The Social Life – War Horse & Heddon Street Kitchen

The Social Life – “War Horse On Stage & Heddon Street Kitchen”

I have to be honest and say that if you’d told me I’d be sitting in a theatre, laughing, cheering and applauding three blokes running around controlling an eight foot high puppet horse, I would have told you that you were having a giraffe. I mean how ridiculous would it look ?

Let me tell you now, and you lot really need to listen and take heed. Go and see the theatre production of ” War Horse “. Or buy someone you love a ticket for Carrimbo and then buy yourself a ticket and use it as an excuse to go with them.

“Well you can’t go on your own!”… See where I’m coming from. It’s currently showing at the New London Theatre in Covent Garden.

I was a little apprehensive. I mean it’s one of those “lovely” films. Not necessarily a laugh-a-minute story, but most definitely a feel good film. Or at least I thought it was. Would they ruin it? For those of you that haven’t seen the film OR play. Here is a very quick run -down ( and I do mean quick )…please note if you haven’t seen WarHorse the next 4/5 lines do tell the story on an extremely basic level. So ( like on the old 10 o’clock news ), if you don’t want to know what happens, look away NOW!

this is very much a SPOILER ALERT:

Boy gets horse
Boy trains horse
Horse goes to war
Boy goes to war
They both meet up years later in a bar to discuss old times and to compare scars.

I’m joking. Horses can’t talk. Or can they?

I had booked a Saturday matinee show months before. It was our unofficial anniversary having been together 24 happy years , ( all together now Aaahh ). Believe it or not In those 24 years together we have not had a single argument. Well, I didn’t like to interrupt her once she starts talking.

We had pretty good seats. 10 rows back, to the side at the end. You could clearly see everything that was going on though, so no complaints there. A friend had suggested tissues were required but I’ve no idea why. I didn’t even have a cold, although that little line has come back to bite me on the ‘arris.

Everyone was settled as a young lady walked out on stage. She was smiling. The audience hushed, the lights went down and we were off. I don’t mean we all left. It was showtime!.. There is a very clever use of props in quite a sparsely clad stage. I did think to myself after 2 minutes ” what the bloody hell have I done? ” as 3 young members of the cast started running around the stage with a horse puppet straight out of the Bill and Ben era. The equivalent to having Legs made out of pool queues. Each member played their own role. One controlled the head. One the front legs and one the hind legs. As much as it was clever I wasn’t looking forward to another 90 minutes of it.

Twenty minutes in though and my general demeanour had completely changed. I was transfixed. What these people do without giving everything away is just immense. To quote my better looking and more intelligent other half….

“They give the horses soul”.. And by that she doesn’t imply they stick a Walkman on the horses head and play him James Brown to calm him down. It is difficult to explain just how clever it is. It’s like no show I’ve seen before. It’s so far off the beaten track that it’s in another country. Everything these people do, from the goose on a stick to the birds in the sky ( on a stick ), it’s so real. Animation taken to another level. Of course you have to embrace it a little but it’s made easy by such a clever use of noise, movement and of course not forgetting the acting itself. Jack Loxton is outstanding playing the part of Albert Narracott. I didn’t remember it being based in the West Country but apparently it was.

It’s a little unfair of me to single out individuals as each member plays a significant part in what is a fantastic theatre production. There are laughs a plenty. The odd squeamish moment although children over 12 I think would be fine and a few sad parts, hankies at the ready! The star of the show however is undoubtedly the horses, or at least the people that control them. The strength and guile these guys and girls have is an amazing attribute to behold. I fail to see how anyone would not enjoy watching this.

It’s when they brought the real horses out I was shocked!
( I’m joking )

Seeing the show the weekend after Armistice Day made it maybe slightly more prominent.

We left Drury Lane feeling we’d both seen a real gem of a show. It was a relatively pleasant evening and we strolled ( at first ) cheerfully in what we thought was the correct direction towards our selected food destination, stopping off at a couple of boutiques ( shops, I mean shops ), along the way. Upon leaving the last shop, very much like our last time out, we got a bit muddled up. Lost is maybe too strong but confused would be fair. In searching out particular shops we had lost our sense of direction ( again ). More hurriedly now, our pins took us along through Leicester Square, along Coventry Street and onto a chaotic Picadilly Circus leading to Regent Street. I love Londom, ( remove that M on the end, stick an N there please.. ), Sometimes however the number of people walking past, or straight through you is moronic.

