diamond geezer

 Tuesday, May 09, 2017

What are you doing on election night?

How do you fancy a four course meal in "the highest restaurant over the Thames"?

Because there really haven't been enough gimmicks on the cablecar lately.

The event is called Sky High Dining, and is part of the Evening Standard's relentlessly-promoted London Food Month.

Over 400 events are taking place this June, notionally across the capital, with this Dangleway Dinner being North Greenwich's contribution. It's being organised by chef Jimmy Garcia, whose smiling face appeared in some promotional puff in yesterday's paper, and follows up on a previous mid-air dining experience two years ago. Cablecar supremo Danny Price was well impressed.
"It was an absolute pleasure to work with Jimmy and the team on our first ever joint hospitality event. Jimmy’s enthusiasm, entrepreneurial approach and attention to detail were refreshing and a good culture fit for the Air Line. The team were really accommodating and the dishes on offer really were delicious and matched the atmosphere of the event. We look forward to more collaborative ventures in the future."
Next month's paying guests will begin their gourmet journey at the North Greenwich terminal, where a glass of champagne will be served with a trio of canapes.
New Haven hand-dived scallops, blood orange, crispy Cecina, apple gel, apple sticks, foraged sea herbs, pickled candied beetroot, horseradish snow in a frozen shell.
I'm assuming that's New Haven, Connecticut, rather than Newhaven, East Sussex. Hand-dived is a new adjective on me, if somewhat unnecessary. Foraged sea herbs sounds like a posh phrase for seaweed. As for horseradish snow, that's a flaky garnish made by freezing a buttermilk infusion, in case you were wondering.

The main course is eaten at a table jammed into one of the pods, with the journey across the Thames slowed to 18 minutes rather than the usual 10.
Chicken & pancetta balentine, chicken drummer, crispy skin shard, mini fondant potato, onion cream, spinach puree, trumpet del mort, caramelised baby onions, red wine jus, baby carrots.
I'm not entirely certain what Chicken balentine is, but that's how Jimmy's menu spells it. The potato concerns me, because not only is it mini in size but there appears to be only one. Trumpet del mort is an edible mushroom, more correctly designated de la rather than del. An awful lot of that meal appears to be sauce.

Dessert is taken in the terminal at Royal Victoria. Dessert appears to be the most flamboyant part of the meal.
Small edible chocolate plant pots filled with Oreo and white chocolate cheese cake. Soil is made up of a layer of Oreo cheese cake and chocolate soil with edible flowers, crystallised mint and basil leaves and edible chocolate pebbles, meringue mushrooms and toad stools. Salted caramel poured from a watering can.
Every dining experience needs an Instagrammable platter, and this is certainly that. Jimmy's chefs will be assembling something special out of chocolate and sugar, and the punters will probably spend longer photographing it than eating it. "Here darling, you hold the watering can at a jaunty angle while I snap away". Salted caramel is quite 2016 though, isn't it?

To wrap things up there are petit fours and an after-dinner cocktail, which is the excuse for another cablecar ride back to North Greenwich. Here diners are promised one last treat...
A selection of handmade mini donuts, made to order with your favourite toppings.
This does sound like the kind of thing you'd find fried at a fairground, although it's possible the toppings will be really niche.

Amongst the smallprint, we learn that "Any bookings of 2 will be seated in a car with another booking of 2", so couples shouldn't expect to enjoy any intimate dangle-time. Also, "Booking of over 4 will be seated in separate cars", so larger parties might want to think again.

If you're wondering how much all this costs, a ticket to the four course feast has been priced at £75, plus a £4.50 booking charge hidden on the second page of the online reservation system. What's more tickets are only being sold in multiples of 2, so the minimum outlay for a twin package is £159. If you were wondering whether there's an audience willing to pay this much for cordon bleu in a cablecar, rest assured that the Evening Standard knows how to reach them, and the event sold out completely last night.

Jimmy's exclusive pop-up experience takes place from 7.30pm on Thursday 8th June, but if you were thinking of riding the cablecar as usual that evening don't worry. Only 17 pods will be laid out with cut glass and crockery, and the remainder will be available for normal punters to ride... if you fancy a gawp. Bring your own fried chicken and a packet of biscuits and you could enjoy an aerial banquet for less than a tenner, plus exactly the same view. See you there?

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