At the Game of Thrones restaurant, you wine or you dine
If like us you have been yearning for the release of Game of Thrones (season 4), the interminable wait is over. It was released on DVD today. To celebrate HBO funded an excluisve pop-up Game of Thrones restaurant called 'All Men Must Dine', brought to life by the awesome folk at The Wandering Chef and Grosvenor Events.
And that's where I was on Thursday night. Sat in the lobby of the Andaz Hotel a whole 45 minutes early, nervously conferring with my plus one about the dress code and debating whether we should go and buy some cloaks. (We didn’t, which was an excellent decision on our part.)
After checking in we were presented with our new names for the evening, Lady Tessa Coates of Quarth and her Consort, before we joined our fellow diners. 'So where are you from?' said the lady next to me. 'Quarth!' I said, proudly displaying my name badge. 'Right,' she replied, 'and do you also work for a newspaper?'
The night begins with a hooded Maester offering us a goblet of Tears of Lys. 'Lys is most famous for its poisons,' he whispers earnestly. 'But it also does an excellent sparkling wine.' I compliment his chains and he whispers that he got one of them for banter.
A young Jaime Lannister-esque knight, in full golden armour (minus the golden hand) but sporting the pure white clock of the Kingsguard, guards a giant oak door. My plus one compliments his armour, the knight tells him he is a Stark dog and I giggle like an imbecile.
Finally we are led into the banquet hall. A serving wench offers us bread and salt, to guarantee us guest rights. Not that bread and salt did the Starks any good... amiright?!
An almost naked contortionist and genuine cast member (remember all those scenes where they’re trying to explain a boring bit of plot, but in a brothel?) is writhing on the table. A full medieval band are playing the theme tune. A velvet tapestry of the Seven Kingdoms hangs across one wall. I'm sure I spy Jon Snow out of the corner of my eye and clutch a handrail to steady me. It's all too much.
Via: Tom Ronan
Each course is themed around a topic for discussion at the Small Council. ‘The Murder of King Joffrey’ is a spiced pigeon pie; ‘The Lies of Tyrion Lannister’ a poached veal tongue. This is a feast in the true sense of the word. A salad from House Tyrell is carried around the table in a wheel, delicate layers of dandelion, nasturtium and mustard flowers. The bread comes courtesy of House Greyjoy, rock solid and served with seaweed butter.
Every mouthful seems more extravagent and delicious than the last. Even veal tongue proves popular, though perhaps everything tastes wonderful when you're eating off a plate of burnished silver.
We eat from silver bowls, drink from goblets, we wield cutlery that looks more like weapons of torture. Bowed Maesters bring us Dornish wine. The Lannister knight carves the meat with a sword and true grace.
The flow of food seems relentless. Each course punctuated by a flurry of serving girls rushing in, delivering hand written scrolls across the table. ‘Message from the dungeon!’ they cry and we unroll our scrolls to find that *gasp* The Red Viper will stand as Tyrion’s champion! And also there will be another course. And it will be locusts.
A full dragon egg is presented to the table before serving. Blue-green and with a hundred tiny scales, this turns out to be a Scotch emu egg, layered with ham hock, prunes, apple and sage.
Somewhere between the honey-glazed quails and the lemon cakes, two fools arrive to entertain us. Someone in the kitchen has made the wrong sort of glaze and there’s going to be a slight delay in setting fire to an entire pig.
Next they’re asking if anyone wants to play the drum. No. No I don’t want to play the drum. ‘The Targaryen girl wishes to drum!’ shouts the knight. This provokes mixed emotions, because while I am beside myself to have been called The Targaryen Girl, I absolutely do not wish to drum. But I do. Ever so badly. With a sword.
The drama in the kitchen has been resolved and Melisandre has arrived out of nowhere (but I’m eight Tears of Lys to the wind by now, so it is possible she just came in through the door). Suddenly we’re all chanting ‘the night is dark and full of terrors’ while she sets fire to a suckling pig stuck vertical in a pyre of straw. Things have taken a weird turn.
Dessert is led out on a tray heaving with dry ice. It's The Wall, rendered in edible icing, and a creme brûlée served in a bone, obviously.
My consort for the evening attempts to steal my dessert and we launch into heated debate. Suddenly a full sword is stuck in the wooden bench between us, thrust there by the Lannister knight, come to defend my honour. ‘Does the Stark boy offend you my grace?’ he says, and I decide this is the single best moment of my life.
This video does a better job than me of describing how good the evening was. That’s me at the end, clapping like a mad woman. The night ended with the Rains of Castamere striking up and everyone running screaming from the room. Which is the where the attention to detail really fell apart, given that we were all allowed to go home at the end. At the Game of Thrones restaurant, you win and you dine.