ROH Amphitheatre terrace transformed into a summer herb garden
Royal Opera House Restaurants celebrate Herbfest.
This summer, Royal Opera House Restaurants are celebrating English herbs: the Amphitheatre Restaurant’s alfresco terrace, one of London’s best kept secrets, has been transformed into a herb garden for a summer celebration of English herbs. The garden will supply the ROH’s restaurants and bars with fresh and fragrant ingredients.
‘We want to let people know how easy it is to grow all these herbs in Britain, and how little space is needed to give it a go,’ says Albert Ray, Royal Opera House Restaurants. ‘A few pots or a window box will do; you don’t even need outdoor space. The Amphitheatre terrace is a fabulous spot that overlooks the bustle of Covent Garden piazza, and is not only ideal for lunch or pre-performance dinner, it is also perfect for our herb garden – to dine on a garden roof terrace in the centre of London is quite something.’
The herbs, which include chervil, dill, parsley, sage, rosemary and tarragon, have been selected with the help of Britain’s leading herb expert Jekka McVicar.
‘Having a small selection of fresh herbs to hand is a great way to make home-cooked dishes sing,’ continues Albert. ‘Tear them into salads, crumble them with salt to make rubs for meat, infuse them with oil; you can even use them to add a fragrant twist to desserts by jazzing up custard sauces and sugar syrups.’
As a result, the Summer Season menus offer a wide range of dishes, from lobster bisque with chervil cream, to rosemary polenta chips with Barkham Blue cheese and herb salad; grilled red mullet with summer herb butter, to berries with lemon verbena custardand Pimm’s jelly.
The herbs are also being used to add a twist to traditional cocktails. Summer specialities include the luxurious English Garden (fresh mint with gin, elderflower cordial, soda water and cucumber) and Basil Blossom (fresh basil with vanilla, ginger, lemon, vodka and ginger ale).
There are six different dining areas to choose from at the Royal Opera House, from the beautiful glass-vaulted Paul Hamlyn Hall Balconies Restaurant to the private dining rooms hidden in the old vaulted dressing rooms below ground. The menus on offer have all been designed specifically to complement each production on stage.
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