It had been three years and a bit since The Guitarist and I had met for lunch. Since then he got married and I changed my career from fashion maker to a writing photographing cook. And so the time was due and he asked me out for lunch. Where shall we go? (Always a question on the lips of friends).
The young, handsome and charming Chris King is only 28 years old and has achieved a world of experience that any budding chef could only dream about! After writing to Michel Roux via his website to ask how one could get into cooking, Roux replied within days, offering him a few days work experience at Le Gavroche.
Upon graduating with a first class English degree in 2004, Chris started his apprenticeship and worked under the guidance of Roux Jnr and mastered the classical cooking techniques.
Chris then moved to New York to work along side Thomas Keller until he was appointed Head Chef at The Landau. “Chris King is a rising star,” says Roux Jnr, “and his menus reflect the Roux trademark style of classically-constructed French dishes, blended with today’s tastes for lighter choices. He has a modern approach to combining ingredient, and a contemporary style of presentation.”
Chris’s story is awe inspiration. He always knew he wanted to cook and he made it happen for himself. It was aspirational to be there. Someone had worked hard and made it into the land of the big boys. The grand atmosphere of the hotel with its high opulent ceilings and stately windows to its art deco style omitted this sense of achievement. You had to be someone to be there.
I love hearing stories like Chris King’s – it makes the experience of eating there even more of a jouissance and I take so much delight in pleasuring my taste buds.
roast quail with Marcona almonds, sour cherries and salt baked candy stripe beetroot
The Guitarist and I have many things in common, one of which, we both love to love – the good things in life and we love to treat ourselves to that bit of luxury and really enjoy it too. Getting old seems to pay itself off a little and getting older seems to bond our friendship with rich and thick layers of mutual closeness no matter how long its been, where we went and whom we ride the waves with.
Classic organic salmon and scallop cereals with a light sorrel butter
grilled squid with cauliflower
We were charmed and taken care of by the lovely, however, formal staff of the restaurant. Rosé champagne filled and sizzled in our flutes, bubbles colliding in unison to the top and … pop onto the tip of our noses! Then came the Rosé wine and beautiful treats before and in-between courses.
My favourite dishes were all that I ordered and didn’t order, the starter of roast quail with Marcona almonds, sour cherries and salt baked candy stripe beetroot and the falafel and the grilled squid with cauliflower treats.
The grilled sirloin of beef on the bone with cream spring greens and shallots baked with a savoy crumb was red, bloody and sensual – leaving The Guitarist with menu choice envy, although what he had: Classic organic salmon and scallop cereals with a light sorrel butter and grilled John Dory with Sardinian fregola and a green tomato and basil vinaigrette was also magnificent.
grilled John Dory with Sardinian fregola and a green tomato and basil vinaigrette
grilled sirloin of beef on the bone with cream spring greens and shallots baked with a savoy crumb
We spent a good three hours at The Roux, being spoilt senseless, our conversation flowed with choruses and followed with dessert of crème brûléeand sorbet, then chocolates and tea, coffee. This could only happen if we enjoyed where we were and what we were eating. Being at The Roux is a rare treat and we really plunged in and sat very comfortably. We laughed til we cried and we laughed again.
Chris King’s office
I went to meet Chris King in his kitchen, we chewed on some oriental dried mango slices. Upon meeting him, my impressions were of a softly spoken and gracious man who loved his job. A smile didn’t leave his face in his pristine and spacious kitchen and nor did it leave mine.
Set Lunches are around £39/ £49. A La Carte Starters £11- £18, Mains £20 – £45, Desserts £9.50