I've been so excited to share this with you! Last night, I was treated (along with 19 other bloggers) to an extravagant foodie-focused evening at Pont St restaurant in the heart of Belgravia as part of Zomato's #ZomatoMeetUp - a chance for food-obsessed bloggers to meet, eat, and talk all things food related. And thankfully, I'd recovered from my cold enough to regain my sense of taste so I could enjoy all the ah-mazing food and drinks (otherwise I would have probably cried).
Upon arrival, we were served two delicious cocktails from Pont St's bar, a Lavender Mogul and Winter Alexander, before being whisked off to the kitchen below for a demonstration by the restaurant's Executive Chef, Sophie Michell - currently the UK's youngest female Executive Chef. Aside from running The Gorgeous Kitchen at Heathrow's Terminal 2 and penning three successful cookery books, Sophie has also served as private chef to Claudia Schiffer and Leonardo Di Caprio. NBD, then.
Downstairs, Sophie described the process she uses to make her pasta dough, before hand rolling it out (with a few eager assistants - I stook in the back, mute and dumb at the sheer novelty factor of it all) into paper thin sheets and deftly spooning in some butternet squash filling to make perfectly formed ravioli, accompanied by the sound of 20 SLRs and camera phones snapping away.
Afterwards, we headed back upstairs to our table, where Alexandra (Zomato Community Manager and blogger) had crafted adorable place settings with Instagram-inspired menus and a social media directory of who's who for the evening (totally ingenious).
We were then treated to a gastronomic feast of starters, which included taste sensations such as maple & bourbon glazed pork belly, beef carpaccio with truffle cream and parmesan crisps (my favorite!), scallop carpaccio, grilled oysters, hot cheese balls with quince jelly (my second favorite!), and a beautifully presented slate of crudité composed of baby seasonal vegetables served with a delicious, tangy dip.
Sidenote: the best thing about eating with food bloggers is the unspoken understanding that no one dares touch a plate until everyone's snapped a photo to their satisfaction (I often come under fire for this when dining as a couple and get an exasperated, "Can I eat now?" from the other side of the table - sorry, John!). In fact, no one was shy about passing their camera down the table to ask for assistance in photographing a slider from just the right angle.
I'd been looking forward to my main course of lobster tagliatelle all week and I wasn't disappointed: generous portions of succulent lobster mixed in with a homemade tagliatelle cooked perfectly al dente brought back memories of our recent vacation in Sicily and was the perfect example of decadent comfort food (something I definitely needed after struggling with this cold for a week).
I think all 20 of us let out a collective gasp of shock around the table when we saw the selection of desserts: doughnut balls with salted caramel and vanilla milkshake, flourless chocolate cake, nutmeg custard tart with bay leaf poached apricots, cinnamon rice pudding with apple compote and clotted cream ... the list seemed endless.
The flourless chocolate cake was divine, and I couldn't resist sneaking in a second bite! My favorite dessert, however, had to be the madeleines (complete with delicate, edible gold foil) and lemon curd, which I'd seen in preparation downstairs in the kitchen earlier that evening.
Though the posset was nearly too sweet for me, it was the perfect accompaniment to the madeleine and the presentation made the confections almost too pretty to eat (that flower!).
Aside from the fabulous food, it was so much fun to meet bloggers with similar interests and talk about how we started, why we write what we do, and our different reasons for putting our thoughts down in this particular form of digital digest. It made me think about how food is such a terrific connector; it brings people together in a way that no other activity can. Why else are family dinners so fun and important?
My night ended rather unglamorously as I floated on cloud nine through the pretty streets of Belgravia when I observed an inebriated man throw up on the bus (right next to the driver), then watched as unsuspecting passengers proceeded to walk through the vomit as they stepped aboard. It definitely didn't help that I was Instagramming a photo of raw oysters at the time. Oh, blogger life.
I was generously hosted by Zomato and Pont St. last evening. Special thanks to Zomato UK and Sophie Michell for this unique opportunity!