish types clearly in the past. Home is where the heart is and the heart of Home House is the hearty Robert Adam Dining Room. Grisailled and scaglioled to the nines (and that’s just the room), domestic god and sensation in the kitchen Jean-Christophe Novelli is our chef and host. Table for two for noon, thank you. That all important staff-to-customer ratio is pretty high due to the maître d’, Prosecco sommelier, Limestone Coast Chardonnay 2013 sommelier and Scottish Natural Sparkling Water waiter all standing to attention.
“I miss the urgency of a restaurant,” says Jean. “And there’s nothing quite like the immediacy of a pop-up!” These days he’s busy running his cookery school and chef’s academy in Herts. That is, when he’s not creating a bespoke fine dining experience for us amidst ovaloid apses, ellipses and lunettes. Dial is its name, top of its game, a play on a well known supermarket’s fame. A fandango in fondue, perhaps?
First up is a verrine of avocado mousse and lobster tail with Melba toast. Divine. Dame M would approve. Next, seared scallops with chestnut velouté, maple syrup, apple and spinach. Heavenly. In more-or-less pescatarian form, we skip the venison steak with red cabbage, roast parsnip, sautéed sprouts and chestnuts sweetened by Moser Roth dark chocolate sauce. Straight to Black Forest stollen butter pudding. Devilish.
Jean was given free rein with the menu. “Quality of ingredients, freshness, simplicity,” Jean says. “These are all important. But so is – how do you say it? L’huile de coude. Ah – oil in the elbow!” He’s off to Dublin next week. “Probably one of the few places I am greeted by crowds at the airport. I love it! I get the best reception there. I’ll be on the Late Lunch Live television programme.” So much did our early Christmas lunch cost? The ingredients, thanks to some judicious shopping by our Michelin starred chef at the well known supermarket, £17.90. And we even forgot to mention the coffee and mince pies. The experience? Priceless. Merrily on high.