I’ve been battling with myself on whether I should post something about my meal here. On one hand, I feel like a toff for having had a meal here, yet cheapass to feel the want of telling people about it. But the food was something to remember, thus my decision is… TO WRITE.
I’m not sure about you, but previously.. Pall Mall was but a box on the Monopoly board to me.. But as the taxi drove down this road on Pall Mall on a dark December evening, I could see into the tall grand windows of the buildings: there were 8 feet tall oil paintings of important men in Renaissance-style wigs in tails, parties of men in black tie and tails gathered around holding champagne flutes… I felt like I was living my own Jane Austen dream!
Inside, having undressed our multiple coats and layers in the cloakroom, we then made our way to the Coffee Room. Grand it bloody well was. A magnificent 20 feet tall oil painting of somebody important, possibly the Duke of Gloucester back in 1821 when he founded the club? Possibly so.
The meal comprised of 3 courses (by choice) and looking at the menu, this was as traditionally British as you could get. I chose seared tuna with balsamic salad as starter, and roast monkfish with a mussel in saffron sauce for the main dish… how awfully wonderful! Also available was the daily roast, which happened to be Roast lamb shank.
The seared tuna was pleasant, and plentiful. A slab of tuna the size of a salmon fillet was presented with baby new potatoes, olives and greens dressed in balsamic vinegar. Beautifully simple, just how I liked it. Although, I could feel the stomach slowly reaching its quota…
I had never had monkfish before, and to be honest, did not know what to expect! The only memory I have of it is this gaping terrifying ugly thing for a face, at the Waitrose fish counter. So when a plate that had nothing of the sorts relating to a head and tail, I was unbelievably relieved! The mussels were dotted over and around, and with side dishes served to us by the waiters, I only took a few boiled potatoes as it seemed like this was only the start and already I felt full by looking at the dish! Some people say monkfish is incredibly rich, however I actually really, really enjoyed it. The flesh was wholesome like lobster flesh, and matched with saffron sauce, it was a very complimentary taste. The mussels were good too (No taste of seawater, thankfully)!
Come dessert time, we were already up to our throats full with food, but the waitress informed us we could take dessert from the menu, or choose from the trolley. Not expecting great things, we were so taken back at how much choice there was! And almost felt like being taken back into primary school, being given the difficult decision to only choose one slice… an impossible decision as you can imagine! On different ‘arms’ of the trolley sat beautiful, as yet hardly eaten, cakes: bar rumba, chocolate forest gateau, strawberry gateau, fruit salad, cherry pie, fruit trifle, and mango delice. I was just fascinated with the trolley, because the waitress would be able to swing out an arm to put the empty plate to hold your slice, before serving with cream at the table. Impeccable service.
By the last few bites of my chocolate gateau, I was near vomiting stage with all the food I had stomached down at one sitting because fearing to appear impolite, I finished nearly everything on my plates.
I feel so full… thinking about this meal.
I cannot fathom anymore thoughts on food.
If you ever have the chance, I would recommend an invitation to the Oxford and Cambridge club. It will be a moment where you remember how posh we British really are. Dinner jackets on and all.