Luke Blackall: Someone save us from the curse of the canapé

Man About Town: Fantastic staples like sushi, fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are rendered useless
  • @lukeblackall

I don't like canapés. To me, they are simply dodgy, dyspepsia-inducing discs of doom. They interrupt conversation, infect you with bad breath and fleck the lapels, when they escape from frothy-mouthed party-goers. They are also an affectation, an affront to the taste buds and a product of the tasteless. Have I gone too far? Perhaps, but you get my point that they are almost invariably disappointing.

Fantastic staples like sushi, fish and chips and roast beef and Yorkshire pudding are rendered useless and near inedible when given the canapé treatment.

I'll admit that, at the opening of some good restaurants, I've tried a handful (though never a trayful) of nice ones, but it's a very rare occurrence. Usually the ones that arrive at chest-height (apt, as that's usually where they get stuck) look about as edifying as the food on a Kerry Katona Iceland advert.

(Those of you who have been following the trajectory of her career, wouldn't be surprised if next week she was serving the canapés at the sort of parties she once, er, graced.)

When I was invited to the opening of the new Cordon Bleu school in Bloomsbury Square this week, one of the things the publicist promised was great finger food. However, while I might have raised an eyebrow at the time, for once the advance publicity didn't disappoint.

From the barbecued prawns to the crab, to the smoky butternut squash soup, all were brilliant and hot out of the kitchen. A quick read of the menu (yes, there was a menu) revealed that on the first floor was the "world of macaroons". The intricate delicacies were fantastic.

I wasn't the only happy guest. The French Ambassador (who, as regular readers of the column will know, is a host of exquisite taste) looked delighted. And the food even impressed no less an expert than Raymond Blanc.

When not telling me about his new TV show (it's new and on BBC2) and exploring the excitement of the food trays, he was telling the temporary staff (in a kindly, patrician manner) to smile.

And smile they should, because they'll rarely be serving such satisfying finger food.

Despite these trays of delights, the experience hasn't turned me into a canapé convert. But it should serve as a reminder that unless you're going to do them properly, don't bother.