“Kuch kuch hota hai” tinkles the piano. Am I hearing right? Im here in this magnificent shimmering, world famous 113 year old, London’s legendary Ritz. Glamour and luxury waltz in the original Louis XVI style, frescoed, carpeted halls. Here the legendary afternoon tea session (booked up months ahead) is in progress as our very own Ian Gomez from Mumbai is on the piano. Hes a legend in his own right (he has played with Frank Sinatra too). The sweet and savoury multi-course elaborate Afternoon tea in the high-ceilinged Palm court has been introduced here ever since the hotel opened. And it has made history and raised the bar since then. Michelin starred maestro John Williams helms the dining, ensuring every single cake, pastry, scone, sandwich is made to perfection for the Afternoon tea. Just like it has been since the hotel opened in 1907. The knowledgable tea master Giando Scann not only picks the finest loose leaf teas but also makes his own bespoke blends.
I m as dazzled by the meticulously selected finest of 20 varieties of tea, today the national drink of Britain as Im by the Tea master’s recounting of the impact of tea on social, economical and political levels. He points out that in the Victorian era even the “tea gown” a loose informal one (as opposed to the tight corseted gowns) was invented to facilitate their tea making abilities to pour and serve. Sipping tea takes on a whole different meaning after this.
THE ENGLISH CREAM (CRÈME ANGLAIS)
No better source to get the recipe of THE English dessert sauce then from UK s iconic Michelin starred The Ritz’s chef. Chef John Williams. The brilliant and meticulous chef shares the recipe of this versatile sauce with us: Pour it over cakes or fruits. Enjoy it also be had as a dessert on its own in my favorite Ile Flotante (Floating island dessert)
Makes 300 ml sauce
125ml (4fl oz) milk, 125ml (4fl oz) double cream, 25g (loz) caster sugar, 50ml (2fl oz) egg yolks.
Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Meanwhile, whisk the sugar and egg yolks in a heatproof bowl. Pour half the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk. Return it to the pan and cook over a low heat, whisking continuously, until the temperature reaches 82°C (180°F). Remove the pan from the heat and sit it in a bowl of iced water. Stir for 2 minutes, to reduce the temperature and prevent the eggs from scrambling. Once slightly chilled, pass through a fine-mesh sieve. Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until required, up to 3 days.
THE ULTIMATE JEWEL OF A DISH
This is it. The ultimate jewel of a dish! That it is being presented now for Easter it is also THE ultimate Easter egg and is making history. In keeping with the globally renowned jeweller Fabergé’s history for surprise and ingenuity, John Williams has created this luxurious Eggs Fabergé dish which closely mirrors the multi-coloured Fabergé Treillage egg pendant. He created this amazingly intricate edible work of art using the very highest level of technical expertise. He used the inside of an egg shell as a mould. A soft boiled quail’s egg is encased in a velvety lobster mousseline, decorated with a circular pattern of vegetable gems (including aubergine, courgette and heritage carrot) and represent the colours many a precious gemstone.
The edible Eggs Fabergé is served on a bed of the finest caviar and silken sauce of langoustine. And this exquisite editble jewel is part of the three-course Fabergé menu in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant during Easter Week.
Interestingly, the Mosaic Egg was one of the most technically sophisticated and extraordinary of all the Fabergé Imperial Easter Eggs, and took over a year to craft. It all began in 1914. The Imperial Mosaic Easter Egg was commissioned (to the jeweller) by Tsar Nicholas II and presented to his wife, Empress Alexandra Fedorovna for Easter. It was studded with precious gemstones and intricately and ornately crafted in gold with many a detail.
This Faberge egg was confiscated during the Russian Revolution and ended up being purchased by King George V as a gift for Queen Mary’s birthday The Mosaic Egg remains a part of the British Royal Collection. And now chef Williams of The Ritz has made history by adding it to the edible jewel collection!
High on tea: Michelin starred chef Chef John Williams flanked by Alfie Perez, Giovanni Galianni
Ian Gomez (pianist originally from Mumbai) flanked by Tea master Giando Scann and chef John Williams,