LONDON, United Kingdom — The love for England and passion for the British elegance that Monsieur Dior had is marvellously exemplified in the animated windows of Harrods which present a range of Dior creations, designs and accessories displayed with a British twist to give life to a fascinating experience of fashion, elegance and taste through a pop-up store, the So Dior exhibition and the Dior Café.
Leaving behind the beautiful reconstruction of the façade of 30 Avenue Montaigne that welcomes visitors to the So Dior exhibition, I reached the adjacent room where my culinary experience started, chez Dior Café.
The trianon grey walls outlined with white mouldings are adorned with minimal style watercolour illustrations exclusively realised for the Dior Magazine and the Dior Café by one of the most famous and admired illustrators, Mats Gustafson, unveiling his interpretation of Raf Simons’ first ready-to-wear collection for Dior. Opposite, a wall of mirrors and the row of chandeliers emphasise the grandeur of the room through a superb trick of the light. This elegant and yet minimalist atmosphere plays beautifully with a mixture of British elegance and House of Dior codes such as the medallion-back chairs and opulent tableware complimented with fine porcelain and silver cutlery.
The menu, devised by Dior Café head chef Sydney Aldridge (working in the team of Harrods Executive Chef Duccio Orlandini), took inspiration from recipes featured in Monsieur Dior’s 1972 cookbook, “La Cuisine Cousue-Main” and added a modern flair to them and a special reinterpretation for the Harrods event.
Our team looked at the overall feel of the recipes and developed the dishes from there in close collaboration with the Dior team.
I took some time to decide what to choose from the menu and I was assisted by a well-informed waiter who explains each dish in turn, emphasising the most popular plates: the black truffle omelette and the lobster club sandwich highlighting – of course – the signature dish, the foie gras terrine with Dom Perignon geleé.
I began with an assortment of canapés consisting of one small olive oil macaroon with goat’s cheese, a refined ratte potato and caviar, smoked salmon on blini and crostino, foie gras parfait and a lobster geleé on a crostino. My suggestion is to save the macaroon for last as it perfectly finishes the sequence of flavours.
For the main, I was tempted by the Filet of Dover sole meunière and the poulet de Vendée with baby spring vegetables and a truffle thyme bouillon, but finally I opted for the must have in this Diorised experience, the lobster club sandwich.
The sommelier recommended Harrods Chablis, France 2009 and Gavi di Gavi Vigneti Montesora, La Giustiniana 2011. Upon tasting, both would complement the menu perfectly, but for my feminine palate, the Chablis had the perfect combination of strength, minerality and taste to accompany my meals.
After a few sips of my refreshing Chablis, my main course arrives in style, four triangular lobster club sandwiches held together with a So Dior finishing touch, wooden splints featuring the Lady Bag shapes. This dish is accompanied by an endive salad with caramelised walnuts; just superb!
Being a dessert lover, I obviously took the opportunity to review the exquisite options on the menu. While the chocolate gâteau caught my attention, I opted for a lighter offering that was still rich in flavour, the peach and strawberry soup with a coconut milk sorbet and pink poppy seed tuile.
As Dior taught us, fragrance is the finishing touch to a dress, and for my meal, the finishing touch was a Chypre tea that recalls the composition of Miss Dior, which through its essence and balanced flavour presents the perfect bouquet for completion.
And for those who cannot resist to take a piece of Dior with them, at the reception you will find the Cypre tea, the Silver Needle white tea and the quintessentially British Afternoon tea with an elegant French twist. But as Lynda Cooke, Marketing and PR Manager for Restaurants at Harrods assured: “We are very close to selling out of the tea! Only the afternoon blend is in stock.” Among the delicacies available there is a hint of naughtiness coming through cupcakes decorated with house codes and even cupcake kits to take home.
A must have appointment in every Londoners’ diary!