Pop goes the festival! Folks, can you believe it’s august again already? Here we are in the middle of the greatest show on earth, as it’s known, and with it an abundance of places to keep hunger and thirst at bay between shows. Pop-ups have become increasingly popular over the past few years, and Pommery are back once again at The (truly beautiful) Signet Library for three weeks of elegant champagne magic. It’s a cliché, but stepping off the High Street and into this stunning building really is like a real oasis in the madness. I was invited along to have a spot of lunch recently to enjoy a little bit of luxury.
Mum was my dining companion and once we were settled at our very awesome mirrored table with a glass of Pommery Brut Royal in hand, she suggested we start with 1/2 dozen oysters. I’ve eaten oysters maybe, erm, co-incidentally 1/2 dozen times in my life, and it’s always been in a very memorable setting. The first time was in the 1920s Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New Yawk City. The Signet Library is just as revered a venue, I’d say. Six plump Loch Creran (West Coast) oysters were served with a fanfare of fixings. Lemon and tabasco, naturally, and then also a lovely little mignonette with the Classic Brut Royal Champagne, Pickering’s gin, red peppercorns, star anise and lemongrass. The oysters were just-out-the water perfection, a little bit of sweetness and then the clean almost cucumber-y finish.
Although there was the option of a whole roast lobster (tempting, but maybe a little messy) we chose the Aberdeen Angus Burger and a charcuterie board as mains to share. The burger was a tasty number with melted applewood cheese and a contrastingly sweet chutney, but I have to say the puffy brioche bun was just too big for the size of the burger. Too much bread and at 6oz I’d say a little bit small on the burger. Potato wedges were fluffy and crisp, just as they should be! The charcuterie board was an attractive, Mediterranean summer-y-looking platter with olive bread, olives, salami, Parma ham, chorizo and roasted aubergine and zucchini. There were also some magic porridge oatcakes which I’d have happily taken home a stack of, but they didn’t really fit in as there was no cheese or pâté/terrine to put on them. Something I’d definitely suggest to the catering team, the oatcakes are a bit of an odd fit otherwise.
Yes, a second glass of those refreshing, delicious bubbles was ordered! I’d enjoyed afternoon tea here a few months back and so I knew the sweet stuff would be well worth a little bit of tummy space. Our very lovely waitress suggested the Eton mess, and of course, it was the perfect seasonal pud to try. The cream was perfectly whipped, fresher than fresh, chunks of meringue and ripe red juicy strawberries…when it’s done right this dessert can’t be beaten!
There are loads of great deals running through the festival for champagne offers, sandwich lunches and more. There’s also some fantastic tutored tasting events in the magnificent room upstairs (see pic below) with Knops Brewery, whiskies and of course those exquisite Pommery Champagnes! Check out the website for more info http://www.thesignetlibrary.co.uk/pommery-champagne-cafe-bar/This is a place to enjoy a bit of a treat, maybe a celebration, or just an excuse to catch up and live it up a little with some friends.
We dined as guests of Cafés by HPL