We were delighted to welcome back the Rocket Private View series with an evening of food, cocktails, and art at the newly refurbished National Portrait Gallery. Guests were treated to a special private view of David Hockney’s “Drawing from Life” exhibition alongside an array of canapés, food stalls, and delicious drinks, including still and sparkling wine from the fabulous Gusbourne, and a variety of stunning (and quaffable) cocktails from our friends at Drinks Fusion.
Inspired by Hockney’s life and several works in the exhibition, the evening was a celebration of the artist as well as Rocket’s love of a good party. The menu was centred around cuisine from the places Hockney loved, most notably, England and France. The waiting staff wore tweed waistcoats in a nod to Hockney’s typical attire, while the bar staff were outfitted in vintage army jackets taking inspiration from one of the paintings in the exhibition, Lucie-Lune Lambouley and Louis-Martin Lambouley, 8th January.
Despite it being a chilly January evening, there was a line outside the National Portrait Gallery as guests sought refuge from the mid-winter blues. The light and airy gallery was adorned with flowers and plants in various hues of purple and wine, complemented by the deep walnut wood of the bars, food stalls, and cocktail tables. The dim lighting and upbeat music courtesy of DJ Ollie provided the perfect backdrop for mingling over drinks and nibbles.
The evening began with a flurry of Rocket’s award-winning canapes, including smoked trout royal, chicken Waldorf cannelloni, duck bonbon, and cornish fish pie (to name a few). Guests were also invited to sample two bountiful food stalls – one inspired by the Italian cichetti, which included an array of light bites such as lobster brioche and cheddar, pickled walnut & celery chouquette – and another which included more substantial plates like forerib of beef with pomme purée and cod cheek fritters with lovage veloute and crispy capers, and sliced-to-order duck ham with pickled plums.
Working with the incomparable Drinks Fusion, the cocktail menu included Artic Bramble Negronis, Mezcal and Rhubarb Tipples, Cloudberry Collins, and Mirabelle Sidecars. There was also a fabulous selection of Gusbourne wines, including their Blanc de Blancs, Chardonnay, and English Rosé.
It being January, there was a variety of non-alcoholic options as well, including a popular blood orange iced tea, Seedlip Spice 94 & Fever Tree Tonic, and alcohol-free sparkling wine French Bloom.
As guests segued to the coat check, they were met with “dessert gardens” on plinths adorned with a variety of sweet treats, including Seville orange macaroons, Jammy Dodgers, rhubarb choux, and milk chocolate & salted caramel pops. There was also a giant rhubarb and custard sponge which was decorated with an intricate rhubarb lattice by our pastry chef as guests mingled and snapped photos.
Rocket Private Views has been running for over a decade showcasing a diverse range of exhibitions across some of our favourite venues in the capital. We were thrilled to welcome back the series with gusto and see both new and familiar faces revelling in our favourite things – delicious food, exquisite drinks, and incredible art. You can read more about previous Rocket Private Views here.