We fought our way up Towards Heddon Street where we were eating. Checking my watch I realised we were now 5 minutes into our reservation time. Fashionably late as always. It may have taken a little longer than planned, mainly because I was busy watching an oriental gentleman kicking 10 shades out of the back of a London bus. I’ve no idea why the chap in question felt it necessary to take this action but it was highly amusing!

Anniversaries for Geraldine and I normally means dinner ( or lunch ) at a Gordon Ramsay eatery. Any excuse, funds permitting to eat somewhere nice. Heddon Street Kitchen is the latest of Rammo’s restaurants. Opening the week before, not without controversy, HSK is tucked away in the corner of Regent Street’s food quarter. Apparently fully booked for its opening night over 100 bookings failed to show, leading to Mr. Ramsay suggesting that ( allegedly ) a rival had sabotaged the big night by making phoney reservations. This had left staff deflated and frustrated, if you believe the newspapers and Mr. Ramsays version of events on Jonathan Ross.

Well the following Saturday I have to say there were no doom and gloom merchants on service as far as I could see. Greeted at the door by a lovely young lady at the reception we were immediately shown to our table. It wasn’t full to the rafters but I thought it reasonably busy. It was only 18:30 and judging by the number of people still out shopping, there was plenty of scope for more custom to come through the doors. I do question the positioning of the restaurant itself. Positioned opposite Strawberry Moons at the end as it is I would guess passing customers may choose to dine elsewhere not even realising HSK is there. Just my opinion.

Seated, we ordered cocktails, if you’ve read previous blogs you’ll know it’s now tradition. Jellybean chose the “Lady Regent”, which featured Gin, Ruinquinquin Peach ( I haven’t a scooby ), Elderflower, Lemon and Mint. She was suitably impressed. I had the “Grey Goose Le Fizz” which was very nice. It’s not the best drink to ever pass these hallowed lips but it was refreshing and hit enough high notes for me to be happy enough. Starters were taken, Beef Brisket for the boss and Tamarind Chicken wings for moi.

The food arrived along with a nice bottle of English Bacchus Reserve from Chapel Down based in Kent. Maybe it’s me getting patriotic as I get older but I do find myself searching for English wine, before I bite the bullet and order a New Zealand White these days. In truth the Bacchus is a fantastic glass ( or 3 ) of wine. So easy to drink. I remember thinking Hock was quite sophisticated. Geraldine and I would leave our tip at the beefeater and head straight to the off licence for Germany’s finest. Much better than that Piesporter rubbish we would argue as we bought our 2 litre bottle.

As I said the starters arrived and for a kitchen still finding it’s feet, my wings were a comfortable winner. Granted a tad messy, though that could have been down to the pup eating them as opposed to the supplier. Napkins were in abundance just in case of any accidents. Fortunately I kept my food mostly in or around my trap. Her indoors thoroughly enjoyed the Brisket. Presentation was excellent as was the taste and texture. Her only point of complaint, a touch more piccalilli wouldn’t have gone amiss. Head Chef Maria Tampakis had certainly mastered the art of a chicken wing. I’ve had a similar dish at Bread Street, under Chef Tampakis. I can promise you they aren’t like your average Pizza Hut side dish ( thank god ).

Our plates were removed and within a minute or so the main course was in front of us. This is great if you are in a hurry. If you aren’t as we most definitely wasn’t, it felt like we were being rushed. Understandable if the restaurant was heaving, but it had more than enough empty tables to warrant us a bigger space between courses. The starters were not small either, making the almost instant arrival of the mains a bit uncomfortable. I can only put this down to a new restaurant learning curve. Benefit of the doubt.

