Friday, January 14, 2011

Lunch Treat/Buena Comida

Working hard at Insituto Cervantes

So after a week of intensive Spanish lessons, three hours a day every day, exhausted and head spinning - having spent another morning discussing mis abuelos y hijos y hermanos with fellow students - I decided, on the spur of the moment, to treat myself to a noice lunch.

I travel to the Intituto Cervantes by tube, on the Piccadilly Line to Hyde Park Gate, then walk on into the heart of Belgravia. In the course of the week I have discovered an excellent authentic little Italiano bistro (if that's not mixing too many foreign-acquired words) where the coffee is good; however the food is not so good. Today, as I prepared to descend once more into the arteries of the Tube, I noticed some top-hatted gentlemen opening discreet but heavy doors...The Lanesborough Hotel. Drawn like iron filings to a magnet, I ventured indoors, where more formally dressed gents (tails, waistcoats, white rose boutonnières) patrolled the hallway, deeply carpeted, exotically flowered and with the chill of the drizzle outside assuaged by fires. Noice.

The Lanesborough (from its website)

With an unerring sixth sense, I soon discovered the restaurant, which turned out to be called Apsley's, and to have been established by a many-Michelin-starred chef named Heinz Beck:

This is the first restaurant outside Italy created by internationally renowned chef, Heinz Beck - holder of 3 Michelin stars at La Pergola in Rome. As Beck has said of his cooking, it is "light cuisine of Mediterranean flavours". The Executive Chef, and the man responsible for ensuring the quality and consistency of Beck's menu is Massimiliano Blasone, who was the Executive Chef at Castello Banfi, the Tuscan estate producing Brunello di Montalcino wine.
I enjoyed cream of Jerusalem artichoke soup with Langoustines, venison with red cabbage, and a souffle, plus various amuse bouches. The sofas were so comfortable I had to concentrate so that I didn't fall asleep (replete as I was with Spanish verbos); and the service was par excellence (now I really am mixing the languages).


Actual dessert

I see from the website that The Lanesborough also has something called 'The Library Bar', which sounds right up my alley...maybe a treat when I am finally able to string a few words of Spanish together. Sad to say, despite some small progress, that is barely yet the case. I struggle on.

Muchas gracias a la profesora Yolanda para sus esfuerzos esta semana.

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