The Restaurant: "A bite to remember"
Executive chef Rudi Liebenberg shares recipes from the recent Titanic dinner at the Mount Nelson
'The dinner was in aid of the National Sea Rescue Institute. All 100 tickets (at R1200 each) were sold within 10 minutes of the announcement on 567 CapeTalk radio. I was amazed at how many suppliers volunteered to donate food, allowing us to give people real value for money. The original menu had 11 courses, including port, cheese and fruit. You can't serve people that amount of food, so I broke it down into eight courses, some with choices, and removed the pigeon and pâté de foie gras from the menu. Otherwise it was pretty close to the original.
"The Mount Nelson, which opened in 1899, was the perfect place for this because of its long association with shipping - the original owner ran the Castle Shipping Line and some of the furniture comes from ships. We held it in the Garden Room, the hotel's original dining room, and served the food on monogrammed plates.
"Would I order this elaborate meal if I knew it was going to be my last? No, I think I'd probably just have a nice pizza with pepperoni."
A MODERN INTERPRETATION OF THE LAST MEAL SERVED IN THE FIRST-CLASS DINING SALOON OF THE RMS TITANIC ON APRIL 14 1912
Selection of hors d'oeuvres and oysters served around the fountain on arrival
Cream of barley soup
Poached salmon with sauce mousseline, pickled cucumber
Filet mignon Lili
Sauté chicken Lyonnaise
Vegetable marrow farcie
Roast leg of lamb, mint sauce
Roast duck, apple sauce
Sirloin of beef
Green peas, creamed carrots, rice, new potatoes
Cold asparagus vinaigrette
Peaches in Chartreuse jelly
Chocolate & vanilla éclairs
This dish was served as part of the fourth course. I have adapted it slightly, omitting the egg and flour from the original recipe for this lighter version.
- 15ml (2 tbsp) butter
- 6 chicken breast fillets
- 15-30ml (1-2 tbsp) fresh thyme, leaves only
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) freshly ground black pepper
- 45ml (3 tbsp) vegetable oil
- 2 onions, thinly sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of brown sugar
- 90ml unwooded chardonnay
- 10ml (2 tsp) tomato paste
- 250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
- Zest of 1 lemon (optional)
Melt the butter in a pan and add the chicken. Season with half the thyme and black pepper. Cook very gently, turning twice. Remove and rest.
Add the oil to the pan and sauté the onions and garlic until golden brown. Do not burn. Add the sugar and deglaze with the wine (ie pour in the wine and stir, scraping pan to release any bits of onion stuck to the pan). Allow the liquid to reduce, then add the tomato paste and stock. Bring to the boil and allow to thicken slightly. Return chicken to the pan and allow to cook through (do not overcook). Slice and serve with the sauce.
POACHED SALMON TROUT WITH MOUSSELINE SAUCE
This was the third course on the original menu. Mousseline is hollandaise sauce with cream and herbs. Pan-frying the fish will also work fine.
Serves 6 as a starter
- 30ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar
- 15ml (1 tbsp) water
- 2.5ml (½ tsp) crushed peppercorns
- 2 large egg yolks
- 130g clarified butter
- Squeeze of lemon juice
- Salt, to taste
- 45ml (3 tbsp) fresh cream, whipped
- Fresh chervil and chives, chopped (optional)
Poached salmon trout:
- 500ml (2 cups) water
- 30ml (2 tbsp) white wine
- 30ml (2 tbsp) lemon juice
- 30g onion, chopped
- 30g fennel, chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- Handful fresh parsley stalks
- 15ml (1 tbsp) black peppercorns, whole
- 5ml (1 tsp) salt
- 6 salmon trout fillets, 80-100g each
For the sauce, place vinegar, water and peppercorns in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by just over half. Cool and strain into a bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks until fluffy. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk in the butter until creamy. Add lemon juice and salt and fold in the cream and herbs, if using.
For the poached salmon, combine all the ingredients, except the fish, in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes. Reduce heat, add the fish and poach at just below simmer for about 6-8 minutes. Drain on paper towel. Serve the fish topped with sauce. Garnish with cucumber and a little caviar, if desired.