As people arrived, they were plied with drinks, especially champagne, and a parade of hors d'oeuvres. I was quite happy with the way all of them came out, but I think the shrimp in kadaifa nests was the surprise star of the group.
Lettuce Waiting for Tomatoes; Chef Brendan and Bobby Jay
Finally, dinner was served in Bobby Jay's. The duck breast with port and plum sauce was fine, just what I expected, but the fish (which I didn't choose as my own main) was extraordinary. Brendan chose to use fillets of striped bass rather than the smaller Mediterranean sea bass that I had called for, and it was a great decision. The sesame crusted skin was crispy, and the pungent argan oil made its presence know while not overwhelming the other flavors -- a chick-pea purée and a Moroccan melange of fava beans and other vegetables.
Duck Breast with Plum Sauce; Sesame Crusted Bass
Then the cheese platter from Ann Saxelby's wonderful shop in the Essex Market, followed by a series of wonderful toasts that made me blush. Next, the blueberry almond tart, a speech by Bobby Jay and, finally, the trio of chocolates, macarons and mini-madeleines.
Blueberry Almond Tart with Lemon Buttermilk Ice Cream; Gourmandises