Posted by : Jameson Durall Saturday, March 03, 2012

I first heard about the Chef's Table at Victoria and Albert's about 6 months ago while watching a Disney Parks movie on Netflix.  We had been talking recently about what we could do to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary, so I decided to call and see if it's available that day.  I was nervous since there is only one reservation each day...but it was available so our trip planning began!

The reservation was for 5pm and we were told to expect an all evening event.  Jackets are required for the men and evening dress attire for the ladies, so we came dressed to celebrate. We were escorted through the main dining room which was rather small, only about a dozen tables at a quick count.  We then headed through the kitchen, being greeted with happy anniversary from many staff members as we made our way back to the Chef's Table. 

They had cleared the table normally used for up to 10 people and set two places that faced the kitchen just for us.  We had two servers that were always available at a moment's notice and the first one quickly poured us a champagne toast to celebrate our anniversary. We were also escorted through the kitchen and dining room any time we needed to use the restroom or stretch our legs...which was needed because the meal was over FOUR HOURS :)

We decided to do the wine pairings with each course and are so happy that we did.  We are also very happy that we decided beforehand to take a taxi to and from the restaurant.  They brought in this awesome cooling bucket to keep each serving of wine chilled.  Oh and they also brought out a special stool for my camera and a separate one for my wife to put her purse on.  Fancy.  

Our entire 11 course meal was tailored for us by Head Chef Scot Hunnell and he came by personally for each one to describe it for us. They even gave us a special menu at the end of the night that listed each course and the paired wine. It's a good thing because I never would have remembered all of it.

On to the food!  The first course was a Soft-Poached Quail Egg with Galilee Caviar, Chicken Liver Terrine, Cauliflower Panna Cotta and Porcini Mushroom Cappuccino.  It was paired with Piper Heidsieck Curvee 1785 NV Brut.  This was my first time having Caviar and quail egg for that matter and the pairing was amazing.  Actually, we said the word amazing so much during the night we realized our vocabulary was too limited for this experience.  The Cauliflower was so smooth it was like eating yogurt.

Next up was Gulf Shrimp and Heirloom Tomatoes with Charmoula Sauce.  It was paired with Michel Redde Sancerre "Les Tuilieres", Loire 2009.  This is where I should probably mention that the food over the course of the night became a blur, but each course was truly unique and tasteful.

A huge part of the experience was not only being able to see the chef's at work, but by asking questions about the things that they were making.  Chef Joe was great about describing what he was working on and answering any questions we had.

Next course was Cold "Smoked" Niman Ranch Lamb with Fuji Apple and Curry Dressing. The lamb tasted great on its own as well as the apple with radish...but tasted even better when combined at the chef's suggestion. It was paired with Grans-Fassian Piesporter Kabinett Riesling, Mosel 2009.

Not only was the dish beautiful in it's smoking presentation, but it also left a nice fog on the table...that my beautiful wife used to draw a heart for me.

The first main course contained Alaskan Salmon with Bamboo Rice and Soy Beans. In the background you'll see REAL Wasabi served on shark skin! It was quite an experience especially when paired with Kanbara "Bride of the Fox" Gohyakumangoku Junmai Ginjo, Nigata...or as we called it: "Sake"

Next they brought out our first course of bread that is made in house by a fantastic pastry chef.  The bread was the softest I've ever had and was served with a black truffle butter.

The next course was Poulet Rouge with Calamarata Pasta, Forest Mushrooms and Black Truffles.  I'm not a huge mushroom fan but it was the best tasting part of this dish!  It was paired with Hartford Court Land's Edge Vineyards Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2007.

Next up was a Minnesota Elk Tenderloin with Braised Red Cabbage Tart.  This was my first time having Elk and really enjoyed it, to be fair...I enjoyed everything that was brought to me :)  This was paired with Ceretto Rossana Dolcetto d'Alba, Piedmont 2010.

The final main course contained an Australian Kobe-style Beef with Garlic-Potato Puree.  There was also a second bread course served with it, but it was a much stiffer bread and we both just thought it was good...nothing like the previous one.  This was paired with Mollydooker The Maitre D', Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia 2009.

Now we move into the last courses starting with this fantastic cheese course with Fiscalini Cheddar, Gouda Reypenaer XO, Colston Bassett Stilton and Sottocenere al Tartufo.  It was paired with Quinta do Crasto Late Bottled Vintage Porto 2006 which was one of the best Ports I've ever tasted.

They brought out this really cool Cona coffee maker and we watched it slowly brew over the next few minutes filling the air with an amazing coffee smell.

The first dessert course was Green Apple Baba with Sour Cream Ice Cream.  It looks like an apple, but is actually a soft spongy consistency and laid in spun sugar.  The Ice Cream was very good even though having Sour Cream sounds odd.

The next dessert course was Peruvian Chocolate Cylinder with Elder Flower Sauce Chocolate and Navan Bubble.  It was truly a work of art as the thin chocolate sculpture tasted great and looked beautiful.  On the front of the plate you'll see "Caramel Caviar" which added a great taste to the chocolate.

The final course was a plate of various chocolates that were made in house including a chocolate covered cherry that still had the cherry pit.  By this time we couldn't finish all of them as we were entirely stuffed :)

This was the most amazing dining experience that we have ever had and are so happy that we were able to celebrate our 10th Wedding Anniversary this way. was rather expensive, but was a once in a lifetime experience that we will always remember and never regret.

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