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Hayden’s Last Supper - Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September 2020

5th October 2020

Hayden’s last supper. Worthy of a Leonardo da Vinci painting – as a suitable segue to the Italian dinner at the start of September – was a masterpiece. As if to remind us devoted dining disciples of what we would be missing when Hayden officially leaves his post as club chef to rise again for his next culinary adventure.

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Huddled in our bubbles in the boudoir bar (I’m loving the new furniture…) the feast began with a lobster amuse-bouche. A bijou brioche bun, shiny and mischievous with a lobster ensemble tinged with co-conspirators, chilli and coriander, and a naughty onion ring jauntily dancing on top. An absorbing eating experience that required some dainty deconstructing. My bouche was amused, teased and tantalised.

Staying on the water, next up was trout. Generous fillets mercifully marinated in cider until tipsy and tender, happy in their next life. The butter roast pear offset the richness of this fishy dishy; whilst the pink grapefruit was ingenious. It’s gutsy zingy-ness conspired with the crunch of apple in this holy citric trinity. The finely chopped dill dressing added vibrancy and verve. Inspired. My boat was merrily afloat.

From surf to turf with the main. Like a proud posh sausage roll, the lamb en croute with herby pastry was a tribute to Hayden’s tender loving cooking care. Meltingly moist meat partnered with the other flavoursome star of the show, the faggot. Served with a mini mountain of salted strata potato; the wilted, earthy spinach and sculptured, sturdy carrot added colour and texture to the plate. And I would have liked to bottle up the oozy gravy for my northern girl collection. Indeed, left to my own devices I would have been dipping bread in its gorgeous gravyness to prolong the pleasure.

To pudding and I must declare an interest. Tiramisu is probably my favourite pudding - ever. As a self-professed Tiramimistress, I like to think I know how it should be made after years as a Giorgio Locatelli recipe disciple. I have had heart-to-heart discussions with Italian waiters about the truest Tiramisu and I would not usually choose to eat it out. But this evening’s dinner was an exception.

If you tuned into the Italian dinner quiz you will know that Tiramisu translates as pick me up – grazie to this bella lingua translation: Tir (to pull, from the verb tirare) a (to) mi (me) su (up). There's always something about a pudding in a cocktail glass that means business. Like a strutting Italian with sprezzatura attitude.

Contentedly, I lost myself in layers of unctuous mascarpone, mingling with coffee and booziness in a clever combo that had me both stimulated and swooning. You can have too much of a good thing – so I snaffled the biscotti into my handbag for my breakfast cappuccino the next day.

A toast to the chef. On the Friday night Peter Osborne led the tribute to Hayden and thanked him for his services to RDYC for the past two and a half years, regaling him for his hard-work, and careful presentation of his delightful food. But also, he praised Hayden as a caring chef, tutoring fellow sous chefs, Darien and Zac. The Commodore Richard Haycock led the thanks on the Saturday showing and praised Hayden’s high standard of cooking and for all his culinary journeys at the club, before presenting him with a leather knife roll for his future cooking challenges.

Sometimes you only know how good something has been when you no longer have it. And we thank Hayden for all his fabulous food and we wish him every success and happiness in his next steps.

Arriverderci Hayden.

But we’ll be welcoming Hayden back as our first guest chef for our two Trafalgar Nights. Book for Friday 23rd October. Book for Saturday, 24th October

A review by Jude Owens

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