London Branch in the Krug Room

In Event Reports by ashepherdiwfs

The Krug Room at the Dorchester is the original ‘chef’s table’ – one of the first to offer diners the opportunity to watch their meal being prepared at first hand. It was first opened in the 1940s, but completely remodelled in 2003, and is now a sleek, stylish and contemporary space with a wall of glass overlooking the kitchen, which can be opaque or transparent at the flick of a switch. London Branch was recently privileged to attend a special dinner there, featuring a menu created by renowned Executive Chef Henry Brosi specifically to match a selection of fine wines from Chairman Jeffrey Benson’s private cellar, generously supplied at historic cost.   Each course was presented in detail by Chef Brosi, and prepared right outside our room, while Jeffrey presented the wines. Brosi himself prepared many of the courses, and visibly supervised every detail. Anything that was not absolutely perfect was immediately discarded, and replaced.
We started with Moutard Prestige Rosé champagne, accompanied by truffle brioches and canapés of smoked salmon, liver paté and tomato and mozzarella cheese. Then we sat down for the amuse bouche: a substantial serving of poached langoustine in a cider nage, with caviar and prawn shortbread. It would have served as a full course in its own right at most Michelin-starred establishments. Everybody agreed that the nage was absolutely superb, providing a slightly tart counterpoint to the richness of the langoustines, while the shortbread provided a further textural contrast to the crab.
Then we moved on to a sole bonne-femme with lobster and meunière butter; accompanied by an Alsace Riesling Schoenbourg Grand Cru 2008. Although only 3 years old, the Riesling was beautifully full-flavoured, and a perfect match for the lobster and accompanying sauces.
For the main course we were treated to a saddle of Casterbridge Cotswold lamb, with its own lasagne and autumn truffles. The saddle was perfectly cooked, and contrasted in its sweetness with the bite of the tomato in its lasagne. It was accompanied by two wines from Jeffrey’s cellar: both 1976 clarets, but completely different. The first, from Chateau Gruaud-Larose in St Julien, was perhaps showing its age a little, but was delicious for all that, and went well with the intense flavour of the Cotswold lamb, which was itself quite extraordinary. The Chateau Latour was just perfect.
For dessert, chef Brosi presented a Valrhona chocolate mousse, with chocolate sorbet and espuma, and quinoa crumb. He explained that each component used a different type of chocolate, each specially chosen for its unique flavour. This dish was accompanied by an unusual red dessert wine from Domaine de la Coume du Roy in Roussilon. This was a Maury AOC 1996, which is a blend of three different types of Grenache. Finding a wine to go really well with chocolate is always a challenge, but all agreed that it was a pretty good match. This was a unique experience, because Maury and nearby Banyuls have between them virtually cornered the market in this type of wine.
The cheese course was a creamed Colston Bassett stilton on poached pear, with a fig confit and nut bread. These ingredients complemented one another perfectly, and were accompanied by a Delaforce 20 year old Tawny port, bottled in 2003.
Finally, tea and coffee were accompanied by a selection of specially made chocolates, served on a blue plank which itself turned out to be made of chocolate!
All in all a wonderful evening. Throughout the meal, the elements of each dish complemented and contrasted each other pefectly, forming a truly harmonious whole. Henry Brosi himself prepared many of the dishes, and visibly supervised every detail. The wines also were really special, and in a class that few of us experience very often. A similar event is to be held in November – a real treat in store for those lucky enough to have places.