‘Oooo, I don’t know dear,’ his mother replied. ‘Perhaps a bird? A plane? Or even Superman?’
‘Superman?!’ he exclaimed, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, mummy. I think it might be an 18-seater dining pod specially flown in by consumer electronics giant Electrolux…’
‘Now you’re just being ridiculous,’ she responded, dragging the child promptly away by the ear.
Alas, the boy was right. Until September 30 the Royal Festival Hall will be wearing The Cube restaurant like a majestic hat. And quite a place it is. The single table dining experience sees acclaimed Michelin chefs Tom Kitchin, Sat Bains, Daniel Clifford, Claude Bosi and brothers Jonray and Peter Sanchez take residence for mere weeks at any one time to impress their guests with their own brand of culinary fireworks.
As you might expect, once you reach the roof, the view is spectacular, maintained throughout your meal thanks to a glass surround that lets you drink in as much of London as you do the excellent range of wines paired with each course. At the end of the long, lone table is the kitchen – no bigger than that of a typical London flat – which means you are never more than about 10 feet from chef and crew.
On my visit I was lucky enough to sample the stylings of Hibiscus’s Claudi Bosi. Friendly, relaxed and welcoming, Claude certainly made our table of strangers feel at ease. To start, he whet our appetites with a glass of aromatic Hibiscus and pineapple, before leading us on to our first course of spider crab, cucumber and green mango. Succulent and fresh flavours meant it didn’t last long on the plate.
Next up was a pea, winkle, chorizo and chickweed soup (for want of a better description) which was rich and full of moreish savour. This segued to my first joint-favourite dish: wild salmon, pig’s head and barigoule (braised artichokes with a white wine broth). The texture of the silky pig and artichoke worked perfectly with the crunchy-topped, moist salmon.
Second joint-winner was the chicken, liquorice, kaffir lime and banana dish. Introduced by Claude as ‘something different’, it was, but worked very well. Not something I would have ever chosen, but delicious, and very interesting on the palette. To finish, two desserts provided a solid finish. First, the visual trickery of the strawberry, celeriac and Szechuan pepper pot, and then the beautifully vibrant pea, mint, chocolate and coconut tart.
Dining at The Cube is a true pleasure. The excellent food, wine and view are just part of the unique experience, with the chance to watch, natter and generally just pester one of our finest chefs with questions a particular added joy. One gripe, if I may, is the pricing. At £175 for lunch or £225 for dinner, even for Michelin dining this is very expensive, and you may feel sitting with a table of strangers – and without the chance to go à la carte – a little too much for the money. On the other hand, ‘value for money’ and ‘worth paying for’ are very different concepts. If you have the cash, I doubt you’ll experience anything short of spectacular.
The Cube by Electrolux
Royal Festival Hall
Tel: 020 7288 6450