My dish was the Meat and Potato Pie. Just my non chefy observation but I think serving it on a skillet isn’t ideal. It feels like your main and side are two completely separate dishes. You are offered a third plate to devise your own main plate but I’m not sure it works. I can’t argue with a top chef over how food should look or be served but as a customer it could be re-thought. As for the taste, it was a cross between nice and lovely. Better than homely, but not ball out of the park stuff. Fractionally bland I found it. Definite improvements could be made on that one. Maybe I’m just spoilt and expect too much.

Mrs. R had chosen the Pork Belly dish. When ordering she had decided on a side dish of mash. It’s the Irish in her. Loves a spud. She chose me after all ( joke ). The chap serving us explained that the plate came served on a sweet potty toe mash. The look on her face when it arrived was very much one of disappointment. It was very much a purée ( or as the good lady put it, a posh spoon drag) as opposed to a mash. Along with some Brussels/Lardons and Carrots, Geraldine’s meal comprised of two huge ( emphasis on the huge ) slices of Pork and a bit of veg. Bit of a let down.

The Pork was like two house bricks. In fairness it was lovely but it was literally ( lots of ) meat and two veg. The crackling on top however was out of this world. As there was too much for one I offered my services and while cackling took crackling. It was divine. My favourite crackling of the year! I should also mention that the vegetables were delicious. I mean they were cooked and flavoured to perfection. You’d think that’s a given at this level but not necessarily.

Between our mains and dessert to give ourselves a breather of sorts we had a chat with one of the managers on the floor. A true gent. He probably spent the best part of 10-15 minutes with us. We just generally discussed his own career, the trials of restaurant management, how we booked, why we were there, our thoughts on the evening , both good and bad etc etc..

He also gave us a sample of Branca Menta. What an after dinner sup this baby is. An Italian version of Creme De Menthe. If what I have read is true then it was first produced in the 1960’s. Inspired by the opera singer Maria Callas. Before each performance the star would supposedly drink a glass of Fernet Branca with a touch of mint syrup. This eventually led to the production of Branca Menta. Less alcohol, more mint, more sugar.

When our desserts did arrive, along with a small “happy anniversary” plate, we were not disappointed. GR had the Bread n Butter Pudding with cinnamon. It was incredible. Both wifey and I tasted it. Her opinion was that the base was pain au chocolat. Anyone help us out on this? Either way it was the best of the three courses. I went for the Vanilla Cheesecake. Fully agree with wifey on this. The desserts were stand outs of the evening. The mulled berry compote added an extra dimension. I could have eaten it twice over ( if I had the room ). The special plate was like a brownie. Extremely rich. Luxurious chocolate. Lovely with my Irish coffee.

Sadly like everything, all good things must come to an end. Finishing the smoothest of Irish coffees we paid the bill. ( £156 ). That’s probably the cheapest I’ve ever paid at a Rammo restaurant. A win double. I like his new “kitchens”. Long may it continue. Overall, a cracking evening. Great company ( as always ), and very enjoyable food. Minor issues need ironing out but otherwise a winner.

Verdict:
Atmosphere : 8/10

Service : 7.5/10 ( hurried but early doors, top Manager though )

Food: 7.9/10 ( no idea how I came to a .9 but 7.5 wasn’t enough, and 8 was just too much. It had only been open for a week so maybe I’m being harsh but I have to mark it how I see it or what’s the point )

Hope you’ve enjoyed reading it. If anyone has!..
Next time up Merchants Tavern.

The Social Life Pt 3 – Little Social

“The Social Life Part 3”.. Little Social. Close encounters of the food kind.

So we arrive at the 3rd part of what could be, in good time, a quintet. Having not yet been to either Social Eating House or City Social for food there is definite room for expansion in the blogionary. Ok, I hold my hands up. I made that word up, but if you ever find it in the Collins English Dictionary, remember where you heard it first. Now, before I break into my usual drivel and barge through the restaurant in question like a cat with a washing line peg on its tail, I must raise a glass to an absolutely awesome website/app.

If you are ever struggling to find a place to eat in London, ( or anywhere else for that matter ), I really have to recommend OpenTable. Great service and so simple to use. It was through OT that I managed to get both Berners Tavern and Little Social booked. I was amazed they had spare tables, let alone at times that suited me and at such a late stage. Anyway my point is, if you’re unsure of where to eat, try it. It’s a winner!

