Last week The Handbook not only went back in time to the 1950s but we also flew to Sicily, not bad in three hours really.
As much as we would like to have really gone, we were in fact just reviewing the wonderful Mile High Dining Club, inspired by the golden age of travel, the guys behind the club have taken the best parts, the food, the drink and the outfits and created by a series of pop ups in different locations, flying to different destinations and when we saw the menu for Sicily we knew we had to go down and try it out.
We were greeted at check in by two air hostesses in 1950s costume and handed our boarding passes and passports before moving through to the departure lounge where they had live music and were serving cocktails and canapés, such as anchovies wrapped in sage and arancini with aioli. We also met the extremely charming captain, who asked us where we had arrived from, ‘Wandsworth? Beautiful just like Sicily, well enjoy your flight.’ The waitresses or we really should say air hostesses, equally were all in the 1950s mindset, setting the scene, asking us what we would be getting up to in Sicily and if we have flown with them before.
The captain then called everyone through to the boarding gate, party at a time and we were shown through to our tables, there were 4 long wooden tables each seating about 20 and every single table was full. The room had been made to look like a typical Sicilian street with terracotta walls, vines, crates of oranges and fruits, lines of washing and parasols. They had definitely put in a lot of effort and it really paid off as the atmosphere was great, very loud and quite raucous, this is not somewhere you want to go on a first date or for an intimate evening, but for fun and getting a group of friends together then definitely.
The airhostesses then instructed us that in case of an emergency we must reach for our aid which were two bottles of wine in front of us, and take big gulps. There were two bottles of wine per six people, the idea of all digging in and sharing is great and focuses on the communal aspect of Italian dining, but do remember your etiquette, don’t take the lead from the couple next to us who decided to pour half a bottle of wine into each of their glasses, equally don’t take more food than everyone else if you are handed the plate first, this is all about sharing, people!
But that aside, the food was delicious, we started with swordfish, fennel, and pine nuts, which was light and refreshing, the slices of orange worked perfectly although they could have gone a little lighter on the fennel, that said it was the perfect starter before the Pasta alla Norma. The Captain had told us that it was his favourite dish, apparently his brother made the pasta that morning true or not it was our favourite too, fresh pasta, rich tomato sauce and aubergine and creamy cheese.
The main course of pork belly with hispi cabbage, white beans and Sicilian lemon was delicious. The crackling was brilliant, we could have definitely eaten at least twice as much and it was refreshing not to have an accompaniment of potatoes or carbs after we had just pasta.
Equally the pudding of burnt peach gelato, praline and pistachio and amaretto biscotti was just the right size to finish off the meal, although it could have had a little more sweetness and a little less of the burnt taste.
We had a wonderful time, the air crew really made the evening and we couldn’t recommend it more, they are flying to Mozambique in September so book your ticket and get on board!