How the Royal Albert Hall is serving breakfasts fit for a king
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in my view there is no better breakfast to be had in the whole of London on a leisurely Sunday morning than that on offer at the Royal Albert Hall. The Royal Albert Hall, I hear you chide. What would it know
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but in my view there is no better breakfast to be had in the whole of London on a leisurely Sunday morning than that on offer at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Royal Albert Hall, I hear you chide. What would it know about breakfasts? Shouldn't it be more concerned at this time of year with ensuring that the greatest musical talents on God's earth have not inexplicably dropped London from their lists of engagements when drawing up winter schedules?
This is true, of course, but I still find it impressive that in the midst of organising the Proms, the Festival of Remembrance and the now-legendary programme of Christmas music and song, those busy people at the RAH have managed to combine great food with stupendous music in so stunning a setting.
I was their guest a couple of weeks ago for a splendid brunch, where £25 buys champagne and orange juice on arrival, a hearty traditional breakfast complete with Cumberland sausages and black pudding - or a more cosmopolitan alternative like Eggs Benedict, caramelised pancakes or smoked haddock Florentine - and luscious desserts that can either swell your calorie intake (in the form of American pancakes or waffles) or boost your self-esteem (natural yoghurt flavoured with organic honey, topped with granola). I had the pancakes.
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Into the bargain, you get great live music. Matices Latinos, embracing the musical traditions of Colombia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico and Cuba, were in scintillating form a few weeks back. The great flamenco guitarist Ricardo Garcia was centre stage on Sunday past and this weekend it's the turn of Zhenya Strigalev, a jazz saxophonist with an unusual claim to fame. He's played in the Kremlin, and is reputed to be London's sole Russian jazz musician ... unless you know differently, of course.
I shamelessly recommend these pleasurable events in another part of London because Sunday is the one day of the week when it is still possible to travel across our great city without dramatically increasing your risk of suffering a coronary thrombosis. After a leisurely morning drive across town from NW3, I was able to choose from a surprisingly plentiful array of parking spaces in Hyde Park, wander at leisure through the autumn leaves and mists and make my way past the glittering Albert Memorial to this most iconic of buildings. To add to the attraction, it is also possible to have a tour of the hall itself on some Sundays, though personally I prefer to be there when it's filled with sound. For more, details, visit www.royalalberthall.com. Enjoy.
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Geoff Martin is editor of the Ham&high Series