5 August 2014

Birthday Celebrations: Kitchen Table & Forge

I've long been one of those people who prolong their birthday. I like to have more of a birthweek than a birthday. In fact, I started writing this post direct from Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 as I'm off to meet Alex for a celebratory break in Vienna and Portofino. Very exciting!

It was last Thursday evening that birthday celebration numero uno took place; dinner at "secret" restaurant Kitchen Table. It's located through a velvet curtain at the back of gourmet hot dog and champagne joint Bubbledogs. If you Google the name you'll see the random little '&' at the end...it represents Kitchen Table. It's the creation of head chef James Knappett and his wife Sandia Chang, the set-up being you, sat at a horseshoe shaped stainless steel table which surrounds the chefs and their busy kitchen. They prepare then present you with glorious, creative food from a daily changing menu using the freshest ingredients obtained by James. Fifteen courses of it, no less.

I was reunited with Mary who I hadn't seen for about three weeks; a ridiculous amount of time for us. By the way, the brilliant birthday card you see above is representative of the two of us in about fifty years time. It's almost inevitable.

Watching the chefs at work in the kitchen is always a fascinating thing. The precision and concentration is so enviable and this dining experience was proving to be an incredibly enjoyable (and, admittedly, expensive) spectator sport.

The food was fantastic. Nestled within fifteen courses I would expect to have at least one dish I didn't like much but no; each was a delight.

Here's the running list:

1. Oyster, nasturtium, meyer lemon, lychee
2. Monkfish liver, pistachio, apricot
3. Pig lardo, sourdough, fennel, pine
4. Chicken skin, rosemary, mascarpone, bacon jam (my personal favourite)
5. Tomato, melon, shiso
6. Beef tartar, turnip, egg, rocket, parmesan, pecan
7. Scallop, ginger, mayo, scallop roe
8. Sardine, cauliflower, lime, coriander, curry, almond
9. Lobster, sweetcorn, pasta, girolle, tarragon
10. Beef, peas, bearnaise, truffle
11. Strawberry, cream, meadowsweet
12. Peach, thyme, honey, vanilla, brioche
13. Gooseberry, yogurt, pine, green almonds
14. Caramel, chocolate, nuts, fudge, sea salt (most incredible fudge EVER)
15. Black currant, marshmallow

I was over-the-moon when the penultimate course was brought to me - with candle - to a chorus of Happy Birthday! So sweet of them!

It was a memorable gastronomical experience. The food, the drink, the atmosphere and the service were all top class. Kitchen Table is a wonderful choice to celebrate a special occasion.

Even after fifteen courses, we didn't feel completely defeated by food - just nicely full up. We headed over to Forge to continue the evening.

Some of you - especially those who have worked in the London insurance or banking world - will remember Abacus. It was known as the meat-market of the city; cheesy, fun but with something of a tacky reputation. Quite often the place where many a post-work "just one drink" would end up.

Now, Abacus is no more. Welcome onto the scene, Forge: bold, stylish and exciting. It's beginning to pop up regularly as the new celebrity night spot and it's not hard to see why. The stripped-back brickwork, exposed piped-ceiling and classy atmosphere set over two big floors hits that final nail in the coffin of its predecessor. Don't get me wrong; the crowd still want to have fun and are dancing the night away in the club downstairs but somehow Forge just do it with so much more panache. Although we didn't try the restaurant food this time for obvious reasons (fifteen courses worth of reasons!), we did sample the wonderful cocktails served in gorgeous crystal glasses. The barmen even went off-menu to find a concoction to perfectly suit our taste - they certainly know their stuff!

Before I knew it my birthday night had drawn to a close but we'd had such a fun night in the process. I'm already scouting my diary for another night out at Forge! It's just the venue the city needed!

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  1. I don't know what you mean I have never ever been to Abacus! ;o)


    1. Haha! I bet you were there every Friday night...

  2. I also like to drag my birthday out for about a week!! What a fun night and the food at Kitchen Table looks amazing!! I'm slightly sad about the demise of Abacus but Forge looks great!
    Lots of love,
    SilverSpoon London

    1. I think you would love Kitchen Table, it's pretty special and a foodies heaven. We should do a girl's night at Forge some time, would be great fun! Cx

  3. Happy belated Birthday, like you I love extending out my Birthday celebrations. I hope that you had a lovely break. The Bubbledog restaurant looks wonderful. I love to watch chefs whipping up a storm. The cocktails at Forge look supper Lucy x

  4. I've never been the biggest birthday person, but I do love celebrating!! Especially when there is food involved!
    Happy belated birthday lovely!

    {Teffy's Perks} X

  5. I haven't even heard of Forge! Will definitely make sure I look it up for future ref!

    Katie <3


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