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As an amazing birthday present, I was invited to spend the weekend in the UK a couple weeks ago.

So we flew from New York to London, departing on Friday night, arriving Saturday morning. We went straight to the amazing Bvlgari hotel, and after a tour of the hotel by the director, I found a very nice and delicious birthday cake (and some truffles) in our room.

The room was perfect. Not a single detail was wrong of missing. And there were amazing “extras”, like all the connections imaginable to the A/V system, the “tea bag” of bath salts for the bathtub…

But London was calling so we went on a long walk that included Cyberdog, Candem Market, Sherlock Holmes’ home, and ended at a very interesting restaurant: The Providores. With a very creative New Zealander chef who likes to mix and match flavors (like I do), we headed to the upper floor, and had things like:

  • Kohirabi and onion bhaji with plantain date salsa, sumac yoghurt, pomegranate mint sauce and lotus crisps
  • Smoked Dutch eel with butternut squash star anise purée, edamame, blood orange and macadamia nut salad
  • Coconut and green peppercorn laksa with a fish dumpling, soba noodles, a soft boiled quail’s egg, crispy shallots and coriander
  • Pan-fried Scottish scallops with coconut and kaffir lime black Thai rice, satsuma and coriander salad
  • Poached rhubarb fool with honey yoghurt cream, pink tapioca and meringues

On Sunday, after a very slow and late start, and a delicious breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, we went to Oxford by train. It was (almost) exactly as I remembered it. We walked around, peeked inside some of the colleges (advantage of being an alumni), took some pictures, and headed it back just in time to make it to our special dinner reservation: Dinner by Heston Blumenthal (1 Michelin star). 

The 3 Michelin star chef of The Fat Duck has created an extremely interesting concept restaurant: British gastronomy recipes from history books (dating back centuries), updated and presented in a wonderful way. Dare I say the best meal I have ever had? Check out what we had (with a great wine from Uruguay), and take my word for it, it was absolutely delicious:

  • Roast Marrowbone (c.1720) with Snails, parsley, anchovy, mace & pickled vegetables
  • Meat Fruit (c.1500): Mandarin, chicken liver & foie gras parfait, grilled bread
  • Powdered Duck Breast (c.1670) with Smoked confit fennel & umbles
  • Spiced Pigeon (c.1780) with Ale & artichokes
  • Tipsy Cake (c.1810): Spit roast pineapple
  • Quaking Pudding (c.1660) with Pear, perry, caramel & lime

On Monday we had a meeting at the British Medical Association, and flew to Valencia (Spain) for a week. More about that in another post.