On Thursday 11th July we catered for two events back to back at this prestigious hall, an awards lunch for 700 guests and a launch dinner for 250. With deliveries commencing from 6am, it was an early start for the management team, but after months of planning and tastings with the clients we were raring to go.
Our first event was for NLA - London's Centre for the Built Environment who were celebrating their annual New London Awards Lunch. This was our third time catering for this client, and, with the success of the last two years and numbers having almost doubled this time, the pressure was considerable.
After a successful large-scale set up, guests arrived at noon for a stunning reception in the crypts before making their way through to lunch in the magnificent Great Hall.
Seasonality and locally sourced ingredients were very important to our client so our executive chef Andy Ritchie made sure this was reflected in their final menu. Guests enjoyed Smithfield market slow-cooked mackerel on London Field tomatoes, horseradish and apple, with pickled beetroot and Meyer lemon dressing, followed by a slow-roasted shoulder of Cornish lamb with celeriac mash, minted peas and broad beans, rosemary and tomato jus. We rounded off lunch with summer pudding made from Blackmore berries, accompanied by Mayfield lavender jelly, Cornish clotted cream and lemon thyme scented shortbread.
Speeches between each course added extra pressure for our chefs, but the lunch proceeded without a hitch, and many guests praised the speed of service and the stunning presentation of the dishes.
As guests began to depart at 4pm, we moved into the Old Library for phase two. Although on a smaller scale than the event that preceded, this dinner was to celebrate the launch of a new UK bank, and with many VIPs in attendance it was essential that we executed the service seamlessly.
Guests entered through the breath-taking Art Gallery, where they were greeted by champagne and canapés before they made their way to the Old Library for dinner.
Their menu included our famous shaved smoked quail breast salad with duck and foie gras baby apple, followed by roasted garlic, lemon and spring onion crusted fillet of monkfish with salsify and haricot bean salad.
The meal concluded with a trio of apple desserts: apple trifle with a macadamia nut topping, green apple sorbet with a vanilla custard centre and apple frangipane tart. With empty plates all round, the client congratulated us on the success of the evening and expressed that the food had exceeded his expectations.
Working in this historic venue is always a privilege, but providing seamless service on such a large scale all in one day pushed us to our limits. We are incredibly proud of what we accomplished and the excellent feedback we received.