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articles > Gourmet events


MJU a l' hotel Millenium

By Patricia Connell

Over the last 7 months, something has been cooking at MJU since the arrival of their new Chef Tom Thomsen. Tom's signature style, I was told, offered innovative cuisine that combined flavour and techniques from Asia, France and the Mediterranean. I went to find out what this really meant. MJU is situated on the first floor of the Millennium Hotel.

  It is understated and airy. I went there at lunchtime but I could tell that the atmosphere would be very different in the evening; the combination of rich red and soft white together with strategically placed lighting would create a cosy and yet dramatic setting. Everybody I spoke to, before my personal experience, had been extremely complimentary and therefore I was really looking forward to sampling the food for myself.

However, I wasn't sure what I was letting myself in for and therefore was totally amazed when a series of dishes started arriving, all more imaginative than the one preceding. With each dish, Stuart Hudson, the Head Sommelier, had pre-selected a wine which accompanied it perfectly. The 5 course tasting lunch (normally priced at £50 with wines) was an absolute delight. We started with a Parmesan foam broth quickly followed by a lobster salad with mustard cress and caviar. For this dish, a Picpopul de Pinet from Domaine Felines Jordan had been selected. The next dish had to be my favourite, for the month of March the theme was chocolate and, for this reason, some of the dishes that Tom had selected for us to sample included touches of chocolate. This was the case for the foie gras that we were about to enjoy. The foie gras had been prepared to look more like a dessert. It was marbled with chocolate and accompanied by a pear foam and a raspberry jelly. The attention to detail was very impressive. Even the crisp waffle had been sprinkled with exotic spices and the loupiac from Domaine de Noble was the perfect partner for this scrumptious dish. My only complaint was that I could easily have eaten twice as much purely through greediness.

  As we were discussing each of the dishes placed in front of us, I was finding out that Tom Thomsen was about to leave England for a one-month sabbatical. This will take him to various countries where he intends to spend time with some of the best known chefs in the world and work with them in their kitchen with a view to bringing back to England their trade secrets. I was also informed that on his return, Tom will be offering a special surprise menu for those who are not scared of the unknown. The menu will be priced at £45. I have already put my name down as I am sure the waiting list will be long. At present, you can still decide to go for the chef's special lunch or dinner which implies that you don't know what you are getting until it reaches your plate. Having seen this first hand I can assure you that the risk is non-existent. Tom's favourite pastime is to be given a challenge such as this one and, yes, he rises to it every time.
  Our next dish was a Scottish scallop with asparagus, pumpkin pur?e and bay leaf. In fact, the bay leaf had been strategically placed through the scallop to give it maximum taste. The pumpkin pur?e was very light and the asparagus cooked to the point of perfection. I hate it when it's either too cooked or not enough.

This dish was swiftly followed by a refreshing rosemary granite and lemon foam. The milk fed Pyrenees lamb that was to continue our experience was once again perfect in every way. The lamb was tender and tasty, the sweetbread melted in your mouth and the potato mousseline with a hint of vanilla was so light that it could have flown off your plate without you noticing. I had been very critical of Australian wines over lunch and Stuart was determined to demonstrate that I was wrong. He succeeded by opening a bottle of Tempranillo Grenache (D'Arrenberg Sticks and Stones). Although heavy for lunch (I knew that the moment I drank this wine there would be no way that I would be fit to do any work afterwards), it was once again ideal with lamb. For dessert, rather than having one dessert, Tom had decided to make us sample two. My favourite by far was the chocolate mousse and the Semillon wine.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I am sure that within the next few months, if not before, Tom will be awarded a Michelin star. Enjoy it now before it happens and before prices start creeping up.

I have been informed that for those of you who particularly enjoy their food but also their wines, MJU will be running a series of wine evenings. I am personally looking forward to the one at which Burgundies and Australian wines will be competing with one another. Stuart Hudson the head sommelier assures me that it will be a fair competition (let's not forget that Stuart is Australian?).

  2 Course Business Lunch £17.50
3 Course Business Lunch £19.50
5 Course Tasting Lunch £30.00 (with wine £55)
5 Course vegetarian tasting lunch £25 (with wine £50)
5 Course tasting Dinner Menu (£38) (with wine £63)
5 Course Tasting Vegetarian Dinner Menu £32

17 Sloane Street
London, SW1 X9NU
Tel : 020 7201 6302


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