Thursday, 5 April 2012

London Day 5 - Museums and gastronomy

Today was designated Museum day.  The British Museum was first on the books.  I had heard so many things about the museum, I was eager to see it.  I even set aside 4 hours for the museum.

Like all things old in this town, the front facade was impressive, in that Old English way.

However the inside was modern, light and full of people!  The first room was full of antiquities and even a secret door!

However, it was later that I found out that the first room with all those antiquities was actually all the rejects from the other rooms, because all the other rooms were filled with MUCH more impressive things.

Mummies, Sarcophagi and Canopic jars

 Egyptian statues and the Rosetta Stone

Roman Statues

Parts of the Parthenon

Assyrian carved reliefs

I decided to give Asian artifacts a miss, having been to Japan and Taiwan's National Museums.  I lost myself in the shops for a while and ended up buying a few books for myself and the kids.  My sister and I then went for lunch at Hakkasan.
Grilled Shanghai dumpling and BBQ Pork Cheung Fun (rice noodles)

BBQ Organic Pork ribs

Duck and rice steamed in a leaf

Mmm yum!  After that we made our way to the Natural history museum.  Outside there was a falconry display - I love hawking and falconry!  I wish I could handle a beautiful bird of prey!

The Natural history museum was PACKED.  Kids all over the place and a 45 minute queue to get in to see the dinosaurs, so we decided to give them a miss.
The ceiling was beatiful with its botanical paintings

 Fish of the Deep DEEP Sea

Pickled animals

Fossils on the walls


I had to admit I was a bit disappointed.  I was expecting more from the museum - more British and European natural history things.  So far everything seemed stock standard Natural History museum stuff.  So a bit of shopping after the museums was on the books.

Down to Harvey Nichols to check out the store.  Different brands, not as upmarket as Harrods, but some of the clothing seemed more like things I would wear.  Then I went and bought another pair of Prada shoes and some more Shiseido makeup.

After shopping we went to our prebooked dinner destination Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, which was awarded 1 Michelin Star in 2012.  The food here is inspired by historic British gastronomy. Heston Blumenthal and Executive Chef Ashley Palmer-Watts spent years researching and exploring Britain’s gastronomic past, consulting with food historians, Royal Palaces and endless hours at The British Library.  The result is a menu that has achieved worldwide recognition from food critics, chefs and customer alike.  Recipes used for inspiration date as far back as the Royal Courts of King Henry VIII and have produced classics such as Mandarin Meat Fruit for example.  Fortunately the dress was comfortable rather than formal.
It is often thought that the heavy use of spices during the middle ages was a way to disguise the taste of rotten meat but, in fact, the exotic spices introduced to Britain over time by the Romans, Venetian merchants and knights returning from the crusades were far too expensive to be wasted on meat that wasn't fresh; instead, spices were added to show how rich, refined and extravagant you were.

Meat Fruit (c.1500) - Mandarin, chicken liver parfait and grilled bread
Don't be fooled, that mandarin is actually pate!

Rice and Flesh (c. 1390) - Saffron Calf tail and red wine

 Spiced Pigeon (c. 1780) - Ale and artichokes

Cod in cider (c. 1940) - Chard and fired mussels

Slow cooked Angus - one of the specials for the day

 Tipsy cake (c. 1810)  - Spit roast pineapple

Chocolate bar (c. 1730) - Passion fruit jam and ginger ice cream

Brown bread Ice cream (c. 1830) - Salted butter caramel, pear and malted yeast syrup

Dinner was superb.  Well deserving of its 1 Michelin Star. I was so stuffed I couldn't even finish the complimentary mousse and brioche at the end.

No comments:

Post a Comment