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I was very privileged
on Monday evening (23rd July) to be able to see Daniel
Barenboim conduct the West Eastern Divan orchestra playing Beethoven
5th and 6th Symphony. It was stunning evening
of music by a superb orchestra playing some amazing music. It was
simply one of the best classical concerts I have ever seen and heard.
The orchestra is a torch light for tolerance as it's made up with
Israeli and Palestinians, proving that sweet music can be made
between these two countries when hard work and effort is applied.
Before the evening of
music, I also had the pleasure of visiting the Albert Hall's more
formal of their three restaurants called Coda. I was a little
apprehensive as I have been before and that time I found it only
average, but this time it was a vast improvement, but still not
The staff, like last
time, were very good, they were chatty and polite without being to
intrusive. A few jokes was had with my friends and the staff which is
was nice and added to the ambiance of the evening.
Whilst looking at the
menu we discussed what we were thinking of ordereing and what it was
about the dish that we like. It was very obvious we were all going to
order the same starter and main course, which was a first. This is
not saying that the other dishes were not as nice sounding, but there
were certain ingredients that stood out, like the rhubarb compote in
the starter and cockles in the main course, which we all wanted to
Confit of Organic Salmon
We started with confit
of guinea fowl and froie gras terrine, with a rhubarb compote with
honey, mustard, leaf salad. The terrine was light and moist with the
guinea fowl being tender with a meaty texture which was complimented
by the rich creamy froie gras. The rhubarb compote cut through the
richness of the succulent terrine. The only down side, was the two
very small pieces of toast. The bread was perfectly toasted and was
crisp, but not enough for the size of terrine and more bread had to
be ordered. It's not the first time I've ordered pate or terrine were
there is a lack of toast and I'm sure it won't be the last time.
The main course was
confit of organic salmon, with pickled cucumber, dill potatoes,
courgette flower and cockles. The salmon was firm, tasty and light
and you also got a delicate hint of the sea from the cockles.
Unfortunately they were the only good things about the dish. We all
thought the pickled cucumber would be sitting on top of salmon, but
was actually in a hot stock underneath the fish. This meant the
cucumber was limb and the pickled flavour was totally lost. The
courgette flower was deep fried in batter, but the batter was too
thick, too soggy and totally tasteless. Which was a shame as it has
the hallmarks of being a great dish, but it needs some more work to
justify the £18.50 price tag.
Dark Chocolate Tart
The great thing about
Coda is you can save the dessert for the interval between the
evenings programme. Which means you are not full when sitting down in
a hot and stuffy concert hall as the Albert Hall was that night.
This time we all choose something different for dessert. One friend
ordered cheese, the cheddar was strong, the brie was creamy and the
blue cheese was full bodied and served with a great variety of
biscuits. My other friend ordered poached rhubarb mille-feuille with
vanilla, pistachio and ginger ice cream. The rhubarb had a rich
poached flavour, the mille-fueille was crisp, but the ice cream was a
bit disappointing and lacked the bold flavours I was expecting, as I
was offered some to try it. I ordered the chocolate dèlice
, beetroot sorbet, candied beetroot with raspberries and orange curd.
Only to be told they had taken it off the menu as it appeared the
beetroot flavours didn't work with other punters, which was a shame
as I loved the idea of the beetroot element of the dish. Instead I
ordered the replacement dish of dark chocolate tart served with
vanilla ice cream. The dark chocolate ganache was wonderfully creamy
and bitter. I ordered this because the pastry contained cumin, which
I thought would add a nice flavour. Unfortunately the cumin seeds
were whole and toasted, so there was a sharp and tough bite through
the pastry, although the flavour worked with the dark chocolate. The
ice cream was typical and nothing to shout about, but it complimented
the dark chocolate and overall it was a satisfactory dish.
Poached Rhubarb Mille-Feuille
You might think from
the review, that is wasn't a good meal, but that is not true. It was
very enjoyable and it was better than last time, and I will visit the
restaurant again when going to the Albert Hall. The food is just a
bit rough around the edges and needs a bit of tweaking to make it
memorable for the rather large price tag.