Only the second Prom I’ve managed to get to this summer and this one v civilised with an invitation to dinner from a colleague who being part of the RAH FOH team also wangled us a box to watch the gig.
Coda does prix-fixe pre-show dining in a plushly appointed room with fantastic views of the Albert Memorial one way and bits of Kensington Gore the other. Fortunately I couldn’t see the Memorial from where I was sitting so was able to keep in check my inner Republican and concentrate on the food and the company.
Coda, under its head chef Eric Chavot, dishes up high end bistro, which is right up my alley. Mackerel up front was demolished in short shrift, as was the Argentinian Merlot it arrived with. Guinea Fowl was well backed at our table and proved a winner. Juicy bird with a tasty Kiwi Pinot was a deffo crowd pleaser and everything loosened up at table as
the sinister cabal that runs The Cricket Society plotted the eager volunteers of The Cricket Society went through the options for entertaining speakers for our celebratory end of season lunch in October.
Dessert isn’t often my bag but having had one piece of bread as stodge thus far I was glad to cram some sticky sweet pistachio thing in me as ballast for the main event of the night, Beethoven’s 9th performed by the Chineke! Orchestra (preceded by a piece that I’ve already forgotten). The 9th, well you can’t go wrong with that can you? Well you can if you start off like a rocket to the moo … oh no, that doesn’t work … um. Like, really quickly. Too quick for the soloists to do their thing cleanly but still, full of energy. It got better as they went along until the final movement was an absolutely thrilling finish and the rapid speed kind of made sense.
What else made sense was having seats where you could barely hear the solo singers. Because, frankly, what are they there for? The whole thing is better off without them caterwauling over the tunes and chorus . And this lot didn’t show up until the last movement so we didn’t even get to scrute them itchsitting through 30 minutes of warm up before it was their turn to sing.
But look at the crowd! The previous Prom I’d seen this summer was the Death Prom where we Londoners were assured that should we attempt to take a trip to a concert we would either be fried by the merciless rays of our nearest star or asphyxiated by the ferocious heat of our subterranean network. Which resulted in a sit anywhere you like auditorium for RVW (wonderful) and Tippett (weird) fourths. So Friday was a joy (see what I did there?) to be in the company of the multitudes to celebrate humanity at a time when it seems awfully chic (and shriekingly awful) to condemn our species as the root of all evil. I know which view I prefer.
Where was I? Oh yeah, food good and service outstanding. Recommended for a pre-Prom treat.
To see where else I’ve been click on the google map below.
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).