Right, let me take you back a bit. Background stuff. My sister-in-law Aine had tickets for Sunday Night At The Palladium. Earth Wind and Fire were on, as was Hal Cruttenden, Maroon 5, the superb ventriloquist Nina Conti, the cast of Evita and as an added bonus, Jason Manford was hosting. As they were freebies and we’d never been before it would have been rude not to accept the invitation. Even if we were 2nd choice, last minute afterthoughts as her friends dropped out.

I’m not sure whether to take it as a compliment or not really. We always get asked late in the day. People tend to have the attitude of “well they ain’t got kids, so they’ll have bugger all to do on a Sunday night” ( maybe true ). It could just be that we aren’t likeable and are asked at a last ditch attempt to make up the numbers. Possibly both. Who knows. In all honesty I would say that her indoors has all the right ingredients to be good entertainment on a night out. I tend to be slightly more downbeat. If we were the O2 advert I would be the cat and the wife a dog. That doesn’t quite sound how it was intended!..the point being wifey is most definitely in the half-full glass category, whereas I tend to be more, the glass broke and now its in pieces and dry, but as it broke a piece of glass landed in my shoe. I cut my foot, stained my socks in blood and now I’m limping around like a 3 legged badger.

I’m sure I was going somewhere with this…..

Arriving at the Palladium we were in good seats and was treated to an excellent show. One of the highlights was Magdalena Alberto. The leading lady in the new Evita musical. Her voice made your hairs stand on end. Incredible performance. This led to me booking tickets for the aforementioned show at the Dominion Theatre. Seemed like a good idea at the time.

On the Wednesday before we were due to go, I whipped open the iPad And had a quick butchers on the OpenTable website. As the tickets for Evita were Saturday matinee time it meant I had a good excuse to book us up a bit of grub afterwards. Happily ( for me, not so much for my bank balance ) the site showed availability at Little Social for 18.15. Without a seconds thought for my receding bank funds I booked us in. Well, you can always get a comb over. Tickets booked, table booked, result!

November 1st duly arrived and off Geraldine and I went London bound. I won’t lie. Watching Evita, It was hard work. If you were to ask me the history of Argentina, I would have thought you meant the TOWIE bloke and his new lady friend. Of course the story centres on Eva Peron and her rise from a poor home to become 1st lady of Argentina before her death at a very young age. She was Argentina’s Princess Di.

Don’t get me wrong, Ms Alberto was still fantastic and it’s not down to the cast that I couldn’t get into the whole kit and kaboodle but the bottom line is as fascinating as it was, I got bored. ” Don’t Cry For Me Argentina ” was the undoubted highlight of a show that I wouldn’t rush back to. Maybe that’s my lack of enthusiasm towards the country’s culture and history as opposed to it not being an extremely good play. If it had been about the history of Argentinian steak or Malbec wine, well that’s another story..

When the show finished we headed over to Monmouth Street via the same street twice as we got lost. Why does my wife insist that she knows where she is going when it’s blatantly obvious she has no idea. I thought that was a male trait. How we ended up going directly to Monmouth street from Tottenham Court Road via half of the streets in Soho I will never know. Thankfully, and now pretty swiftly, shop found, shoes purchased. Happy wifey.

Time was ticking on now and it was approaching reservation time. It didn’t help that I was starving. Being the impatient bugger that I am I insisted on hailing a cab. Even this was slightly shambolic. After ten pints some would argue, correctly that I cannot speak clearly and precisely. At 6pm after being in a theatre show however, I would beg to differ. Sadly our cab driver might disagree. Pulling up in Poland Street. I was a trifle confused. After a quick exchanging of words, the driver raised his eyebrows as if to say “oh you mean PO-LL-EN STREET “… Yes I did. The same one that I mentioned when we got in the cab. Fortunately for us the distance between the two roads is minimal and so after crossing Regent Street we pulled up at the bottom end of Pollen Street. Again our cabbie expressed his delight at finding the correct road despite my poor pronunciation. Well done you!

