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A Museum of Edible Marvels for Strictly SW7

This year, once again, the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the V&A joined forces to host Strictly SW7, an exclusive dinner party across all three revered museum venues.

In groups of sixty at a time, 180 guests enjoyed a course in the stunning surroundings of the Natural History Museum’s Earth Hall, where Ampersand were in charge of the catering. We could never tire of this venue and its otherworldly beauty, and were proud to show it off for Strictly SW7.

The first group joined us for their reception starter. We offered our famous crackling straws and pesto, chilli and sundried tomato straws to graze on, as well as a very special selection of canapés.

To match the powerful setting of the Earth Hall, we created a canapé selection to celebrate the natural world: Duck "boulders” with molten lava orange sauce; savoury beetroot macaroons with lime"stone” powder, served on granite; Forman’s smoked salmon with mini pipettes of gin and tonic granite; and a baby vegetable garden served in a special vegetable patch box.

In addition, not wanting the guests to miss out on our favourite Ampersand classics, we also offered a selection from our Ampersand Treasures range. We chose: Fillet steak with triple cooked chips and béarnaise; "ugly” fish and chips; and baby brioche filled with wild mushrooms and truffle hollandaise.

The second group of guests were treated to a main course feast of:

  • Pistachio crusted salmon ballotine with edible sand, papaya, cucumber and compressed watermelon salad

  • Harissa marinated chicken breast, chicken scratchings, crispy coated wings, roast potato mousse, red pepper purée, and grapefruit, lemon and lime salad

  • Goat’s cheese panna cotta, red onion marmalade jelly, crisp puff pastry galette and porcini soil

  • Cucumber, red chilli, red onion, coriander cress and poppy seed vinaigrette

  • Roasted squash, compressed aubergine, seeds and grains, almonds and basil cress

  • Roasted potatoes, with roasted Jerusalem artichokes

  • Beetroot trio: roasted Cheltenham, pickled Chioggia, and orange cured golden, with chervil leaves

  • Fresh herb salad

  • Crispy grapes

  • And, for the brave, a selection of edible insects!

The third group, who joined us for dessert, were perhaps the luckiest of all. Our ever-creative pastry chef Andy outdid himself with an incredible sweet: The Museum in a Dessert. On a stunning table-top display, guests were able to dive into the sea, dig into the sand or graze of the land. Wherever they decided to indulge, they were greeted with delicious surprises! The wonders within included: a white chocolate sea with coconut foam waves, jelly fish, an almond beach, a chocolate orange allotment, and a gin and tonic glacier.

Naturally, we also created an exclusive cocktail range to accompany the edible delights. The Explorer was a Gordon’s gin-based concoction with crème de cassis, fresh lime juice, elderflower and lemonade.

Rum fans could opt for The Ampersand: Flor de Cana 4yr White Rum, Flor de Cana 4yr Gold Rum, crème de orgeat, lime juice, and cranberry juice. We also had mini bottles of Moet and plenty of wine and beer for lovers of the simple classics, and our Not so Cosmo of cranberry juice, fresh lime juice, oranges and limes offered a sophisticated alcohol-free option.

These cocktails were created by the very safe hands of two Rum & Sugar bartenders, who also manned the bar for the night. The challenge was on for them to keep the bar immaculate, so that each group were greeted with the same impressive sight when they arrived.

It was a real privilege to participate in this superb evening and to challenge ourselves to create a feast fit to represent the stunning surroundings of the Natural History Museum.

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