You are unlikely to read a review of Cote in the columns of the serious foodies. Like Ken Howard, Terence Rattigan and Daphne du Maurier – all extolled in this organ – Cote suffers for its popularity. Yet if offers seriously good food at a reasonable price and this is why it is packed. The theme is French brasserie and I suppose its rival would be Cafe Rouge, a chain universally criticised for its slow service. Bob Tickler, Michael Stuart and I went there prior to the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s performance at the Brighton Dome. I chose a warm roquefort salad. This was served with endive and quite delicious. For mains I went for duck breast. this was priced at £14. I have eaten the same dish at twice the price in upmarket nosheries. It was pink, tender and serious in portion. We are all on dry January without alcohol and it came to £75 for three.
The concert, of music composed by Mozart, Brahms and Beethoven, was in the Viennese classical tradition. The first piece was the overture of the opera Lucio Silla. It is an amazing thing that Mozart was but 16 when he wrote this and he had already composed 6 operas from the age of 11. Michael explained that if you ever had a competition for the greatest composer of all it would have to be Mozart as he wrote every type of music: opera, symphony, sonata, concerto, choral. Haydn never wrote a opera, Puccini and Verdi never wrote a symphony. This was followed by Brahms Piano Concerto number 2. In reality this is a symphony as it employs the entire orchestra. The pianist was Stefan Ciric. Born in 1986 in Belgrade he has rapidly acquired a international reputation and the audience response, with 4 ovations, reflected this. I do not go to classical concerts that often but one thing I do enjoy, unlike say the theatre, is that you can meander off in your own thoughts – mine a delicious Romanian first violinist I met at the Salzburg music festival and saw on and off (mainly on!!!) for many years in my misspent youth. The seats in the Dome are comfy, the acoustics good and it’s a restful evening.
I found myself thoroughly engaged by the final piece, Beethoven’s 7th. This is not one of his best known and was written as a benefit concert for Austrian soldiers wounded at the Battle of Hirnau in 1813. It’s a spirited piece which Indonesian conductor Adrian Pravlava in his London Philharmonic debut conduced with brio. He really threw himself physically into the music. Michael said it’s little performed as it’s demanding of the orchestra but it had a stirring uplifting quality. For the uninitiated like me to see a 50 piece orchestra giving its all with conductor jiving away at the podium is one of the great performing arts. As Bob said afterwards, for the first time he was not thinking about the crash in the FTSE market!!