Test Drives
There was a frisson of excitement at last night's launch of the Savoy Truffle Club's London Restaurant Festival pop-up when chef Gavin Billenness's heavily pregnant wife (who'd greeted us all at the start of the evening) went into labour. She rushed off to hospital, closely followed by Gavin who, total trouper that he was, had stayed until the main course was served before making his way to his wife's side.

Held in a secret North London location, which we aren't allowed to reveal (but if you're going, get good directions - it's tricky to find), the menu for the pop-up will be as follows:

Cauliflower veloute with lovage pesto

Salad of pan-roasted woodpigeon breast with plum and pistachio

Blythburgh free-range pork belly, dauphinoise potatoes with a Jerusalem artichoke risotto with parsley and Kent cobnuts and a pan-seared Falmouth scallop and pancetta.

Bombay Sapphire and Tonic sorbet

Caramelised apple tart with almond ice-cream

Monmouth coffee

Standout courses were the soup, salad and the fantastic artichoke risotto. Sadly, although we were most looking forward to the pork belly, the crackling hadn't crisped up enough, but given the exceptional circumstances we were prepared to overlook that. It would also have been nice to have someone talk through the menu and wine matching with us before the start of the meal - perhaps this is something they could bring in when the pop-up launches to the public.

A seat at the Savoy Truffle Club pop-up, which runs from 10-17 October costs £65 and includes matching wines as well as pre-dinner cocktails mixed by Sam the Bombay Sapphire mixologist. Sam is also on hand to help guests mix their own cocktails. Hot Dinners made a tasty, but messy looking blend of plums, apples and gin; we won't be putting any mixologists out of a job anytime soon.

Buy your tickets at the Savoy Truffle Club website.

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