Our City halls are a major part of the history within the City of London - they are classic buildings filled with artefacts, paintings and hundreds of years’ worth of history making them favoured venues for a wide range of events throughout the year.
The Apothecaries’ had once been members of the Grocers’ Company and originally sold spices until eventually honing in on their pharmaceutical skills and founding their own livery company in 1617. A historical talking point at Apothecaries’ Hall is the book where Agatha Christie signed in for her medical examinations in 1917. She sat her exam while working at the Dispensary of the Red Cross Hospital, Torquay, where she drafted her first detective novel which would soon do wonders for her career.
In celebration of this, we recently catered a luncheon for the Mistress Apothecary at the Hall, titled ‘What’s Your Poison?’, with the menu and décor themed on Agatha Christie’s novels and the memorabilia in the Hall.
"Miss Marple inserted a knife gingerly but with confidence. She was not disappointed. Rich deep yellow yolk oozed out, thick and creamy. Proper eggs!"
- Agatha Christie, The Bertram's Hotel
On the menu guests were able to see what they were eating, and which book the menu inspiration had come from. To start guests enjoyed Smoked Haddock and Spinach Florentine with a Poached Hen’s Egg, Hollandaise Sauce and a Pastry Crescent, inspired by At Bertram’s Hotel.
"Blackberries are said to be full of vitamins, but they may be deadly in other ways. On this occasion I rather fancy they have helped to put a rope round a man’s neck."
- Agatha Christie, Four and Twenty Blackbirds
The main course was inspired by Four and Twenty Blackbirds, guests enjoyed Partridge Breast wrapped in Cumbrian Cured Ham, Blackberry and Port Jus, Puy Lentils with Carrots and Celery, accompanied by Rainbow Brassica.
And for vegetarian guests, a seasonal meal of Chargrilled Aubergine Paupiettes with Sautéed Chanterelles and Romanesco Sauce, inspired by Murder is easy.
"Florrie Gibbs knew her onions as far as mushrooms were concerned."
- Agatha Christie, Murder is Easy
As always to finish up any delicious meal, a coffee or tea, accompanied by homemade petit fours and chocolates.
"One more question, Doctor: would it be possible to introduce a fatal dose of poison into a chocolate?"
- Agatha Christie, The Chocolate Box
Décor and small touches were the key to working in the theme, and our team worked closely with The Mistress to see her vision come to life. The tables were decorated with sweets in organza bags and bottles of mints that resembled pills. In the cellar at Apothecaries’ Hall, live glass bottles once used for poison, these were displayed on the windowpane, distanced from the meal but still essential to the décor. For the finishing touches, different poisons and drugs were used as table names and the bar was decorated with vintage books, fitting for a literary themed afternoon.
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