“Oh. My. God,” my friend says, seizing the two weighty slivers of cutlery in front of her, ogling them like Beyoncé had just sat down opposite her. “This is Georg Jensen cutlery. My Georg Jensen cutlery.” I, meanwhile, stare somewhat blankly at this reference to utensil fame, deeply impressed by her knowledge. She’s a woman of impeccable taste and I can only believe that this means something, to those who know about these things, the knife-and-fork elite.
The cutlery is just one element that adds to the oozingly luxurious feel of Aquavit, the newest Nordic addition to London’s restaurant scene. It’s hardly surprising, given its location just off Lower Regent Street, that this is a restaurant positioning itself at the very top end of the market, with prices to match. Classic Nordic cuisine with a modern edge is served in surprisingly generous portions, but some dishes are more successful than others. Mackerel tartare, sorrel and lumpfish roe was inspired; the shrimp Skagen was a posh (and overpriced) prawn cocktail on toast.
Read a full review, with the highlights of my meal, on bbrblog.com here.
Jamie Oliver is studying the room, a PR machine whirling around him – photographers setting up in one corner, white-shirted chefs loading haunches of rare-breed meats into fridges, support teams juggling appropriately slim-line laptops and iPhones, a black-suited security team milling at the door. We’re sitting in the back corner of the new Barbecoa, a week before its official launch, chatting about the restaurant, the area, and how to stay ahead in the restaurant game.
It’s perhaps no surprise that the extraordinarily successful Naked Chef is a perfectionist. “I’m not quite happy with this room at the moment,” he muses, not particularly aimed at me. “I haven’t quite digested what I’m not happy about yet. I need to fix a few things.” This, combined with an expert entourage and a natural flair for self-marketing, has led to him becoming his very own, unique brand – one that is recognised and, for the most part, adored by anyone from the ages of 9 to 90.
Read my full interview with Oliver here on bbrblog.com, with details of his newest venture and his thoughts on our evolving attitudes to food and drink.