In celebration of the asparagus season

Last week I was invited to the Crowne Plaza in Blackfriars to celebrate the new asparagus menu at Refettorio. Celebrate means eating and drinking copious amount of food and beverage, and that’s one hooray I like.

Refettorio is under the management of Giorgio Locatelli (of Locanda Locatelli fame) and Mr. Locatelli himself joined us for a little chat about the menu, after which he shyly retracted to the kitchen with a buon appetito a tutti. I certainly had appetite and liked what we were served, albeit it could have been a bit more creative and innovative.

To start with we had asparagus (of course) with shaved Parmesan, a poached egg and rocket salad. We then eased our way into the first course, which in my opinion was the best. Fresh, creamy pasta with asparagus tips, thinly sliced scallops and chives. It was the chives that give the dish its kick, and I’m now determined to use this herb more in my own cooking.

Pan-fried salmon with asparagus (surprise!) pure and cherry tomatoes came after, and sure it was a spring light dish, but also a bit ordinary. The tiramisu that rounded off our feast was the best I’ve ever had. Although I was full from the prior courses, my hand mechanically scooped up more and more of the alluring dessert. It was ever so “dreamy”, if a tiramisu can be given such a flimsy adjective.

I’ll be posting my review of the evening on Fluid, so I won’t go into more details. I will however, tell you about my lunch today, which was inspired by Refettorio. In our goodie bag we were given Locatelli’s Sicilian produced olive oil and also fresh caserecci pasta with a bunch of (you’ve guessed it) asparagus.

Feeling enormously inspired today, I used said pasta, pan-fried the asparagus with courgettes, cherry tomatoes and let it simmer in plenty of chili-infused olive oil and white wine. I chopped chives and sprinkled it over the finished plate, along with grated Parmesan – had I scored a luscious lunch or what? I believe I looked quite smug as I was sitting at the kitchen table all by myself, finishing the pasta in probably less then ten minutes.

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