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MobyP

Menage a Trois - AWT

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Does anyone remember the AWT place called Menage a Trois? I'm looking for any information I can find. So far via google I've discovered that it served only starters and puddings, and was Princess Diana's favourite gaff. Any info or recollections would be appreciated.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

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"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Does anyone remember the AWT place called Menage a Trois? I'm looking for any information I can find. So far via google I've discovered that it served only starters and puddings, and was Princess Diana's favourite gaff. Any info or recollections would be appreciated.

There's a lot of info on it in this.


Edited by Emma M (log)

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Thanks Emma.


"Gimme a pig's foot, and a bottle of beer..." Bessie Smith

Flickr Food

"111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321" Bruce Frigard 'Winesonoma' - RIP

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Does anyone remember the AWT place called Menage a Trois? I'm looking for any information I can find. So far via google I've discovered that it served only starters and puddings, and was Princess Diana's favourite gaff. Any info or recollections would be appreciated.

i vaguely remember that it was very daring, and exciting in concept (ie the dishes were very modern and out there) and also very chic (the small plate concept, diana's passion for the place).


Marlena the spieler

www.marlenaspieler.com

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Went there once with a bloke who was making money shipping "machinery" to Baghdad, around 1989.

On Walton Street, I remember it being quite cramped and very dimly lit. No doubt to disguise the wrinkles of the Belgravia set who camped out there.

As for the food? No idea! I think there was lamb done three ways, but other than that really couldn't tell you. And I didn't pay the bill so not sure what the damage would have been.

Sarah


Sarah

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i have the meage a trois cookbook in my collection at home and i dare say its the only one by awt i will ever have.  looks good for the year to be honest.

Wasn't that called 'the small and beautiful cookbook' ? or similar? It's a damn hard book to find nowadays and AWT hates people referring to him ever having written it.

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Wasn't that called 'the small and beautiful cookbook' ? or similar? It's a damn hard book to find nowadays and AWT hates people referring to him ever having written it.

Amazon has it.

The USP was indeed starters and puddings -- "no intercourse" went the catchphrase. I suspect this was intended to get around the English mockery of nouvelle quisine and its empty plates (a linguistic excuse not a hundred miles from the current insistence by Maze etc. that they are serving modern tapas). There were some suggestions at the time that it was too girly.

Had a quick search on newspaper archive which stretches back to 1985, and there are very few references -- most critics were already calling it an "early Eighties" kind of place. The first reference is inside an article about how restaurants should become less masculine and start accepting credit cards (yes, honestly):

Jenny Greene, Sunday Today, May 25, 1986: "When Anthony Worrall-Thompson started Menage a Trois in Beauchamp Place it was with women in mind. Men subsequently deemed it 'the first course place'. The male editors of Michelin and The Good Food Guide virtually ignored it."

I think Don and Annie Foster Firth co-owned MAT before going on to set up Industry, a consultancy. The wine list (put together by Eddie Khoo?) was famed and exhaustive: the legend went that French wine growers would travel to MAT just to drink their own vintages after their cellars had run dry.

The whole starters/puddings thing was abandoned in the late Eighties, once its star had faded and AWT turned his attention to empire building with One Ninety Queensgate. The Times' "Eating Out" Directory of March 10, 1990, says:

"One of the most fashionable restaurants of the early Eighties, when its gimmick was to serve only starters and puds. It now does more than that but is still wildly eclectic. The dishes are well-intentioned and often ill-executed. The wine list is among the best in Britain. Pounds 85-Pounds 95."

I'll private message you a few old reviews in full -- not of MAT, sadly, as the newspaper archive I searched does not go far enough, but of the places that followed. Choice quotes include:

Jonathan Meades, The Times, 1989: MAT "was, perhaps, the ne plus ultra of the early Eighties joint the cooking was faddy, indebted to nouvelle cuisine, self-consciously exquisite, aimed at the tongue rather than at the tummy; it was very popular with dieters. ... I'm afraid that I never went to Menage a Trois in its heyday. The English version of nouvelle cuisine was, along with flared trousers, a fashion I didn't subscribe to."
AA Gill, Sunday Times, 1997: "His restaurant Menage a Trois was truly inspirational. Serving only starters and puddings, it became risible only through imitation and the worst excesses of nouvelle cuisine. Thompson is the only British chef to have been made a member of the French Academie Culinaire, and this at a time when British food was still in the dark ages. His descent into celebrity is either a cautionary tale or a parable, depending on where your values are."

I cannot locate any mention whatsoever in the press on when it disappeared. I would, however place the time of expiry at 1999. Hope this helps.


Edited by naebody (log)

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I worked with AWT for two summers prior to the the opening of Menage a Trois, which was opened in Beauchamp Place. He was in command at Brinkleys on Hollywood Road, and then took the helm at Dan's Place before going into business with Don and Annie of the Bistros Vino at M a T. The original menage a trois was an appetiser at Brinkleys, of 3 phyllo parcels filled with various cheese combinations - brie and cranberry was one. The name of the plate transferred to the new, very vogue (at least with the Rangerettes of the day!) restaurant

AWT declared his menu a collection of dishes with "no intercourse", introducing the concept of small plate dining to items other than the regular tapas fare. I recall the most extravagant of his dishes being one of a roast truffle, with truffle reduction and truffle shavings, scented with truffle oil!

John


Edited by jtcookie (log)

"Venite omnes qui stomacho laboratis et ego restaurabo vos"

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Wasn't this the place where Squirrel got so vexed at being ignored by Michelin that he hung three car tyres over the door?

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I lived in London 1982-1984 and remember going to MAT when it first opened. I had the signature phyllo parcels and some sort of melt-in-your-mouth combination of foie gras and grapes---you know it must have been good for me to remember it over 20 years later! It was quite THE place at the time and I recall being excited to be invited to dine there. ....of course,I was young and pretty easily impressed at the time! :wub:


Edited by jdtofbna (log)

I may be in Nashville but my heart's in Cornwall

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I was AWT's Sous chef at Menage a Trois if i can help  [ 12 years later... ]

 

shaun

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