Arriving outside the restaurant on time felt like a real achievement, ok we were a minute or two late but I was looking forward to this. I slipped in through the curtain while Geraldine finished her after shop cigarette. Greeted by a lovely young lady who took my coat, I took a seat and ordered a cocktail. I did say this once before, whoever created the “Poire Quoi” cocktail, you sir deserve a serious round of applause. It was a little glass of liquid heaven. To have the imagination and creativity to come up with a drink that luxurious, is true talent.

I think the best way to describe the restaurant itself is cosy. Cosy but I love it!.. The decor suits the space perfectly. Not too dark so that you can’t see but low enough to make it very intimate. A little background music adds to the atmosphere. It’s supposed to be different from its big brother across the road and there’s no doubt it is. Both are relaxing venues but you were made to feel like you could chuck your shorts on and roll your beach towel out here. In all honesty you’d struggle to roll out a tea towel so take that previous sentence with a pinch of salt! I just loved the homely feel of the place.

Seated at the far end of the room next to the wines ( happy enough ), we ordered our food and a bottle of Croatian wine. Big thanks to head sommelier Zainab for her recommendation. It was a real quality drink. It was a Malvazija from Kozlovlic. Might try and hunt that kiddie down. Our starter arrived and her indoors had gone out on a limb going for the Warm Smoked Eel. I chose the Violino Pumpkin Soup with Slow Cooked Egg. I’m trying to not go overboard about these courses but the smell and taste of my soup was out of this world.

It gets my vote for best starting course of the year. I just don’t know how these guys do it. Honestly, if I had to eat another dish again before I pop my clogs it would be that starter. Although I would ask chef Docherty to make it into a dish big enough to fill a bath. That way I get a bit longer on the mortal coil. Wifey was salivating over her Eel dish, suggesting it was the best starter also proclaiming it to be her favourite dish in ages. Well, if you are going to have an argument over food, at least make sure it’s the best food eh!.. After 5 minutes of gabbling over whose dish was best, Geraldine had the final say. ” they are both the best “.. Who said blondes are daft!

Going back to the wine choice, if you ever asked me to choose a country where they make a great wine, I don’t think I’d magic up Croatia. It’s a bit like asking who is your favourite member of the Muppets and answering “Pepe The King Prawn “… Of course if your favourite muppet is Pepe then you have my apologies!.. It really was an awesome bottle of wine. That’s why we ordered a second one.

When the main courses appeared we had a tough decision to make. Who had what!.. Geraldine had chosen the Braised Irish Ox Cheek with Roasted Marrowbone. My own choice was the Cumbrian Bavette ( I know the area but not the cut of meat ), with a side order called Poutine. What a strange but interesting dish. I’m not really sure what it’s perfect pairing would be but it goes lovely with Cumbrian Bavette. It’s obviously the Little Socials take on it, but regardless it was decker to the Bavettes double. I would comfortably give this my main dish of the year if it wasn’t for the fact that I don’t eat fish very often, ( see Berners Tavern ).

We both had a try of each dish. As much as I loved the Ox Cheek, there was no contest. This food was on another level and I don’t mean it was served on Dane Bowers. The only way it could have been better is if it was served on a deserted beach in the Indian Ocean by a meerkat ( I love meerkats ). You just couldn’t fault it. As I get older I dearly wish I had learned the art of being in some way a decent chef, actually a remotely half sensible cook would be nice. I make a mean potty wedge but my limits are drawn there. Talking of which, why do sweet potatoes have a tendency to stick to your teeth?

Dessert was a conservative order. We went for the Apple Tarte Tatin with ice cream ( two share ). I think that’s why I’m getting confused about the last course. I thought I had this at Berners but.. I know we had it at Little Social. Amar De Dout!.. If I had to describe the dessert ( the general idea of a review ), I would use three words. Amar De Dout. I have no idea what they mean, if anything, but it was cracking. If you really want a negative, a splash more ice cream would have been peachy but that would be being exceptionally harsh. It was a dish of delight.

I should also add that the service from all the members of staff was first class. If people do have a bad experience in a Social restaurant then I’m shocked. It’s never failed to deliver for me. Overall it was just about one of the best meals I’ve eaten. I’m not including the wife’s Sunday roast obviously.

