I’ve mentioned my friend Issy before and fulfilling her List for Life now also known as her ‘Phuck-it List’. Whilst we were away in Verona last year we plotted how we would achieve a number of other adventures on her list. One of the things she said she’d love to do would be to dine at The Square in London’s Mayfair. How fortuitous that the very talented 2 Michelin star chef is my cousin (well 1st cousin once removed but who’s counting), Phil Howard.
Since our Verona trip we have spoken of this dinner on many occasions but the urgency of organising it was brought to the fore a few months ago when it was decided that Issy’s treatment was to cease.
Rather than being a small intimate dinner for Issy and a couple of friends we asked Phil if Issy could have the private dining room at The Square. This would enable Issy to invite friends and family to share the magnificent dining experience with her. During chemo Issy, like so many others in treatment, had found it difficult to taste food properly and certainly to enjoy or savour it. With no further treatment Issy has been enjoying tasting food once more and at every opportunity in the most glamorous of places, however her appetite is much smaller. So Issy thought a tasting menu would be perfect!
I cannot express how truly wonderful and kind Phil has been in orchestrating a tremendous and memorable dinner for Issy. Phil spoke with Issy directly to discover her ingredient/food loves, likes and dislikes. He then created dishes based on their discussions and sent Issy the menu for approval. I could almost hear the joyful whooping from her when she shared the menu by email with tonight’s dinner guests.
We met early at The Square in Mayfair. A glass of bubbles enjoyed whilst the party arrived. A buzz of excitement from our dining posse. It was very evident that each of us had put a little bit of sparkle whilst dressing and so honoured to be sharing this experience with Issy (and to dine at The Square!). We were then shown to our private room where Issy had laid out our name cards.
During the incredible amuse bouche we took turns to introduce ourselves to the table and say how we know Issy. What a perfect spectrum of guests from her childhood, from school, London, work, partying, cancerland and, of course, her family. The guests had travelled far and wide to be at this dinner – from Cheshire, America, even one chap from Hong Kong and of course London and surrounding areas.
Believe me when I tell you each and every mouthful of the entire tasting menu was utterly incredibly deliciously beautifully unique and special. Phil had also paired each and every dish with wine… spot on with every sip.
I can’t thank Phil enough for creating such a perfect dining experience for us all. For allowing Issy to share it with her friends and family. For making it such a special memory laden evening for each and every one of us.
Thank you Issy for inviting me to your exclusive dining experience and allowing me to, once again, be part of your List for Life.
If you’d like to follow Issy’s journey, she’s writing for the Huffington Post. Follow her progress here.