Thursday, 26 March 2009

Le (La?) Gothique Beer Festival

Since writing the title you will be relieved to know that I have established that the venue is masculine (whether this is correct French I don't know). The (male) Gothique is an odd place, tucked away in the inner courtyard of a massive Victorian high gothic monsterpiece beached on a dual carriageway somewhere in Cla'ham. Our cabbie's older brother had gone to school there and apparently bears the scars to prove it. The slipper was the progressive teaching aid of choice in 1970s SW London , I gather.

Host Mark Justin had laid on 40 or so beers made by a number of obscure regional brewers plus Kent megapower Shepherd Neame. I pitched up with Adam (GM of the Westbridge) and Duncan Sambrooke (proud owner of Sambrooke's Brewery, of which more later). We arrived possibly a little early (5ish) and the crowd was predominantly gloomy men. There's a certain look: Millets coat, greying ponytail (Option B: long hair, side parting - if James Hunt was still alive...). Later it livened up.

The beer was very mixed IMHO. Among the worst things I have drunk this year (a big statement) were the Midhurst Mild (tasteless) and the Chocolate and Orange Delight (sewage nose). But there were some stars: Wandle - brewed by charming Dunc (see above), Downton IPA (a fearsome 6.8% but massive depths) and just about anything from Shepherd Neame but especially their lightest offering Canterbury Jack - a pure expression of English Hops (or so I told myself knowingly).

I have long avoided the pickled egg. I once bumped into Richard, landlord of the Cock & Bottle (Artesian Road, W11) at Belfast City Airport at around 8pm on a Sunday. "Don't come near me", he said, "I've had 16 pickled eggs".

Tonight, however, was the night. And I enjoyed my 50p Parson's "Buffet Range" egg. A good accompaniment to large amounts of variable quality beer.

One thought - the half even is too large a measure for these events. Bring on the THIRD.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Set Menus

Set Menus - last night at dinner a hot topic (i.e. an opportunity for a rant from moi meme) was paltry, desultory resturant offerings under this heading. For the avoidance of doubt, the set menu at Le Cafe Anglais last night was...

Set Dinner
Tuesday 24th March

£20.00/25.00 for two or three courses
£30.00/35.00 for two or three courses with half a bottle of wine

Cream of Fennel and Celeriac Soup, Tapenade Toasts

Octopus Salad with Fennel, Lemon and Chilli

Assiette de Porc with Toast and Pumpkin Chutney


Swiss Chard, Beets and Potatoes with Salsa Verde

Roast Hake with Leeks, Herbs and White Wine

Breast of Duck with Chicory and Orange


Poached Rhubarb with Yoghourt Cake

Toasted Brioche with Blood Orange Curd

Duckett’s Caerphilly with Endives and Pears


Inzolia 2008 Villa Tonino, Sicily

Rully 1er Cru Preaux 2002 Eric de Suremain

The lunch menu (Table d’Hôte) is similar but at £16.50/£19.50 for two/three courses.

Also worth mentioning is the Plat du Jour, fully garished at £10. Today it's Rabbit Stew with Cider and Onions, Creamed Potatoes.

OK, that's enough Anglais puffing...

Bloggers Dinner at Le Cafe Anglais

Was pleased and proud to host hollowlegs, eatlikeagirl and londonelicious at Le Cafe Anglais last night. I promised the team I would post the bill of fare:

Hors d'Oeuvres
Anjou le Clos des Rouliers 2006 Richard Leroy

Parmesan Custard and Anchovy Toasts
Oyster Fritters, Thai Dipping Sauce
Mackerel Teriyaki, Cucumber Salad
Salsify Fritters

First Courses
Anjou le Clos des Rouliers 2006 Richard Leroy (2nd bottle)

Vitello Tonnato
Pike Boudin, Beurre Blanc
Warm Salad of Smoked Eel and Bacon
Spaghetti with Wild Garlic, Chilli and Parmesan

Spinach Mousse with Salsify and Morels

Fish Course
Steamed White Asparagus with Blood Orange Beurre Blanc
Steamed Halibut with Salsa Verde

Dolcetto d'Alba 2006 GD Vajra (first bottle corked)

Chicken (Breast) with Garlic and Rosemary
Middle White Pork and Apple Sauce

Confit of Duck with Swiss Chard ‘Agro Dolce’

Creamed Spinach
Curly Endive

Cheese Plate
Bourgogne Rouge 2004 Caillot

Brie de Meaux ~ Chèvre St Maure ~ Duckett’s Caerphilly ~ Fourme d’Ambert ~ Lancashire ~ Montgomery Cheddar ~ Parmigiano-Reggiano ~ St Marcellin

Vouvray Moelleux Cuvee 1990 Didier Champalou

Chocolate Soufflé, Pistachio Ice Cream
Custard Tart with Prunes