Recipe: Richard Corrigan’s Virginia Park Lodge Lobster Cocktail

To celebrate this month’s opening of The Portrait, the celebrated chef shares a recipe for summer soirées

The National Portrait Gallery will finally reopen its doors at the end of this month, following a three-year closure and a í35.5 million redevelopment project, and it will be marking this new era with a stylish rebrand: ‘a fresh visual identity to better reflect its role as a gallery that is of people, for people, telling the story of Britain’s past, present and future through portraits.’

The programme for its first year includes Paul McCartney Photographs 1963-64: Eyes of the Storm (28 June – 1 October), an exhibition of never-before-seen photography from the Beatles legend; and David Hockney: Drawing from Life (2 November 2023 – 21 January 2024), the celebrated exhibition that was cut short when the gallery was closed by the pandemic in 2020.

And it’s not just the art that promises something a little special – a variety of exciting new hospitality partnerships will see delicious food and drink being served in uniquely designed spaces. Audrey Green by Daisy Green Collection will offer speciality coffees plus delicious cakes and light lunches from a ground floor café that will also be accessible from the street, and brunches and exhibition themed afternoon teas from the vaults of the gallery. This space will transform into a buzzing bar come the evening.

Meanwhile celebrated chef Richard Corrigan will be at the helm of The Portrait, a destination restaurant and bar set across the top floor of the gallery within an intimate space offering panoramic views that take in Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament. The menus will showcase Richard’s classic culinary ethos and focus on British and Irish ingredients. He tells us: “I’ve long been a lover of the National Portrait Gallery and the exquisite art that hangs here. Any chef would give their right arm to cook in such a historic building, so for me to be opening a restaurant, under the same roof as all this world class art, well, it’s truly a privilege.”

Richard Corrigan

Here, he treats us to a taste of what diners might be tucking into when the restaurant opens its doors. “Nothing screams summer more than fresh seafood, and this luxury take on a classic shellfish cocktail is the perfect garden party appetiser to prepare ahead of time, so you can spend time with your guests and a glass of crisp wine in the sunshine,” he says.



1 whole lobster (600g approx) | 1 head crunchy lettuce | 1 cucumber | 1 lemon

For the cocktail sauce

200g mayonnaise (preferably homemade) | 1 tbsp horseradish cream | 1 tbsp ketchup |1 tbsp sherry |1 tsp Worcestershire sauce | 1/2 tsp Tabasco


1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a simmer and gently place the lobster into it.

2. Simmer for 10 minutes and immediately remove into ice cold water.

3. Remove the tail and claws from the lobster.

4. Extract the meat from the tail by firmly pressing with your hand until the shell cracks, allowing easy removal.

5. Crack the claws and use a pick to remove any remaining lobster meat.

6. Mix all ingredients for the cocktail sauce together until combined.

7. Shred lettuce, peel and de-seed the cucumber and slice into chunks.

8. Assemble the lettuce and cucumber in serving dishes, slice the lobster and place on top.

9. Spoon a generous mound of cocktail sauce to the side, serve with lemon wedges.