Marks out of 10:

Ambience : 10

Service : 10

Food : 9.5 ( literally I’m knocking half a mark off for the lack of ice cream )

Summary: I need to work harder, to earn more, so I can go back sooner rather than later. Amazing chef-er-y. Awesome sommelier. Incredible cocktail. Out of this world, full stop!

Berners Tavern

“The Social Life Take 2”

The following week. It’s my sisters 50th. She doesn’t look it in fairness. In fact I’d go as far as to say she doesn’t look a day over 38. She wanted to go to a high end restaurant. Somewhere with a buzz. One of these trendy places that you read about in the magazines. My sister , lets call her Sharon ( it is her name after all ), has never really done the fine-dining thing. For quite a few years working in the city, she had always knocked back invites to here there and everywhere with the odd exception, sacrificing Nights out for going home to the kids, which is fair enough. Here she was at 50, now ready to dip her tiny toe into the water… And good for her I say!

Well, you’re only 50 once right!… So as part of my birthday present to her We, that’s the wife and I, agreed to foot the bill for a meal out somewhere. My brother and his wife would also join us for the celebration. The last part of the equation being exactly where to take her. I love my sister dearly but she is the sort of girl that likes her steak well done… And some.

Still, I’m up for a challenge, and this one consisted of finding a restaurant that’s very much on the hot list of places to go, had a varied menu, and most importantly of all, serves great food. Having been to Pollen Street the week before, the Atherton group of restaurants were at the forefront of my mind. I’ve never been to places like The Wolesley, The Delauney, or Hawksmoor, but I’ve read reviews and magazines etc etc. They all sound stonkingly good and after studying the menu were all in the running.

I also needed to find a restaurant with flavours to compliment my sisters own palate.
Well, we have already covered how she likes her steak. Her main beef ( no pun intended ), is the blood. If there is any inkling of blood it will go straight back to the kitchen. I wouldn’t mind seeing my 5ft tall sibling going toe to toe with Rammo over her rare to medium steak. Beware Gordon, she might be small but she has a serious bite on her!

Fish is a definite no-go. I think the closest my sister has got to fish is visiting Sea World. I’m kidding. We just aren’t big fish eaters.. We obviously get our fussy food genes from my mothers side. My aunt ( our mums sister just for the record ), once tore a strip off of a chef just for having the nerve to sprinkle parsley onto a plain omelette!

Anyway, after much deliberation, I went for the selfish option. It’s certainly one of THE places to go , but admittedly it was of my choosing. Checking on Open Table, I was quite shocked that, The Berners Tavern had a reservation available for 3:30pm. Opened to rave reviews in 2013 it was a restaurant I was seriously looking forward to visiting. I just hoped that my sister Sharon would embrace the experience and enjoy it. She deserved the best day possible.

Very quick history lesson here. The Berners Tavern is situated inside the London EDITION Hotel, part of the “hip” subsidiary of the Marriott hotel group. Formerly the Berners Street Hotel in the Fitzrovia area of London, through the vision of Ian Schrager it has been transformed into an unbelievable place to stay, with prices to match I might add. The hotel, once five townhouses has been the living quarters of some seriously wealthy and notable people in the past including Carl Faberge and King Edward VII. It is also famous for the ” Berners Street Hoax ” in 1810. The street that is, not the hotel.

The position of the hotel, just a bit further down from the exclusive Sanderson Hotel ( also designed by Schrager ), will certainly make the road one of the most popular choices for the wealthy tourists of the world. I would suggest it could be interesting to see how each hotel compares with the competition.

Lets continue shall we. We arrived in good time. After a cheeky half, in one of the backstreet pubs, the four of us mooch down to our destination. Opting to enter through the hotel entrance as opposed to the restaurant, it genuinely took my breath away. With luxurious green sofas and a giant egg for a chandelier, it was opulent, but not totally in your face. Understated class. Then again if you pay for the best, in theory you get the best. They say first impressions count. My thinking was bloody awesome choice Mr. Rolls. It has to be said that all four us were extremely smiley as we chose a cocktail from the extensive list available.

