Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Flower power was definitely in the air thanks to this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
And it seems as though some of London’s top chefs have created a whole range of floral treats – from entire menus to afternoon teas and cocktails, no doubt inspired by the horticultural atmosphere of this annual event.
Florally inspired dishes are nothing new, but usually they involve fragrant bouquets on tables or culinary staples that have been cleverly re-invented with a floral twist.
This time, London’s restaurants have taken it to much more creative heights - from gently incorporating floral essences to serving up the real thing – petals, stamens and all.
The head chef of Roussillon has created a seven-course Flower Show Menu. At seventy pounds a head, you can feast on pink royale of rose petals with caramelized beet leaves and light prawn consommé, cannelloni of tender petals with sautéed lovage (an English herb), and honey-glazed sweetbread with queen of the field tempura - a Japanese-inspired dish utilizing garlic flowers for their concentrated flavour. To round things off? Chrysanthemum soufflé crescendo.
At Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, afternoon tea for two features violet-flavoured fairy cakes decorated with edibles, and scones with rose petal and strawberry jam. If you order champagne it will arrive at your table with a wild hibiscus flower in raspberry and rhubarb syrup nestling in its base.
The floral theme continues at Le Cercle, where head chef Thierry Beyris declares that edible flowers are “utterly delicious in the right hands” and very fashionable among certain culinary circles. His creations there consist of floral tapas, wild rocket sorbet with daisy, spring salad with violet dressing and sea bass tartare with peppery nasturtium.
At The Cinnamon Club Chef Vivek Singh’s five-course Garden Menu, running for the entire month of May, starts with rose petal-infused bellini aperitif, followed by essence of tomato with morels, marigold and edible gold leaf, stir-fried asparagus spears with banana flower, and is rounded off with jasmine and bergamot pana cotta.
And to celebrate the opening of their bar-restaurant The Botanist, brothers Tom and Ed Martin concocted some fragrant new cocktails. Rose Square - a pink rose petal vodka with lychees, rosebud syrup and champagne – and the Lavender Bloom which is made of gin, fresh lavender, honey and apple juice.