Well, where were you all?
Half a mile outside the West End and only twenty five Gastronomes and guests sat down to dinner in the chief executive’s dining room. Well, you missed one of the gastronomic highlights of the year and serve you all right!
Walk past the traditional facade that has been on the Embankment at Blackfriars since the nineteen thirties and you are surrounded by glass and steel. 100 Victoria Embankment was built by Holland and Hannen & Cubitts and opened by the Lord Mayor on 18th July 1932. It was extensively refurbished during the 1970s but in 2001/2002 it was decided that a complete remodelling was necessary. The vision for 100VE was to create an open and energising environment for Unilever that makes a strong impact on all who enter through the doors and enables Unilever and its’ people to succeed. Transparency, Light, Visibility and, above all, Flexibility were the resulting aspirations for 100VE, and gathering from the comments from those present it certainly has succeeded.
The see-through lifts whisked us up to the eighth floor to the staff dining facility where we enjoyed a sparkling wine and canapés reception. Then it was across the ‘bridge’ for dinner.
We sat down twenty five at a round table, (we reckoned that it was at least fifteen feet in diameter) decorated with black cloths and white lilies in bowls with a light inside. The tables were only laid for one course and the white gloved staff meticulously re-laid for each successive dish. The quality of the staff and service matched the highest that we would find anywhere in London. The food was imaginative, beautifully presented and carefully served. The wines were generous and complimented each course although there was some technical discussion as to whether the Grüner Veltliner could cope with the organic hot smoked salmon. All the cheeses came from the Wellington Estate at Stratfield Saye in Berkshire.
All present sang a ‘happy birthday’ to our dear Honorary Treasurer Cyril who was celebrating his 80th on the following weekend.
The acting President proposed a most well deserved ’santé du chef’ Lloyd Webber and thanked Miles Levy the Facilities Services Manager for his efforts and generosity.
Surely an evening that the President might consider for his annual menu award.