DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS: DOWN AT THE OLD BULL & LAST
When we started Dos Hermanos nearly four years ago, neither HP nor myself ever imagined that it would be read by anyone but a handful of relatives and friends. It is both heartening and slightly scary to see how it has grown in that time and even more to note that we are rapidly approaching the 1000 post mark.
Just as unlikely has been the rapid growth of the food orgies that occur every couple of months under the banner DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS. The first one at Hawksmoor, nearly three years ago, attracted twelve hardy souls, the next a year or so later at New Tayyabs brought twenty people out of the woodwork. Earlier this year we had thirty people crammed into the small but perfectly formed dining room at Vinoteca and in June forty like-minded people ate more Jamon than Brindisa could have possibly bargained for.
Last night saw the latest DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS take place at the splendid Bull & Last in Highgate, recently nominated for the Time Out Gastropub of the Year 2009. The numbers were kept at forty, but with approaching 300 requests for places, it proved to be the most popular event to date.
There is a reason why these events seem to work so well and it ain’t nothing to do with DH. It’s to do with the generosity of the restaurants involved, the people who are kind enough to donate wine and other drinks and, of course the companies who offer up samples to fill the now legendary goody bags. Without their incredible good will none of these events would happen.
Ollie Pudney and his team at The Bull & Last came up trumps. The menu was ostensibly a “Best of British” to celebrate the end of my journey EATING FOR BRITAIN and from the moment we arrived to be greeted by Martinis care of Plymouth Gin, to the moment we left with the taste of Lancashire cheese and Compass Box Whisky lingering on our palates, I was reminded over and over again why DH rate The Bull & last so very highly.
We began with some superb canapés; Calves brains, Skate cheeks, Razor Clams and, best of all, steak tartare topped with a golden yellow quail egg yolk. Once we sat down, each course just topped the last. A starter of roast loin of hare came in a salad with sweet pumpkin sauce. It was matched by bottles of Original Ale donated by Badger in Dorset.
Next up, the main courses, Roast Mutton with a mashed potatoes and black cabbage and huge hands of pork with layers of crackling. Both seemed to be enjoyed by everyone and in the end, Joe and Zoe who looked after us so well had only bones to collect. We matched this with bottles of ESB donated by London’s finest, Fuller’s Brewery.Desserts were matched with award winning Jaipur IPA from Thornbridge Brewery in Derbyshire and both mini trifles and plates of gloriously chewy Eton Mess soon disappeared.
Those of you who read the blog regularly may recall that, earlier in the year, I headed up to The Ribble Valley to meet Bob Kitchen and his daughter Faye at Leagram Organic Dairy where, not only did I discover that there were three types of Lancashire Cheese, but that they also made a soft curd cheese that will change your life. Faye had been kind enough to send down slabs of “Tasty” Lancashire and enough curd cheese to feed an army and while we sipped on glasses of Peat Monster from Compass Box, Ollie contributed to the feast with oatcakes, damson jam and pickled grapes making it a stunning end to a stunning meal. Not bad value for £40 a head.
All I can tell you is that everyone seemed to have a great time and contributed to my belief that DINE WITH DH is something worthwhile and something we might just keep going for a while.
Oh, and of course, people left with those goody bags, stuffed to the gunwhales with all sorts of amazing stuff courtesy of the incredibly kind brands listed below (I hope I have not missed anyone out, but if I have forgotten anyone, please let me know)
The next event is at Bentley's on the 9th November. If you would like to come along, please join our group on Facebook.
P.S: All of the good photographs are courtesy of Niamh Shields at EAT LIKE A GIRL
Dos Hermanos would like to thank the following for making the latest event possible and such a huge success.
THE BULL & LAST
HALL WOODHOUSE BREWERY
COMPASS BOX WHISKY
LEAGRAM ORGANIC DAIRY
and, of course, we would also like to recognise the incredible generosity of the PR's and companies who supplied the following for the goody bags
LUSCOMBE ORGANIC DRINKS
TILDA BASMATI RICE
PENDERYN WELSH WHISKY
SHERE KHAN SAUCES
HALEN MON SALT
MAKE MINE A BUILDER'S