If you know me well, you’ll know I love Champagne. The rich buttery smell, the touch of minerality popping out from the top of the glass and that creamy smoothness as it passes down your throat. Champagne is my one true love and nothing will ever replace it. With that in mind, I recently found myself at the gorgeous St Ermin’s Hotel in Westminster with Laurent-Perrier for an exciting new food series called ‘Secret Garden Dinners’.
This limited time foodie experience also means you’ll get to explore the hotel in the process. We started by sipping on the new Laurent-Perrier Champagne ‘La Cuvee’ in the beautiful indoor veranda, accompanied by some lovely fellow bloggers, Angie and Laura.
Champagne in hand we topped up our glasses and took the lift to the rooftop. Admittedly a little treacherous, but amazing to see the hotel really utilising its available space – growing their own ingredients to use in the kitchen. It’s doesn’t get much more local than this and it’s great on the carbon footprint. Head chef Alexander Boyd from Caxton Grill guided us around the roof to tell us exactly what we could expect on our plates from this garden.
The rooftop greenhouse features a hydroponic system which keeps the herbs and vegetables growing healthy (and fast) as well as salad leaves growing in pipes and even fruit trees just outside. The garden is also home to micro beetroot, tomatoes, potatoes and just about everything else you could imagine in an English garden. Creating all this in such a challenging urban environment isn’t easy and while it’s still a work in progress – I can’t wait to see how it develops in the years to come.
The views are magnificent too. A rustic cityscape is the perfect backdrop for sipping on the glass of Champagne we still had in our hands and I’ve no doubt in the Summer it will be an even more perfect place to explore. Before we went back into the hotel we got a sneak peek at those micro beetroot which were destined for our plate later than evening – they really were micro!
The St Ermin’s Hotel has always intrigued me and one of those reasons was because of its Bee Hotel. Yes, you heard right – a sanctuary for bees. These urban bees have fantastic access to some of London’s major parks and green spaces so pollen is never far to travel for. Not forgetting these are posh bees and so they don’t live in regular hives, but a hexagonal hotel with bamboo nesting areas and social spaces. If these 350,000 bees interest you as much as they do me, then don’t forget to take a pot of their delicious honey home!
With our fabulous tour over we headed back downstairs to the hotels restaurant, The Caxton Grill. Inspired by the home-grown ingredients on the roof, head chef Alexander Boyd has created a special four course menu as part of the experience. We started with a selection of canapés for our meal. Delicious scallops in shell with mint and a watermelon juice for pouring over was the highlight. As well as some slices of golden beetroot and goats cheese served on stones. Everything was washed down with a perfect pairing of more of that Laurent-Perrier La Cuvee.
What I love about the food here is that it’s so fresh and especially with our first starter. Perfectly prepared cured sea bass and oysters with cucumber, wild herbs, fromage frais and asparagus. My favourite dish from our evening and one I could happily eat all over again. It was paired with a glass of Laurent-Perrier Ultra Brut which had a lovely steely acidity to it that cut through the oil in the fish.
Second course was a tasty medley of confit salmon and langoustine with courgette – dressed with a tomato and beetroot dressing. Another stunning course which was packed with freshness and again paired with Laurent-Perrier, this time a vintage 2006. The rich butteryness and fine bubbles were the perfect match.
Our main course didn’t let us down either, full of colours and flavour. Boneless rack of lamb with baby carrots, wild mushrooms and broad beans. The lamb didn’t arrive quite how I’d expected, but it was perfectly cooked and just the right side of pink. The vegetables were great too. Well seasoned and a little buttery, drizzled with a rich jus. The dish was paired with this Champagne house’s best known creation, Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose.
We finished up on dessert and with barely any room left – but somehow there’s always room for sugar. A dark chocolate cup filled with a fluffy strawberry mousse, lychee foam and of course – Champagne! Being at a dinner hosted by Laurent-Perrier our dessert was paired with the brands sweetest offering, demi sec. It’s one of my favourite styles of Laurent-Perrier Champagne and always comes with a little almond sweetness on the finish.
This delicious Secret Garden Dinner with Laurent-Perrier was sadly over, but the St Ermin’s Hotel left us with a lasting memory and an intrigue which left us wanting to coming back. If you fancy trying this delicious menu yourself in a sumptuous hotel with fantastic Champagnes to match then you can book these dinner directly through the hotels website and are priced at either £85pp or £150pp when paired Laurent-Perrier Champagne. This isn’t just a dinner, but an experience.
NB: I was invited to review and my meal was complimentary. All views are as always, my own. My views are not influenced by anyone other than my own palate and slightly poor eyesight.