Dinner with Jonathan Meades

England's Greatest Living Restaurant Critic dishes up a dinner menu for 12.

Virginia Hume

Topics Politics

Thank you to all our readers who have sent in menus to spiked. You are in a queue system and will be dealt with in turn.

Well – not strictly in turn, because this month England’s Greatest Living Restaurant Critic, Jonathan Meades, has generously sent spiked his own dinner menu for 12. (If you want to cook it for fewer, do the maths yourself.)

You can find Jonathan’s inimitable ‘Feeding Times’ in The Times magazine on Saturdays. And to take part in Executive Relief, see the rules at the end.

Jonathan Meades’ Executive Relief

‘I served this on Sunday for 16 people. It does not require the flower arranging skills which are of such overwhelming importance to professional chefs – and I have yet to buy a blowtorch. However, the lamb does need a powerful and large grill which many domestic kitchens lack.’


Vitello Tonnato

Grilled Legs of Lamb

Lemon Curd Yoghurt


‘Either buy salt cod – but not that yellowing stuff which is as hard as a board: Brindisa in Borough Market is a reliable source – and soak it under a running tap for 24 hours. Or salt your own fresh cod for 36 hours in sea salt, and then desalinate for about 12 hours.’

Poach the cod in milk for about 7 minutes. Remove skin. Pick out bones with tweezers. Put cod in Magimix with five cloves of garlic per fillet. Blitz. When the cod and garlic are reduced to a paste, add olive oil or walnut oil with the blade on max – do not add it too quickly. The resultant emulsion should be fairly stiff. You can do this the day before you’re going to serve it. Serve it with slices of bread fried in duck fat, or brushed with duck fat and grilled.

Wine suggestion – White Beaujolais

Vitello Tonnato

Take all the fat off a loin of veal and poach it in chicken or veal stock. The meat should be fairly rare. This can be done the day before.

Tonnato sauce

Drain four small cans of white tuna (Brindisa at Borough market, again) and two small tins of anchovies. Throw in Magimix with capers which have been drained of vinegar and briefly washed. (Do not use salted capers.) Blitz. Add olive oil to achieve a smooth paste with the texture of mayonnaise.

Alternatively, you can make a mayonnaise and then incorporate the other ingredients. The result is notably heavier.

Slice the meat thinly and put a spoonful of sauce on each slice.

Wine suggestion – Tokay Pinot Gris

Grilled Legs of Lamb

‘The best lamb in London comes from Andrew Sharp, a Furness farmer with a stall at Borough Market.’

Take all the fat off two whole legs of lamb with the bone in. Salt them. Put them under a hot grill for an hour and a half, turning them every 10 minutes. Do not place them too close to the heat. Serve them with the meat juices, and nothing else, save a salad of white chard stalks briefly boiled until they start to take on a slight transparency. Dress them with lemon and olive oil but no mustard.

Wine suggestion – Marcillac from Matha or Teulier


‘Serve whatever’s in season, and no more than two kinds. It is aberrant to serve fruit or celery.’

Wine suggestion – Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz – unless you’re eating Roquefort, in which case a poor man’s Sauterne such as Loupiac or Monbazillac is more apt.

Lemon Curd Yoghurt

Mix good quality yoghurt with good quality lemon curd. (Both available from English Natural Foods at Borough Market.) Put in freezer for an hour or so.

Wine suggestion – Asti Spumante (forget its reputation and the etiquette that attaches to it).

Shopping List

salt cod



olive oil


duck fat

loin of veal

chicken or veal stock

canned white tuna

two small tins of anchovies

capers in vinegar

legs of lamb




cheese in season


lemon curd

White beaujolais

Tokay Pinot Gris

Marcilllac from Matha or Teulier

Asti Spumante

Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz

Executive Relief: The rules

You are invited to share your dinner menus with spiked readers. The recipes do not have to be original – they just have to be good. Simply follow the rules below, and send your recipes to:

1) There should be at least three courses, only one of which needs to be cooked on the day of the dinner.

2) It should not be too fiddly or difficult – nothing that requires balloons, spun sugar or blowtorches.

3) You should suggest a wine for each course.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Topics Politics


Want to join the conversation?

Only spiked supporters and patrons, who donate regularly to us, can comment on our articles.

Join today