Like I said, if it were solely about first impressions the The Berners Tavern would win every award going. What an incredible venue to eat in. The high ceilings, all the paintings, the sheer theatre of it all cannot be underestimated. As we made our way into the restaurant and found ourselves seats at the bar the birthday girl was grinning from ear to ear. So far so good!. After a second cocktail, the Vintage Vesper ( well someone has to try them ), we were shown to our booth almost in the centre of the room. I cannot repeat enough the jaw – dropping scale of this room.

Seated and comfortable, we ordered a nice Chenin Blanc; if memory serves me correctly. Now the difficult bit. Ordering food. I have no idea what the chaps name was who was looking after us. Scrap that, he is a Mr. Chris Bakowski. I will say this though, he was absolutely brilliant. I’ve been to places before when it’s frowned upon if you don’t know your Omelette from your ostrich. I don’t know why but I never expect to be served by someone who sounds just like me, or who looks as ruffled in a suit; coincidentally just like me. Talk about how to make people feel relaxed. What an absolute star he was. To try and explain to all of us what half the ingredients in the dishes were, was a task in itself. He tackled it with confidence and wit. Superb managerial tact.

My sister, went for the safe option as a starter. The Berners Tavern Chopped Salad with Chicken. My newly wed SIL ( sister-in-law ) chose the Pumpkin Risotto, while both my brother and I took a shot at the Potato & Chicken Broth. The salad must have been delicious as it’s very rare for big sis to be quiet for more than five minutes. I’m joking, I’m joking!..She even pushed the boat out tasting the jus. Go Girl! I thoroughly enjoyed my broth as did my sibling Kev. The Risotto went down a treat. Certainly a good start.

The newly weds decided to twin up on their mains both having the Roasted Goosnargh Chicken with Bacon and Mashed Potato. I opted for the Cornish Cod. Wow Wow Wow! Without doubt the finest main course I have had this year. I’m not a huge aficionado when it comes to our sea bearing morsels but this baby would take some beating. Melt in your mouth stuff, just serious chef-er-y ( yes I made that up I think ) at its highest level. The taste matched the look, and believe me it looked pretty scintillating.

Sharon went for the Romney Marsh Lamb and devoured it, along with a side order of chips. In her own words it was ” better than Burger King ” she mocked. You gotta love a back handed compliment. Mr. Bakowski done a secondary check to make sure all was well. Sharon replied with something like ” this is amazing thank you “. Definitely the wine was having an effect. Along with the Pimms and cocktails as we were all feeling a little tipsy.

Talking of which we ordered a 2nd bottle of vino, a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Lovely it was too. It was dessert time. Sweeeeet!… Or not. Sadly as a person who writes without the assistance of any John O’Groats ( notes ), having waited 6 weeks to write this I now can’t remember for the life of me what my sister and I ate. I do however recall that my SIL had a coffee. Old school normal coffee. Not a mocha, cappuccino or latte in sight.

There was some confusion over our last course, maybe that’s why I haven’t a scooby over what I had. First off we recieved four plates. Then a waitress took two away. Then the other two. Then brought two back. It was a little comical really. I’ve no idea what the problem was but after a short period of two young ladies discussing the predicament it was all sorted and our final course arrived. Looking back I think one dessert was ready but the other was still in the development area backstage. Confusion reigned supreme …for all of five minutes.

Peaches, Sharon ate peaches of some form and I went down the apple route. Cheers for reminding me of the desserts sis.. I had to ring and ask the other 3 folk present as I simply cannot remember. An apple tarte tatin I think it was although hand on heart I couldn’t say for sure, and I was a very happy little eater. I wish I could remember the names, ingredients etc etc more clearly but cocktails, wine, and beer eventually took their toll. Probably another reason, I’m not a good reviewer! Gets drunk, can’t remember what he ate ( or drank ), … Actually I sound perfect for the job!

Once the meal was over, we grabbed our coats and fluffy bob-tailed it towards Leicester Square, diving back to collect a forgotten umbrella, to meet my good lady who was partaking in a ghostly walk of London.

There you have it. Berners Tavern in one fell swoop. Two down, one to go. For the record, marks out of 10:

Ambience/Atmosphere = 10

Service = 8.5

Food = 9.5 ( main course/starters both deserve 10s though )

See you at Little Social.