7 Dec 2009

Fine Dining (with Beetroot) …

I thought I was drawing a line under the culinary beetroot adventures last week but yesterday, as an early Christmas present, I joined my sister's family for some fine dining in the restaurant of a very renowned London retail establishment.  Among a very tempting choice of Starters, I spied (with my little eye): 'Salad of Cheltenham Beetroot, Caramelized Chicory (Endive) & Walnuts'.  Oooh!

Well, I had to give that a try and so, so glad I did - it was delicious! So much so that, despite dining protocol, I whipped out my camera and quickly snapped it, mid-munch.  Doesn't it look yummy? 

In addition to the more obvious ingredients, there was frisée lettuce and, I think, chopped spinach - or, more probably, baby beetroot leaves.  Sophie Grigson's recipe for caramelized chicory can be found here and uses butter, honey and freshly squeezed orange juice for roasting the chicory, which thickens into a coating sauce by the end of cooking.  (A quicker stir fry version can be found here.)The beetroot was absolutely scrumptious - whether because it was Cheltenham Beetroot (so growing those seeds next year!) or whether the way it was cooked (perhaps with Juniper berries and Bay?), I don't know.  I think some experimenting is called for.

I'm guessing the recipe but, if I'm right, I can recommend it as a very nice salad - whether on it's own or as part of a meal.  Gosh!  I'm converted!  Who'd have guessed?

Oh yes.  And where was this fine dining taking place, I hear you ask?

Given a small fortune burning a hole in my back pocket, I'd definitely go again.  I count myself fortunate indeed, even having gone once.  It was a trip back to a bygone age of impeccably polite staff, delicious food, and a relaxed ambience where you can be as unhurried as you wish.  And don't even get me started on the Ladies Powder Room!  By the way, if you're in London, their Christmas windows are fab - based on the theme of swans, which continues throughout the store.  Here's a spoiler:

Happy Monday everyone! 


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