What's on menu at Queen's banquet

LONDON • Venison from the Queen's Balmoral estate formed the main course at a banquet hosted by the Queen for Chinese President Xi Jinping at Buckingham Palace, washed down with a choice of wines headed by a sparkling English variety.

Mr Xi, who has been known to burnish his populist credentials at home during simple dumpling meals at communal tables in Beijing workers' restaurants, sat down to something entirely different during the palace meal hosted by the Queen.

Guests, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, and senior royals such as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of York and the Princess Royal, dined on a menu that started with West Coast turbot and lobster mousse, before tucking into a roasted loin of Balmoral venison in a madeira and truffle sauce.

On the side were braised red cabbage, cocotte potatoes and timbale of celeriac and butternut squash. Dessert came in the form of "delice of dark chocolate, mango and lime", according to details of the menu, which was released by the palace.

The wine list featured French and South African choices.

The palace also provided details of an eclectic music programme, courtesy of the Countess of Wessex's String Orchestra, which ranged from Robert Farnon's The Westminster Waltz, through to the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby.

The programme ended on Nobody Does It Better, the theme from the 1977 Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me, in which a number of ballistic-missile submarines mysteriously disappear.

With dinner behind them, Mr Xi and the Queen would have had time to examine the gifts they exchanged on Tuesday. The Queen would have had an opportunity to listen to two albums of Chinese folk music recorded by the President's wife Peng Liyuan.

The Queen's gifts to Mr Xi included a pair of silver-framed photographs of herself and the Duke of Edinburgh, a gift she has presented to other world leaders.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 22, 2015, with the headline 'What's on menu at Queen's banquet'. Print Edition | Subscribe