"It's not much but it's ours"

Thursday, February 16, 2006



So, Hermano Primero was celebrating his "herhumpherhumph" birthday and, as is our tradition, it was my turn to take him out for supper.

In the past few years, we have tried such places as The Square, Roussillon, Rules, Foliage and The Capital. Tonight, we decided to go "old school" and try The Goring in Victoria.

I must be on some kind of roll. Usually, for every five places I have visited, one of them would be so bad, I would rather put my balls in a bath of acid than go there again. However, the last few places have all been, well, rather good.

I arranged to meet big bruv in Balls Bros on Buckingham Palace Rd. When I arrived, it was packed to the gunwhales with people who live in Clapham, so I scurried quickly on to The Goring and found a seat in the splendid bar.

Immediately, you realise that this is "through the looking glass people" cosseting, comforting, service that went out of style 30 years ago and all the better for that. As I waited, I ordered a martini not quite on point. A little too vigerously shaken and filled with ice shards, but not too unwelcome. A very large plate of snackages were placed in front of me so I had plenty to occupy me while I waited.

HP arrived soon after and, after he caught up in the martini stakes, we ordered a bottle of Ruinart to sip on while we had yet another plate of snacks. All the while, the service remained spot on and on the ball. Perfect.

For the first time in about 20 years, we took our menus in the bar and ordered while we drank. The menu was truly traditional, but you just knew it was going to be good. They offer three courses for £44 and two courses for £37. Pricey, but with a lot of choice and, rarely in London, tagged with very few supplements.

Soon, we pottered off to the dining room. Recently refurbished, it was a bit "Santa's Grotto-ish" but we were taken to a lovely table in the corner where, looking at the punters, it was clear we were the youngest diners by some 15 years.

No amuse here, Thank God. If I never see a foaming cup of funghi again as long as I live, I will be more than happy. So, straight to the starters. Big Bruv ordered a glazed Lobster Omlette which, while not up to Gary Rhodes standard., was creamy and delicious. I got the better of the deal with sublimely fried whitebait with a tartar sauce so good, I got them to bring the dish of it back and leave it at the table.

While we ate this, we polished off the Ruinart.

Then to the main courses. The special of the day was Beef Wellington. How could HP resist? He could not. Me, I went beefwards also and ordered steak. Why the heck not?

While, mine was good, very good in fact and served with crunchy, crispy chips, a boat of bernaise and a fiery horseradish sauce. The Big man's was so much better. First of all, the trolley was rolled up and the cloche opened. Then the perfectly made Wellington was sliced and served ( including the end bit which HP demanded they gave him ) It was right up there. With a perfect duxelle, it was everything a wellington should be

The sommelier suggested a laungedoc Les Caillas to go with our meal and, while I found it a bit tanic, it still served its purpose well, and for £32 from the House selection ( which included Riscal Gran Reserva @ £38 ) was a bit of a steal.

Puddings were equally antideluvian (sp?) with HP enjoying a ginger pudding with ice cream and me diving headfirst into a martini glass filled with a well made sherry trifle.

Coffee and petits later, we were presented with a bill for £212 inc service. Hardly a steal, but for food this solid and service this good, I have no problem.

A short walk and a cab ride later, we arrived at Casa Hermanos Grossos where I presented HP with his b'day gift.

Suffice to say, we both think The Larry Sanders Show is the finest piece of TV in living memory and, if we could have finished the evening with a Salty Dog,ahem, we would have both have been very happy

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