What: Audrey Hepburn inspired menu
Where: The Portrait Gallery
Why you should go there:
Favourite thing we ate: Veal and ricotta meatballs
If there is one thing I would like to have more of it would be poise. I have about as much grace as small baby elephant which in other words is zero. With this in mind, I went off to the National Portrait Gallery to visit the Audrey Hepburn exhibition, because if anyone could teach me how to be more elegant it would be the actress, dancer and philanthropist who reminded us that Paris never needs a reason and that the only thing in life is to be happy.
The exhibition features seventy images spanning her life from a young dancer right up to her work in Africa, with many of photographs never seen before, as well as classic magazine shots and film stills. Whether I learnt how to be poised is debatable given that I pretty much fell up the stairs on the way to the Portrait restaurant – but as Audrey also said nothing is impossible.
With views over Trafalgar Square and the London skyline, perfect service and a relaxed atmosphere, it is definitely worth heading to Portrait Restaurant after you’ve perused the portraits – all that looking round art is surprisingly hungry work.
To coincide with the exhibition the restaurant is running a supper club every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening where the menu is inspired by the Ciro’s Club – which is where Audrey made her first London stage debut. Diners would sip on plenty of Champagne cocktails, sup oysters and dine on light bites pre theatre. As such the menu is made up of small bites including oysters and Scotch woodcock and a small but succinct pudding menu.
Charlotte potatoes were lightly fried and salted and served with tendrils of calamari, priced at £15 it was rather steep for what effectively is a sharing plate, delicious yes, but worth £15 perhaps not. The veal and ricotta meatballs, come in at £14 for three meatballs, but go with it because they are up there with the best meatballs we’ve ever had. The tomato sauce they are served in was so rich and fragrant that to be honest I would have eaten a bowl of that alone. Salmon is kept simple with just a mimosa garnish and yet it shouldn’t be missed.
To finish we went for the chocolate mousse, it is more of a rich bowl of solid ganache, even between two of us we couldn’t finish it. It wasn’t the light, fluffy dish we were expecting. That’s not to say you shouldn’t choose it, just expect to come away feeling significantly heavier.
Peruse the exhibition, head to the restaurant and spend the evening at the Portrait Gallery – you’ll certainly leave feeling a lot more cultured if not refined.