Réunion des Gastronomes – Monthly Supper at the Royal Air Force Club – Thursday 6th June 2013

For those of you who have dined at the RAF Club before, you will know that supper at the Club is always a hugely enjoyable experience. The Réunion’s monthly supper in June was no exception as 53 Gastronomes, personal and professional guests gathered in the Club’s ballroom for a highly memorable evening courtesy of fellow Gastronome and Club Secretary Peter Owen. The reception commenced with generous quantities of delicious canapés served with beautifully chilled Beaumet Champagne Brut.

Once seated, Philippe Rossiter, President of the Réunion, welcomed all those present and asked members to introduce their guests before dinner was served. This allowed diners to know who the guests were at the beginning, not the end, of the evening which was a well received change to normal proceedings. Immediately following this, Air Commodore Rick Peacock-Edwards, Vice Chairman of the RAF Club, gave a short and very interesting résumé of the history of the Club. Dating back to 1918 when the first Lord Cowdray made a gift to provide a permanent building to house the RAF Club, the current premises on Piccadilly was officially opened to members on 24th February 1922 by HRH The Duke of York. Despite many challenges in the intervening years, the Club acquired the freehold of their premises in 1985. Following many alterations and improvements, including a 13 bedroom extension in 1990, the Club continues to thrive.

In the impressive surroundings of the ballroom, supper was to be a fine gastronomic experience commencing with the service of a smooth Foie Gras Parfait with Tomato Chutney. A New Zealand Pilot Sauvignon Blanc 2011 provided a gentle balance to the intensity of the parfait. Following this a beautifully presented Tian of Salmon Mousse with Scallops and Tarragon Butter Sauce was served with Domaine Cordier Père et Fils Macon Fuissé 2011. The freshness of the salmon mousse was lifted by the fulsome bouquet of the Macon Fuissé to provide a delight to the senses. The flavoursome yet calming influence of the Apple Sorbet with Apple Sourz provided a perfect intermission.

The main course consisted of a superbly cooked Medallion of Beef with Morel Sauce, Cocotte Potatoes and a Selection of Summer Vegetables. The medallion simply melted, almost without the suggestion of a table knife, and was accompanied by a delightful St Estèphe Château les Ormes de Pez 2004, described by one guest as tasting like ‘church pews’, a rewarding combination of velvety, dark summer fruits and ancient woodland; an interesting description but one that did considerable justice to an excellent wine. For dessert a Chocolate Orange Souffle with Raspberry Coulis provided both a tempting and forgiving finalé, accompanied by a glass of Muscat de Beaumes de Venice 2009. A credible 10 Year Old Tawny Port was served with coffee and petits fours to close an exceptionally fine dining experience. The President congratulated the kitchen brigade and front of house team on a particularly memorable evening.

The raffle raised £425 towards the President’s chosen cause, Westminster Kingsway, and the winner, Hon Secretary, Neville Watson, received an overnight stay with dinner, for two guests, at Limewood courtesy of member Kenneth Speirs.

Contributed by Wally Vincent