Over 60 wines come in half-bottles (the wine is purchased before it is bottled, so the buyer can specify), perfect for the solo art lover, or those who don’t want their aesthetic judgement clouded We went for a half of Saint-V?n-Les Chailloux 2002. Puddings included winter-berry pavlova, fig-and-orange steamed pudding, cranberry and chestnut parfait, and (I fell for this) chocolate and satsuma tart.However, if the Tate Britain restaurant is famous for anything, it is for its wine cellar. I had a warming starter of toasted oat and barley velout?ith herb dumplings, while my wife began with a leek-and-chanterelle tart. Happily, Sunday lunch is when they serve this paragon among roast cows, complete with Yorkshire pudding and all the trimmings.The menu also offered Swaffham pheasant stew, roast salmon, sea bass, and saddle of lamb with pruneaux d’Agen. We went on a Sunday before going on to the recent Degas, Sickert, Toulouse-Lautrec show. It would seem that Tate Britain, to paraphrase the V&A’s old catchphrase, is also an ace restaurant with quite a good art gallery attached.
The restaurant is open only for lunch.
Perhaps even more surprising is the fact that by far the best piece of beef I have had in a long while should be in that temple of fine art, Tate Britain. THE PLATE
Considering that it is the national dish of old England, really good roast beef – unctuously flavoursome and not the dry, tasteless flesh served in far too many places – is surprisingly hard to find. The two-day course costs £279 per person, including one night’s B&B.. It can involve a cookery session in the morning followed (weather permitting) by a ramble across the Cartmel valley, collecting edible herbs.L’Enclume Cookery School, Cartmel, Grange over Sands, Cumbria (01539 536362; www.lenclume.co.uk). The two-day course, which caters for four couples or eight individuals, is tailored to the group. Rogan aims to “find tastes, textures and fragrances to surprise and delight, not forgetting a little bit of humour”: menus include “butternut coming ravioli or not”.
L’Enclume, Cumbria This popular school is run at Simon Rogan’s award-winning restaurant L’Enclume in Cartmel. Two-day residential courses cost £550, including an evening meal at the restaurant; without accommodation, the courses cost £395. Morning sessions involve trying your hand at the recipes, followed by an afternoon watching the head chef in action.The New Angel, Dartmouth, Devon (01803 839425; www.thenewangel.co.uk). Courses include “Coming Home” (using local ingredients such as Dart oysters and South Devon beef) and “Seafood” (locally caught mussels in scrumpy). Two-day courses start from £720 including accommodation, or £315 for non-residents. New Angel, Devon Based in Dartmouth, The New Angel is owned by Michelin-starred chef John Burton Race and makes the best of its coastal location with plenty of fresh fish The school opened last year. The days involve cooking various dishes (including your lunch), then relaxing to watch the head chef prepare dishes in the afternoon.Rick Stein Seafood School, Padstow, Cornwall (01841 533466; www.rickstein.co.uk).