Pie de Résistance

It’s not easy to dine at chef Rory Carter-Swivell’s latest venture. First, leave your details – email, star sign and favourite 1970s album – on his website. You will, perhaps, eventually receive a reply giving a date and time (you have no choice in this – if you can’t make it you are barred), and GPS coordinates.

At the appointed hour you will find yourself in a bland suburban street, facing an unmarked door behind a bookie’s. Ring the bell and the door will swing open onto a flight of stairs, ascending into darkness.

In the all-white, windowless room at the top, scarlet-clad servers move silently to and from the unseen kitchen, laying plates reverentially before the chosen diners at a single planked-wood table.

There is no menu, no wine list, no “let me tell you about today’s specials”.

You might be presented with a kidney dish – not a dish of kidneys, but a vessel usually found in hospitals – containing a lone slice of sous-vide ox tendon, scattered with micro nettles. The ten courses that follow will make this appetizer seem mundane. Fertilized gull’s egg roasted over driftwood or earthworm noodles in a ‘chip shop curry’ consommé, say.

The signature dessert is the ‘pie de résistance’ – Chef himself runs from the kitchen bearing a magnificent tart (ours was filled with a mousse of rhubarb-and-custard sweets) and bowls it overarm onto the table, to be eaten with your fingers. Returning home on the Tube with clothes spattered in pudding is a badge of honour.

This story was runner-up in the Faber QuickFic contest of 26 August 2016. The link (so that you can see the prompt) is: https://www.faberacademy.co.uk/news/2016/08/

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