The biggest splurge at the London Restaurant Festival is a pop-up restaurant in the London Eye ferris wheel. Each night, a single capsule is set up for dinner service by the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Richard Corrigan, and Angela Hartnett. While the other capsules remain dark, guests enjoy a multi-course meal, with one course served per half-hour rotation. Guests split the $16,000 expense ten ways (that’s the number of seats at the capsule’s table), but Daniel Boulud’s dinner was a little different. “A couple that just had a baby booked the whole bloody capsule,” festival director Simon Davis told us. “The husband paid the 10,000 pounds and said, ‘Look I only want it for the two of us — just me and my wife.’”
Initially Davis and his festival co-founder Fay Maschler were a bit nervous about telling Boulud he’d be coming across the pond only for two people (“It’s an opportunity for Boulud who just opened his own restaurant in the Mandarin Oriental here to introduce to ten people his food,” says Davis, who also worried about seating two at a table for ten: “I didn’t want them to be like Henry VIII and his wife sitting at two ends of the table!”). But Boulud didn’t mind making it an intimate affair. “I [was] particularly excited [to] be the only restaurant cooking for just two people, so the cabin belong[ed] to us,” Boulud told us over email. “For the first time I [was] chef, maitre d’, host and the entertainment all at once!”
Boulud’s five-course dinner included a course of royale of langoustine, artichoke dices, celery, truffle, and truffle foam puff pastry laces. Another course: Paupiette of Dover sole a la ciboulette, pain grille, cauliflower and caviar. “This may be my only opportunity to cook at such a great height,” Boulud told us. “I’m sure it will offer a better view than the Bar Boulud kitchen. I only wish New York had a wheel like this!”
Hey, no one’s stopping him from doing sausages and beer on the Wonder Wheel.