The curious unveiling of new restaurants at Twickenham stadium included a chocolate that numbed the tongue and an announcement that colonial goose will be served when the All Blacks roll into London.
The restaurants, The Lock, The Gate, The East Wing, and British Airways Rose Garden will offer a range of fine dining options including dishes that pay homage to England’s opponents, beginning with South Africa on November 3.
But it was the wackiness of the launch that caught the eye.
Twickenham officials unveiled the restaurants at an event which began in the England changing room before guests were told by sensory expert Professor Barry Smith the tenuous link between anticipation a player experiences prior to a game and the anticipation you feel before eating a meal.
Among the various samples available was a Szechuan peppercorn placed upon a thin piece of chocolate. The peppercorn peculiarly numbs the tongue after consumption, a somewhat unnecessary addition to the ingestion process.
Other colourful ways of introducing foods included the idea that a bloody mary be the apt drink for a match day at Twickenham.
Professor Smith said: “The vast amounts of umami in it increases the flavour and combats the noisy atmosphere of the crowd and the planes overhead.”
The unexplained bread and oil when stepping out of the tunnel was also a strange touch, as is the notion that high-end food is what people look for when going to a sporting event.
But the venture certainly has kudos behind it; 2-Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge has partnered up with one of Twickenham’s new restaurants, The Lock.
“I’m so excited to be partnering with Twickenham – it was an absolute no-brainer for me,” said Kerridge.
“I’ve been going to watch rugby there for years and it feels really special to be able to bring our cooking to this historic and epic sporting venue.”
The match against South Africa will see a menu including dishes such as a Cape Malay curry, a dish that originates from Cape Town, while the New Zealand fixture will see colonial goose served – a delicacy for the All Blacks years ago.
There is a vast range of options in these new restaurants, going from The Gate (pictured above), which is a chop house containing an array of steaks sourced from south Yorkshire, to the ‘street food’ influenced dishes served in the British Airways Rose Garden.
The presentation and concept behind the food is unconventional and could be seen as cheesy.
But that will unquestionably bring with it intrigue and uniqueness to a Twickenham visit.
England’s Quilter Autumn Internationals will be played at Twickenham on each Saturday in November against South Africa, the All Blacks, Japan and Australia.