Of the many events planned to honor the Titanic, from a centennial cruise from New York City to multiple museum exhibitions of the ship’s artifacts, renditions of the final dinner served in the ship’s first-class dining room are being meticulously prepared in restaurants from Belfast to San Diego.
The Rayanne House, a historic guest house near Belfast, where the world’s largest-ever ship was built in 1912, has been serving a lavish nine-course version of the authentic menu, which holds a mystique as the last supper of the passengers aboard the Titanic.
For three years, the proprietor chef Conor McClelland has re-created the menu monthly and on special occasions. On April 13-15 the Titanic Menu will be served to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the fateful maiden voyage.
As tourists pour into Belfast to visit the new Titanic Belfast Experience attraction, views of Belfast Lough can seen from Rayanne House, revealing where the ship passed in 1912.
For a seating of 36, the dinner is prepared as closely as possible to the original with authentic preparations and ingredients, including rose water sorbet and green Chartreuse liqueur for the jellied dessert, more popular at the time.
Chef McClelland improvised a little with “Canapés a L’Amiral,” learning there were 1,221 quarts of oysters on the Titanic when it departed Southampton.
The original menu had 13 courses, explains the chef, who adjusted the number of dishes for his presentation to suit today’s appetites, marrying courses and dropping items like foie gras, while “optimizing the indulgence of the Edwardian era” with Filet Mignon Lili.
Canapés a L’Amiral
Cream of Barley Soup finished with
Bushmills Whiskey and Cream
Asparagus and Watercress Salad with Champagne
Saffron Vinaigrette served with Roast Squab
Poached Salmon with Mousseline Sauce
garnished with Cucumber and Fresh Dill
Rose Water and Mint Sorbet
Pan-Seared Filet Mignon topped with Foie Gras and Truffle
Drizzled with a Cognac, Madeira and Red Wine Reduction
with Potatoes Anna, Creamed Carrots and Zucchini Farci
Spiced Peaches in Chartreuse Jelly and French Vanilla Ice Cream
Cheese and Fruit
Coffee and Petit Fours
In San Diego, not far from Baja California in Mexico where James Cameron shot the blockbuster Titanic, in theaters now in 3D, chef Jonathan Hale of The Prado restaurant will also serve a 10-course version of the Titanic Centennial Dinner from April 14, 1912.
After dinner, guests are guided to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The Prado’s version includes additions such as Consommé Olga noted in the book Last Dinner on the Titanic: Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner, published in 1997 and still selling.
The cookbook describes the meals with detailed historical information and techniques so the ambitious can replicate the dishes in home kitchens, mentioning that Auguste Escoffier’s classic meals from 19th century France were the inspiration.
Alex has written for Vanity Fair, Barrons, Bloomberg and Condé Nast Traveler.