Adrian and Lesley Alford (“a-l-o” geddit?) certainly go that all important extra mile in sourcing, cooking, presenting and delivering their award-winning plates (and meeting, greeting and seating guests.)
Now they offer a popular recession-beating two-course US$12 lun-ch. The outlet, opposite David Livingstone School, is affordable to a far wider cross-section of the public than was previously the case.
Most of the members — it looked to me — ordered rocket, mozzarella and tomato (caprice) salad, as a starter, or really excellent bream goujons after wonderful home-made breads and grand butter but as Lesley knows I’m doing a Doctorate in Soupology(!) she ungrudgingly allowed me to order a wonderfully earthy mushroom soup-of-the-day from the main a la carte menu at no extra cost.
My picture here of a caprice (in the style of Capri, Italy) pre-dates the newish US$12 special deal, but the contemporary one of melt-in-the-mouth marinated pork fillet really captures the artistry obvious with every plate served. See also the image of the “humble” ice-cream and chocolate sauce with toffee extrusions. Most plates are literally works of art; worthy of painting as still lifes.
It was the pork fillet (served with chips mash, baked potato or savoury rice) which proved most popular with members at my end of a convivial, bibulous table, set on a shady verandah festooned with colourful hanging baskets.
But several of us went for real comfort food: home-made individual steak-and-kidney pies in which the meat content was tenderness personified, surrounded by rich, intense meaty gravy under a scrumptious short-crust pastry lid. Served, in my case, with rich, creamy mashed spuds and vegetables cooked to retain their goodness and nutritional value.
In an unofficial vote, members unanimously awarded five stars for Alo, Alo which — sadly — may have to move from the handy Alliance Francaise premises in The Avenues in a few months time. (Plan “B” is being formulated.)
The society will probably again soon be awarding its much sought after Citations, with gradings from 5-stars (crème de-la-crème) down to Nil-stars (sell the damned place!).
Keith Boshi, managing director of Maldon Trading and himself a former successful restaurateur, who attended the event, announced his company, (which supplies drinks and foodstuffs to “the trade”) would sponsor printing a new batch. Maldon will also sponsor “commissioning scrolls” (membership certificates.)
ON GGF&WAS business, I went to Great Wall, the Chinese restaurant in East Road, Belgravia, on Tuesday (April 5), mainly to book our next function. (See picture of their grand chicken chow-mein US$6.)
In a scene worthy of Monty Python, I asked for a table for 16-20 pax for “Friday the sixth of May”.
“You want this Friday?” asked the pleasant young Chinese girl on the till.
“No. Friday May the Sixth.”
“Tomorrow sixth, you want table tomorrow?”
“No, my dear. Next month MAY!”
“How you know my name May?” she demanded.
Come to think of it, she looked a lot like a young Anna-May Wong. (Chinese-American film star died 1961.)
Question: Which is positively the world’s worst telephone service?
Answer: China’s. They have far too many Wong numbers!