Quince, chestnuts and other winter ingredients at The Athenaeum
Our chefs at The Athenaeum have sourced some seasonal stalwarts for this winter. We take a look at why quince, chestnuts and other tantalising foods are so good at this time of year…
11th September 2017
Lunch isn’t news. After all, eating in the middle of the day has been happening since the Roman times. Throughout the ages, the meal has been dictated by daylight and other tasks that need to be completed more urgently than sating appetites. After getting straight to work in the fields during the morning, one thing was for sure. Everyone was hungry by midday. This is how the midday meal came to pre-date even breakfast or dinner.
While we can’t quite equate modern day London to the Roman Empire, there is a parallel of sorts. Nowadays, the fast pace of London life during the week paves the way for long, lazy lunches at the weekend. One thing that has improved over the centuries is the variety of food on offer at lunchtime. From bread and cheese in the Middle Ages and the humble sandwich created by none other than the Earl of Sandwich in the 1750s, lunchtime menus have become decidedly more inventive ever since.
Aside from the food, it’s the social ritual of the weekend lunch that has been embraced by Londoners. According to Bupa, two-thirds of British workers spend less than 20 minutes at lunch during the working week. Many don’t even leave their desks. Taking time over lunch at the weekends has thus become a closely guarded convention, particularly among city dwellers.
Throw bottomless Prosecco into the mix and weekend lunchtimes in London have become that little bit more special. The bottomless brunch/lunch concept is widely hailed as originating across the pond in New York. But where New Yorkers prefer bottomless mimosas, Londoners have opted to bring a little bit of Italy into their lives with Prosecco. It’s no wonder, either. This is the tipple that is soon set to overtake Champagne in terms of popularity: more than 412 million bottles are expected to be sold per year by 2020.
At The Athenaeum Hotel & Residences, our weekend lunch with bottomless Prosecco embodies British heritage with a glint of opulence. Served in Galvin at The Athenaeum – the hotel’s restaurant by Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin – this is a spot where modern day dining traditions are made. As well as unlimited bubbles, expect a three-course menu with a fresh spin on British classics and home grown produce.
To start, try the likes of Portland crab with avocado, a toasted English muffin and hollandaise, or a native lobster roll with Béarnaise sauce. There’s also smoked duck with plum and poached eggs or a chargrilled vegetable salad with toasted grains and seeds. All flavours bring the song of the countryside and seaside to the city.
Next up is the course celebrating London’s internationalism and vibrancy. Main dishes range from the grilled bacon chop with caramelised pineapple and chips, to a Jubilee lamb curry. Or choose from dishes such as wild mushroom and fine herb omelette or the yellowfin tuna burger with Asian sesame slaw.
To finish, choose some titbits from the unlimited dessert buffet – which includes a range of English cheeses – to accompany your bottomless Prosecco. After all, hazelnut profiteroles, fig and port trifle and Valrhona chocolate mousse must be ideal accompaniments to weekend bubbles. It would be rude to say no, wouldn’t it?
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