Chef Clare Smyth and Dom Pérignon team up for a celebration of second lives

To mark the launch of Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 2004, Core by Clare Smyth restaurant in London’s Notting Hill hosts a special dining experience inspired by the maturation of champagne

portrait of Clare Smyth, founder of Core, and Vincent Chaperon, chef de cave of Dom Pérignon, holding champagne
Clare Smyth, founder of Core, and Vincent Chaperon, chef de cave of Dom Pérignon, sample a glass of Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 2004 in July 2022
(Image credit: Courtesy Dom Pérignon)

Chef Clare Smyth is joining forces with champagne house Dom Pérignon this evening (1 November 2022) for ‘Second Life by Clare Smyth’, a special dining experience inspired by the creation of Dom Pérignon Plénitude 2 2004.

A leading light of London’s culinary scene, Smyth is the first and only British female chef to hold three Michelin stars in the UK. She served as chef patron of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay before opening her own restaurant, Core by Clare Smyth, in August 2017, which emphasises natural, sustainable food sourced from British farmers and food producers. Core achieved its third Michelin star last year, and will play host to this evening’s event.

caviar sandwich

A caviar sandwich, one of four amuse bouches that will be paired with a Dom Pérignon Vintage 2012 

(Image credit: Courtesy Core by Clare Smyth)

Professional achievements aside, Smyth is an apt choice to orchestrate a celebration of Dom Pérignon because of her longstanding affection for its champagne. ‘It’s my favourite. I collect it myself, and I always like to work with people and things I really love – so it was a natural collaboration for me,’ explains the chef, whose ideal weekend involves staying home with a bottle of Dom Pérignon. ‘Obviously it’s great as an aperitif. But on a wintery day, Dom Pérignon and fish and chips in front of the TV is the ultimate combination of luxury and comfort.’ 

plate of lobster

(Image credit: Courtesy Core by Clare Smyth)

Unusually for a paired tasting menu, the food offering this evening will consist of champagnes only, and exclusively from Dom Pérignon too. It’s a bold decision, but one that aligns with Smyth’s affinity for experimentation and highlights the versatility of Dom Pérignon, across different vintages and plénitudes. The latter refers to the champagne house’s tradition of setting aside a limited number of bottles of each vintage in its cellars, intended for longer maturation. The extra time lends itself to increased inner activity in the bottle, and thus, a second life (‘Plénitude 2’, or ‘P2’ for short) for the vintage, with wider and deeper flavours. As Dom Pérignon’s chef de cave, Vincent Chaperon, explains, ‘our wines continue to become more intense, complex and streamlined with longer maturation.’

The menu, which comprises four amuse bouches followed by six courses, takes as its starting point the idea of two lives. ‘I gained my reputation at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, where I created a style and identity that really became my own,’ recalls Smythe. ‘But when I opened Core, I left all those dishes behind. This dining experience is an opportunity to revisit those dishes that had been my greatest hits, to come back to them with my age and experience now, and give them a new lease of life.’

chicken and hen dish

‘Chicken & the Hen’, served with salsify, thyme and chicken sauce, will be paired with Dom Pérignon Vintage 2022 as well as Dom Pérignon 2022 P2 

(Image credit: Courtesy Core by Clare Smyth)

The amuse-bouches include a ‘caviar’ sandwich – a buckwheat crepe filled with caviar and all the condiments usually served with it – egg yolk, egg white, creme fraiche, shallot and parsley (‘one perfect bite rather than a mess,’ summarises Smyth’); a white truffle and pumpkin gourgère; foie gras parfait and Madeira; and Rockefeller oysters. These are paired with a Vintage 2012 – the same year Smyth began to collect Dom Pérignon.

Meanwhile, the six courses range from elevated takes on British staples, such as a ‘Beans on toast’ (with white truffle, coco de Paimpol and Fenton farm egg), to a decadent Cornish turbot with a crab and Ras El Hanout broth. Smyth is particularly enthusiastic about this broth – comprising over a dozen spices commonly found in north African cuisines. ‘It’s big and fragrant, but it’s probably one of the most successful pairings. The nature of the spices and the roundness in the dish pairs perfectly with the Dom Pérignon 2004 P2.’ 

dish with leaves

‘Notting Hill Forest’, with white truffle chestnut, prune, pine and woodruff, to be paired to a Dom Pérignon Vintage 1996 

(Image credit: Courtesy Core by Clare Smyth)

Autumnal flavours abound on the menu – aside from the liberal use of white truffle, Smyth is also bringing back her ‘Chicken & the Hen’ as the main course, featuring hen of the woods mushrooms, and served with salsify, thyme and chicken sauce. To drive home the difference that comes from a longer maturation on the lees, she is pairing this dish with two champagnes: a Dom Pérignon Vintage 2002 and a Dom Pérignon 2002 P2, ‘so guests can understand the journey, and how different two expressions of the same champagne can be.’

After that, she serves up a ‘Notting Hill Forest’, ‘an earthy dish that is created through walking through the leaves in autumn, all those flavours that you would get. It has cep mushrooms in it, it’s biscuity, so it feels like you’re crunching through a pile of leaves.’ This comes with a Dom Pérignon Vintage 1996, an extraordinary vintage that is still widely talked about more than a quarter of a century later. And finally, a warm chocolate tart with champagne gums – a luxurious take on the common wine gum. 

chocolate tart on bed of cocoa

(Image credit: Courtesy Core by Clare Smyth)

‘I love doing things like this,’ reflects Smyth. ‘It’s an opportunity to drink all of those champagnes that just doesn't happen very often. The different vintages and expressions of Dom Pérignon give you so many different things during the meal. It's a nice journey.’

Chaperon concurs: ‘There was just a natural synergy between the Plénitude 2 story and Clare’s incredible career – ever evolving and building in culinary excellence.’,

TF Chan is a former editor of Wallpaper* (2020-23), where he was responsible for the monthly print magazine, planning, commissioning, editing and writing long-lead content across all pillars. He also played a leading role in multi-channel editorial franchises, such as Wallpaper’s annual Design Awards, Guest Editor takeovers and Next Generation series. He aims to create world-class, visually-driven content while championing diversity, international representation and social impact. TF joined Wallpaper* as an intern in January 2013, and served as its commissioning editor from 2017-20, winning a 30 under 30 New Talent Award from the Professional Publishers’ Association. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he holds an undergraduate degree in history from Princeton University.