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

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Supper last night with the glorious Petra Barran ( she of Chocstar fame
) who has finally seen sense and moved from the wastelands that are
West London to the civilised environs of fashionable SOSHO. Good for her.

Well, Hawksmoor is quickly becoming our bar de choix so where better to
meet? On entering, I was collared by Nick Strangeway, the don of UK
cocktail making and generally known as " The Guv'nor" and plied with excellent scotch.

As the picture shows, he was in mid tasting with the estimable John
Glaser, founder of Compass Box Whisky ( ) and
seemed more than happy to share the love and let me make insightful
comments like "that's quite soapy"

Amazing stuff and well worth looking out for. Certainly filled the time
until the pathologically late Ms B deigned to swirl in with some lame
excuses about having to "speak to mummy"

Anyway, it was only the shortest of walks to supper at The Tabernacle
Bar & Grill.

I had only ever set foot in the place once before and then, after being
studiously ignored by the staff for about 15 mins despite the place
being empty, I slunk out vowing never to set foot in there again.

The menu has, to this point, always looked like identikit SOSHO blah
and I have felt no inclination to give them my money to try it.

However, during some recent net research ( we do it so you don't have
to ) I saw that they have changed the menu to a vaguely Italian style
and had an offer through top table. So why not?

Well, only one other table had decided to take them up on the offer and
the small dining room looked pretty forlorn but the service was
welcoming and the food better than I expected and certainly a surprise give
that I had always assumed the bar to be a delivery system for gassy beers
to young Hoxtonites.

The TopTable offer includes a half bottle of house wine which, you just
know was never going to happen. So we went off piste with a couple of
glasses of Prosecco and a bottle of passable Chianti.

Shamefully, they charged £2.00 for olives which, while decent were
hardly worth the price. Even more so, £1.90 for lousy bread had me
thinking we were on a fast train to "ripoff land"

Fortunately, the meal, when it came, showed some real ability in the
open kitchen and some decent ingredients.

A starter risotto with Berkshire pork hock, borlotti beans and chestnut
gremolata was much better than the unlikely combination sounds and I
helped polish it off on top of my own salad of charred black leg pork
with smoked duck and capers.

Main courses both carried a supplement in the case of an " Aged
Galloway Ribeye" it was £3.00 which was about fair for a good piece of meat,
served with golden beetroot and watercress. It came a little less rare
than Ms B had requested but tasted rather good. Better in fact than my
char grilled lamb with caponata which, while nice and pink was also
nice and swamped with the sauce.

Petra is pathological about a few things. One of them, given her
calling, is that she feels obliged to order chocolate where ever it may be
and so did. We shared a chocolate and almond brownie with vanilla ice
cream. She prodded at it professionally like a coroner prodding a
cadaver. I was " in my cups by then" so I can't recall what she made of it.

The bill was pumped up both by our ( er, my ) determination to drink to
excess ( I am not a happy man ) and by some shameful extra charges for
bread, olives and supplements which added another £10.

So, £95 for two which is depressingly becoming the average these days.

All in all. Not bad, better than my prejudices had led me to expect
but probably not worth the best part of a ton on a regular basis.
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