Cult 1973 film La Grande Bouffe, starring the late Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, depicts four friends planning a huge feast with the sole purpose of gorging themselves to death by the end of the weekend. However, it’s with more jolly intentions that London’s Sardine restaurant has launched a series of La Grande Bouffe feasts, to take diners from winter into summer while enjoying the rustic flavours of southern France.
“La Grande Bouffe is really a chance for us to celebrate spring,” says Alex Jackson, head chef at Sardine, and formerly of Stevie Parle’s Rotorino and Dock Kitchen. “We’ll be cooking a few time-honoured classics, as well as collaborating with a handful of exceptional cooks, all champions of heartfelt, simple and seasonal cooking.”
For the first two dinners (£35 per person) on February 20 and 21, Jackson will prepare a five-course truffle menu, with highlights including truffled fried Comté sandwich; pappardelle with rabbit and chestnut ragout; sole, spinach and truffle cream sauce; and for pudding, a pear, chocolate and hazelnut tart. On the night, diners may request freshly grated Périgord truffles to be added to each course (from £6 for 2g, up to £25 for 10g).
The following month’s La Grande Bouffe, on March 21, will see Jackson collaborate with Henry Harris (£60 per person), former head chef of Racine, who has just opened The Coach in Clerkenwell; and on April 24 Jackson will be joined by award-winning food writer and broadcaster Diana Henry (£45 per person). Formerly at Rochelle Canteen, Anna Tobias (£45 per person) will cook with Jackson on May 8; followed by Stockholm’s acclaimed Babette chef Olle T Cellton (£45 per person) on May 22. And for June’s La Grande Bouffe finale (date to be arranged), Jackson will host a lavish bouillabaisse-based dinner (£40 per person).