Those staying in London hotels this week and struggling to find a place to eat might find their appetites whet by the latest offering from the British Museum, which is hosting an authentic Roman feast this Friday (May 17th).
Since the museum's critically acclaimed Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum exhibition opened two months ago, this leading institution has established itself as London's finest destination for Roman-themed lectures, events and workshops. Rather than focusing on gladiators, emperors and military leaders, the exhibition looks at the domestic life of ordinary Roman citizens – much like those whose homes were preserved in volcanic ash during the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.
This week's feast hopes to give diners the full banqueting experience enjoyed by the Roman elite thousands of years ago, though dishes have been judiciously modernised to suit modern gourmet tastes. Guests might be surprised, therefore, at how palatable this three-course meal is – with the Romans assuredly knowing a thing or two about perennial favourites like wine and cheese.
The event will be hosted by the authors of The Classical Cookbook, Andrew Dalby and Sally Grainger, who'll be introducing each dish and setting it in historical context – painting a "vibrant picture of living, wining and dining in the ancient world," they promise.
Furthermore, enthusiasts of ancient cuisine will be able to see a new display at the museum next week. Silver Service: Fine Dining in Britain explores how the Romans brought their culinary expertise and appetite for good living to British shores. Visitors will be able to recline in a stunning recreation of a luxurious dining room, scented with cinnamon, and be taken back in time by an immersive video projection.
The centerpiece of the display is the Mildenhall Great Plate, an astonishing silver platter exquisitely decorated with scenes depicting a drinking contest between Hercules and Bacchus, the god of wine.
Those attending this week's feast need to book in advance and tickets cost £35. Silver Service opens on May 24th and is free to attend.