Chef Patron Malcolm John celebrates as his guests open champagne with a sabres
On Monday 12th June I passed the initiation test of the elite Confrerie du Sabre d’Or thus making me a Dame Sabreuse and all I had to do was lop the top off a bottle of champagne – with a sabre! (It’s true I have the certificate and photos to prove it!)
As proud as I am of this achievement, it was merely a sideshow in the culinary spectacular that was Le Vacherin’s Wine tasting and Sabrage Anniversary Dinner.
The fact that the restaurant was packed with black tie attired guests on a sweltering Monday evening, was both testament and tribute to the talents Chef Patron Malcolm John.
John, who opened Le Vacherin on its rather off the beaten track site two years ago, has built up an enviable (and well deserved) reputation amongst the Chiswick faithful and his contemporaries evident by the fact that The Ledbury’s Head Chef Brett Graham was amongst the diners.
The evening was not only an anniversary celebration, but also an opportunity to showcase classic French dishes that Le Vacherin has built its critically acclaimed status on.
The seven course menu started with Amuse Bouche (smoked haddock with a pastry topping finished with a quails egg and an individually salted anchovy) followed by Ravioli de Homard, Sauce Thermidor (lobster ravioli).
The third course was a Medaillon de Boeuf et Gnocchi aux Truffes (the most perfect piece of fillet steak in a rich jus) which in turn was followed by Brie de Meaux served with an inspired combination of raspberries and freshly made bread.
However, just as I thought it couldn’t possibly get any better, I was introduced to Carpaccio d’Ananas Rotie et Glace Noix de Coco (wafer thin slices of pineapple with coconut ice cream) quite simply heaven on a plate so much so that I passed on the hand made truffes that were presented with coffee.
The courses were accompanied by Brugnon Cuvee Elegance de Confrerie (champagne opened by Sabreur and Dame Sabreuse) courtesy of Monsieur Philippe Brugnon, Premier Cru, Rilly La Montaigne and wines from Julian White of Fine French Wines.
Throughout the evening, Malcolm John took time out of the kitchen to chat with his guests and spread some of his effortless charm and bonhomie around the restaurant which remained animated until well past midnight when even the most hardened party goers amongst us decided it was time to head home.
Although, as staunch Malcolm John devotees and loyal patrons of this local gem we took solace in the fact that we would be returning very soon.
June 16, 2006