After popping in to the Caravaggio show at the National we were to have dinner before a concert at the Wigmore.* I hadn’t eaten in the Wigmore for a couple of years but had only good memories of it so we decided to make life easy for ourselves and do that.
The room, if you don’t know it, is low-ceilinged and in the basement, so it could be slightly gloomy in the wrong colour scheme. However, they make the best of it with white nappery all over the place, good lighting and charming sketches of past performers dotted around the walls. We arrived at six and there was a smattering of custom already (the usual Wigmorians) which got better over the course of the hour before the pre-gig rush on the bar.
A starter of guinea fowl terrine was a good warm up. They give you plenty of bread here so don’t worry too much about having to order extra sides or anything. A bottle of Picpoul was excellent and went down well with the main of smoked haddock with spuds ‘n’ spinach (not exactly how it was described on the menu). All of this not complicated but very well executed.
Did I want dessert? Well, not really but there was still half an hour to kick off so what else am I going to do? I took the sorbet and fruit while across the table there was a stab in the dark for a salted chocolate blondie. Nope, we didn’t know what it would be either. It turned out to be a slab of sponge pudding – not what the doctor ordered and I had to sacrifice my sorbet.
I couldn’t detect much chocolate in in the blondie (though it definitely delivered on the salt) or mint in the crème fraiche it rode in with either. But I’m sure sweeter tooths than mine would have been far happier. There was a generous helping of sharp blackberries, that was more my style. Throughout this the service was first class and it was very genial to be guaranteed a table for the interval snifter.**
*Hmm, not exactly a Caravaggio show and to be fair to the folks at the NG they don’t oversell it as one. But still, there was an awful lot of Championship-level filler. Go for the Caravaggio from Dublin and the two de la Tours if you like but when you’ve got Abstract Expressionism one way and Picasso portraits the other I’d think very carefully before choosing this show if you’re only in London for a day trip.
**The concert itself was extraordinary. Eleanora Burrato accompanied by Nazzareno Carusi sang Italian arias in the first half, followed by Italian songs in the second. I’ve been to the opera a fair amount but to sit three rows from someone with such a beautiful voice was really quite emotionally overwhelming. And Curusi on the piano was no slouch either, as he showed with a fantastic recital of a piece from Liszt’s Années de Pelégrinage.
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Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).