Combining an indulgent meal with an afternoon perusing an art exhibition could well be the culture-lover’s equivalent of a restorative spa weekend. The partnership between reputable Mayfair restaurant Le Caprice and the Royal Academy of Arts certainly offers such a holistic experience, providing guests with all they need to satisfy their gastronomical and cultural appetite. In March 2015 the offer includes a 2 course late lunch or early dinner, a welcome cocktail, and a ticket to ‘Rubens and His Legacy’ – a comprehensive retrospective tracking the pervasive influence of a prolific artist. The restaurant organises everything, so guests can sit back and relax…
Elegant eatery Le Caprice is tucked away down a quiet Mayfair side street, and yet its reputation guarantees a gently energetic atmosphere even during quieter afternoon hours. The low lighting, nostalgic décor, and genial service from impeccable waiting staff cultivates an old-world charm which transports guests to a time of unlimited luxury. A boozy 2-course meal at an unconventional hour will in any case feel like a rare indulgence, but the restaurant goes to lengths to make guests feel well looked after. The refreshing welcome cocktail is accompanied by a bottomless basket of bread, which includes a rich chocolate muffin that comes particularly recommended by the manager.
The set menu for the Royal Academy package offers a choice of three options for each course including fish, vegetarian, and meat. The dishes are carefully put together with attention to complimentary flavours and textures. The broccoli soup, finished with delicate poached quail eggs is particularly recommended to start, and perfectly pairs with the succulent fillet of Pollock cooked with Umbrian lentils as a main. There’s an extensive wine list and waiters on standby to advise on pairings.
As the meal finishes, guests are presented with their exhibition tickets, and ushered on to complete the package experience.
‘Rubens and His Legacy’ at the Royal Academy, Burlington House, is the first major overview of the Flemish Baroque painter’s work, that of his contemporaries, and his artistic descendants. The show is organised conceptually around the themes of Power, Lust, Compassion, Elegance, Poetry, and Violence. Unusually for such a broad survey, the curatorial intentions are easy to discern, as the commonalities and causal connections between Rubens and the artists he influenced are presented clearly. The result is a fascinating foray through some of the most diverse and provocative periods in art history; the curious visitor can learn just as much about the social and political dimensions of the artistic community, as about the art itself.
Although Rubens is best-known for his open fascination with voluptuous female forms, the most striking aspect of his paintings is his masterful use of colour and light. His portraits, landscapes, and religious scenes command and focus attention with ‘spotlight’ effects – a technique that was emulated by his peers and subsequent generations of artists.
Don’t miss the final room of the exhibition for a very different take on Rubens’ legacy in contemporary art, and look out for the subtle details in the huge masterpieces, including some surprises in the stirring painting ‘The Tiger Hunt’.
The Royal Academy package at Le Caprice is available all year round, and the Rubens and His Legacy exhibition runs until 10 April 2015
Le Caprice, 20 Arlington Street, London, UK, 020 7629 2239
By Carly Minsky