A hot, balmy summers evening in Hampstead, myself and the 60secondreviews crew, hot and bothered, lug our camera equipment through the back gate of Fenton House, a towering 17th century National Trust building with accompanying gardens and orchards.
We reach the lawn at the front of the house, camera bag goes down and mouths drop open. The house and gardens are stunning, and furthermore the gazebo and tables laid up in country-garden-party style fashion is simply too much to take in. This is going to be a good night.
The National Trust’s ‘London Project‘ have begun a love affair with a company I truly admire – The Art of Dining London – to create these pop-up dining events among others, that will introduce The National Trust to a wider audience.
The weather couldn’t have been more perfect for the event – and for us to film a review of the evening – and as I wondered around Fenton House sipping my hibiscus flower and prosecco welcome drink, I was pretty damn happy.
The evening was called A Night With the Mistress, the mistress being that of the Kings that occupied Fenton House many moons ago (Her knickers could be found adorning the trees!) The dining theme was British garden and countryside. Stuffed pheasants, flowers and foliage filled the gazebo, and the menu was split into parts of ‘Pond’ ‘Soil’ and ‘Leaves’. The first course of pond was trout in a Thai style broth with a lightly battered frogs leg. I must add – this is one of the things that was so amazing about the evening, the food was incredibly experimental and had a fairytale element to it. Between each course, the ‘mistress’ emerged from the house and treated us to some beautiful opera singing.
Course 2 was ‘Leaves’ a vine leaf Dolma with rice and leaves perfectly seasoned. The chef I might add is Ellen Parr (photographer Martin Parr’s daughter). Next up was a cute small pot of ‘soil’, a chocolatey, nutty mixture that was accompanied by a salad where diners were instructed to pick petals from the flowers decorating the tables and add them to their dish. Salad dressing was presented in a watering can, passed down the table. Nice.
We were then treated to rabbit leg with beautiful sauteed potatoes. Now I’ve never eaten rabbit before, and this was delicious, white meat and a LOT of it, this was one hellova’ rabbit. So large and more-ish, I picked up the leg to eat and left with said rabbit all over my face for the entire train journey back to Brighton.
This was such a magical, fantastical, fairytale evening I can’t even explain how brilliantly special it was. If you have a chance to go to one of these events, do!
Find out more here.