Sunday, 20 December 2009

Fish, Wine, and a Jolly Good Time

I have never blogged about dinning experiences in restaurants as a) not sure I have experienced enough good food to compare and b) many others do the restaurant reviewing so well. Two or three times a year I undertake the fish extravaganza at my flat where a few join my wife and i for numerous fish courses accompanied by much lovely wine; last nights was quite unique. My wife was away for this one so I was joined by my boss and a work colleague and two fellow Chelsea green workers, one, Jimbo, whom is a director of top wine merchants Haynes, Hanson and Clark. Jim supplied the wine and until this dinner I hadn’t realised how real wine tasted.

We started our dinner with some fantastic wild south coast native oysters and a select few Maldon rock oysters. Both of these are just sublime, clean tasting with fantastic textures. With just a squeeze of lemon and a glass of 2002 vintage Pierre Vaudon the perfect start to any fish meal.

On the night a couple of the courses stood out for everyone. The first out was my home cured gravlax, cut slightly thick and accompanied by a horseradish and mustard cream sauce. They blended fantastically together and I was delighted with the outcome. Accompanied by a Sancerre Terre de Maimbray 2008, probably my favourite white of the evening, this course was enjoyed by all.


Of course as the night went on my cooking suffered due to blurred vision. However at this part of the night I was still running on all cylinders and my classic fish soup was just sublime and enjoyed by all. This dish has never been a favourite of mine but recently I ate at Racine on Knightsbridge and Henry Harris really inspired me with his fish soup that was absolutely delightful. Mine didn’t match his but it was very good. It is difficult to obtain the correct fish for this dish so I used red mullet, monkfish, conger and gurnard and served it with rouille and my only cheat of the night – shop bought croutons. Poured with this course was a Steinerrassen Riesling 2006.

After a short rest we moved onto grilled scallop with hazelnut and coriander butter (a Rick Stein recipe). The scallops I used were jumbo Scottish hand dived beauties that weighed over 120grms which is 4-5 times the size of your average scallop. The butter was beautiful, but maybe the scallops were not warmed enough. I underestimated their size and the failings of my grill. However, they tasted fabulous and the wine served, a 2006 Chablis Grand Cru Vaudesir was amazing.


My spaghetti vongole was a bit of a disaster. It tasted very nice but I was just too pissed to make the most of the spaghetti I had made earlier. Such a shame as it is one of my favourite dishes but you can’t win them all. Fortunately the 2003 Chabllis Grand Cru Clos saved the day as it was so fantastic it moved talk away from the poor course I had just served.


I clawed back some dignity with my John Dory en papillote which is cooked with cherry tomatoes, black olives and fine green beans. This is one of my all time favourite dishes and the simplicity of the dish compliments the delicate nature of the fillet. With the white wine finished we moved onto a couple of amazing reds. Firstly a 2004 Nuit-Saint-Georges 1er Cru Les Chaignots followed by the piste de resistance a 2001 Clos des Lambrays Grand Cru.


I suppose we should have been full by then but a huge amount of cheese, including and amazing pecorino with black and white truffles, and a bottle of port passed us by and then straight from the silverspoon cookbook four of us managed to consume a tiramisu at about 2:30 in the morning.

Almost forgot the final tipple that being the Syndicate 58/6 12 year old

Normally these parties are all about the fish but I am happy to say the wine took centre stage


  1. What a brilliant meal! You made me laugh about the pasta - I've done it many times. Been too pissed to cook the rest of the meal properly that is...

  2. Great write up Mat, sounds like a fantastic evening, which was the very limited supply wine?

  3. To be honest Paul i can't remember but when i see Jim on Tuesday i will find out. I do remember one came from a £4000 a case.

  4. Sounds like a brilliant meal. Great to see so much brilliant wine featuring in the post too.

  5. What an awesome evening. But never mind about the great looking scallops, incredible gravadlax or the "woopsy daisy" spaghetti.... I want to know more about your plates with the little squid design. They are brilliant.