One of the difficult things about being a repatriating expat is the final flight home. Normally, you’d buy a return ticket because it’s cheaper. But as you’re getting ready to book your ticket back to your old home country, you think…”Hmmm…do I think I’ll ever be back in the UK? Can I use this return leg at some point in the future? WHEN?” But then you get all caught up in farecodes and the endless cycle of having a return ticket back to the UK that you can ever quite figure out what to do with. So you never use it.
Me? I had another idea. A part-cash, part miles one-way ticket on British Airways should be cheaper than round-trip. And in Club World no less! Might as well go home in style, huh? Done!
As part of this whole booking process, I remembered an old e-mail in my blog inbox. It was an offer to go on a food tour of Terminal 5. (Did any London bloggers ever do this? I never saw any posts.) I got back in touch with the PR, told her I’d be in Terminal 5 around noon on Friday September 3rd, and asked if the food tour was still available.
Well…it was…sort of. I could at least go to the Caviar House & Prunier (only my favorite place to eat in airports) and get a walk-thru of the menu there. That sounded just about perfect to me, so I headed off to Heathrow Friday morning, eager to stuff myself with smoked salmon and also maybe get a beauty treatment at the Elemis Spa in the Club World Lounge in T5.
Foursquare warned me: Elemis books up early. So I went straight there as soon as I’d checked in (around 12:15 pm) and took the first available slot at 2:20 pm. (See…they weren’t kidding.) Sorted. Now it was time for some smoked salmon. And maybe some champagne.
Although there was a slight mix up about my arrival and what I was exactly there for, it all worked out more or less for good. The team at Caviar House whipped me up the Balik Salmon selection, which goes for £32.50. The selection features nori, dill, and orange salmon filets (I liked the orange the best), deeply lovely Balik tartar, some Balik smoked salmon, and deliciously salty Balik pearls (roe), accompanied by a green salad and toasted brown bread. I could have eaten the tartar all day, seriously. Balik salmon is some of the most renowned in the world and is smoked in Switzerland based on the original smoke ovens used in Imperial Russia.
For me, they also threw in 10 grams of Prunier Caviar, made in France, but in the Russian style. Just doing the math based on on 30 grams, I think the 10 grams retailed for about about £30. It had me thinking about the story Leonid from Bob Bob Ricard tells…about the time that he threw all the extra caviar down the sink and it blocked up the pipes and he had to tell the plumber “Um, the sink is blocked with caviar.” (Leonid throws my kind of party.)
Not really knowing the proper way of eating caviar, I asked Caviar House & Prunier the best way to do it. They responded as follows: “The most natural way of tasting caviar is by eating off the back of your hand, at the junction of the thumb and forefinger. To preserve the full flavour of caviar use a mother of pearl spoon. Caviar is never eaten with a silver or stainless steel spoon, as this can distort and taint its taste. At Caviar House & Prunier at Heathrow, a popular dish is to serve caviar with crème fresh, egg whites, red onion and toasted blinis.”
All of this was washed down by the house champagne (£8.75 a glass) which was crisp and light. It had me wondering…how many bottles of champagne do they go through a day in Heathrow? How many salmons? And most importantly…HOW MUCH CAVIAR? I’m dying to know.
So I asked them. And here’s what they said:
“Approximately over 350 units of caviar is sold over the course of a week at Caviar House & Prunier. Additionally, over 250 glasses of champagne and over 50 bottles of champagne are consumed on average a day.”
After my caviar gorge-fest, I headed up to the Elemis Spa in the Club Lounge for an awesome 15 minute facial. I’m sad I only just realized that Club World gets free spa treatments; I flew Club World to Dubai in Januaryand just sat around in the lounge for ages during the blizzard. (And then 7 hours on the plane while we waited for de-icing, but that’s another story.) The Elemis staff sent me off with a few free samples which was kind of them. I also learned through them that Elemis and Bliss are now one company (along with a cruise ship spa company). Marcia Kilgore must be very rich now.
And after THAT, I just hung around in the Club World lounge (that’s the B concourse lounge pictured above), drinking Sauvignon Blanc, thinking…seriously, if you are going to leave, leave in style. Full of Caviar House & Prunier smoked salmon, caviar AND champagne, and with a few beauty treatments thrown in for good measure. I don’t think I’ll be able to duplicate this sort of afternoon anytime soon, but if you’ve got the resources, I can recommend it most highly. Goodbye, London!
Yes friends, I was a guest of Caviar House. What can I say? There was champagne involved.