DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS: A GOODMAN/ O'SHEA/HERDERMAN/WRIGHT BROS JOINT
It all started out as a vague thought in my head as I spent a lazy afternoon in Los Angeles wistfully pondering on all the things I missed most about living in London. There were enough things on the list to fill a sizeable pamphlet including a decent pint and a pork pie. However, very near the top of the pile were the words
“A proper Sunday lunch”
As they do for so many in the UK, a traditional Sunday lunch takes on an almost mythical status when it comes to the favourite dining experiences of Dos Hermanos. When I called London home, few weekends passed without one of DH slamming a large joint of meat in the oven to be accompanied when ready, with heaving plates of vegetables and serenaded by the music of plopping corks.
Lord how I missed a proper Sunday lunch.
My mind also turned to thoughts of “Dine With Dos Hermanos”, our now legendary series of dining events created for no other purpose than to bring large groups of people together to have a damn good time at damn good restaurants. In the five years since they were no more than a twinkle in our eye, they have grown from occasions involving a handful of people to ones that now attract hundreds of requests for tickets.
I knew I was due back in London for a week or so in June and decided, in an all too rare bout of genius, to combine one with the other. However, if we were going to put the DWDH moniker on the Sunday lunch, it could not just be any Sunday lunch, it had to be THE BEST SUNDAY LUNCH EVER.
It was a bold attempt and I knew it would take a special kind of restaurant to make it happen. I shot off an e-mail to the one person I knew would be up to the task, David Strauss of Goodman Steakhouse, without doubt the best GM in the capital. He responded immediately and positively, his only caveat being that if he was going to open the restaurant on a Sunday we would have to promise to fill it.
We were talking about 75+ places here folks and, although the previous events have been a success, this was a huge leap up both in ambition and numbers. But, faint heart never won a fair meal, so I set about using my limited social media skills and the latest DWDH was soon announced on Facebook, Twitter and the blog. I expected a strong response but, nowhere near the deluge of e-mails that began to flood in minutes after the event was announced.
In all we received nearly 750 requests for tickets. Easily the largest response we have ever experienced. There was only one thing for it and that was to write all the names down and pick them from a hat. It seemed the most fair way and I can only apologies to those whose names were not selected.
Between the announcement and the big day, David Strauss and John Cadieux of Goodman went to work talking to their suppliers. If you are going to have the best Sunday lunch, ever, you are going to need the best ingredients and they did not let me or the lucky attendees down.
When I arrived shortly before the event was due to start, the director of Wright Brothers was busy shucking fresh and meaty Maldon Oysters to welcome people as they arrived. Not a bad way to start the meal and even better with an accompanying glass of Prosecco or a strong Bloody Mary.
Next up, as we took our seats, the fantastic staff of Goodman, who had come in on a day when the restaurant is normally closed, began to place large plates of smoked salmon and smoked eel on each of the table. One glimpse at the picture of thick strips of densely coloured salmon will tell you that this is no ordinary fish and indeed as it was described to us by its producer, the incomparable Frank Herderman, the rich, creamy flesh with its light salt cure and subtle smoky flavour was even more appreciated.
Then it was on to the main event and John and his team of willing chefs carried up colossal joints of beef, legs of lamb and shoulders of pork to be received with awe by the crowd before being sliced up into huge chunks to be served family style. I have always loved the beef from O’Shea, but DH have long been telling people just how astonishingly good his piggy flesh is too, Well, those who were with us today will need no further convincing. The lamb too was described to me more than once as a “revelation” and all of the joints had been cooked to perfection in Goodman’s Josper Grills.
As large plates carrying slabs of meat were placed on each table, so too were bowls of creamy cauliflower cheese, roasted carrots, roast potatoes and of course, teetering mounds of glistening Yorkshire puddings. From the noises coming from each table it appeared as if the DH attempt to make this the best Sunday lunch ever might just be accomplished, particularly as the staff made sure that every glass was topped off every time it looked like someone had taken a sip.
After the main course, of course, comes pudding and special praise must go to whoever was in charge of the Sherry trifle making duties. There were no mere trifles, filled as they were with sharp, fresh berries and topped off with cream and toasted almonds. I heard more than one person (including, I believe Hermano Primero) utter the words “I don’t usually like trifle” before plunging the serving spoon deep into the bowls for yet one more helping.
Add this to a final gut busting plate of cheese and a snifter of Marsala wine and all I can say is that if this wasn’t the best Sunday lunch of all times, I bloody hope to be invited to the one that is.
Huge thanks must be shouted out from Dos Hermanos to everyone who made this remarkable event possible.
To David Strauss and John Cadieux for their efforts and good humour in the execution of this Herculean task.
To Dino Joannidies for suggesting I use Eventbrite to collect payment.
To all the team at Goodman, front and back of house, who confirmed why I believe these restaurants offers the best service in London.
To Wright Bros, Frank Herderman and Darragh O’Shea for proving on a daily basis that we have some of the best ingredients on the planet and should shout about them to foreigners whenever possible.
To James Day for most of the decent images in today's post.
And, last of all to everyone who came along to help me fulfill my one simple aim of enjoying “THE BEST SUNDAY LUNCH EVER”. Even if you think we didn’t quite get there, I hope the list below of what 75 of us managed to consume will at least support our claim to have got pretty damn close.
7 Bottles of Vodka
18 Bottles of Prosecco,
24 Bottles of Chardonnay
60 Bottles of Malbec
6 Bottles of Marsala
400 Maldon Oysters
30Kgs Smoked Salmon & Eel
90kgs Pork/Lamb & Beef
20kg Sherry Trifle
10kg of British Cheese
Roll on the next Dine With Dos Hermanos