Tasty Titanic lunch menu


A MENU for a luncheon held to mark the launch in Belfast of the Titanic on May 31st, 1911 is to be sold at Bonhams, London next week. The estimate is £10,000-£15,000.

The lunch, hosted by Lord Pirrie, chairman of Harland and Wolff, was given at the city’s Grand Central Hotel and guests included Bruce Ismay, the chairman and managing director of the White Star Line which had commissioned the ship as well as yard officials and various VIPs.

The menu card for the elaborate, 12-course “luncheon” is almost entirely in French and included eggs stuffed with foie gras, turtle soup, fried sole, fillet of beef, York ham, Sussex capon and asparagus accompanied by Liebfraumilch white wine, vintage claret and Ruinart champagne. Desserts were followed by a selection of digestifs: chartreuse, brandy and Benedictine.

The menu also featured a favourite palate cleanser of the day – “Ponche at la Romaine” – a thick punch made from lemon water ice, meringue, champagne and rum which was also on the menu in first class on the Titanic on April 14th, 1912, the evening it sank.

Lionel Willis of Bonhams said :“This is a fascinating document not only because of its close link with one of the most gripping events of the 20th century but also for the light it casts on how the middle classes of the day chose to celebrate. It’s difficult to imagine anyone having the appetite for all that food nowadays.”