How often does one have the opportunity to dine together at a single long set for 63 guests? Fellow Gastronomes were indeed privileged to experience this most exciting and convivial of dining experiences when attending our annual Grouse Supper. With stunning views over Green Park, the magnificent first floor dining room at the Cavalry and Guards Club was the setting for this traditional event that is firmly established in our calendar.
Kindly hosted by Club Secretary and Past President David Cowdery, members and their guests enjoyed a wonderful 4-course menu accompanied by carefully selected wines. Following a reception of champagne and canapés, members were then invited to move into the dining room where the magnificence of the aforesaid dining table awaited them.
The meal started with a fish course of Kiln Smoked Salmon with Samphire & Saffron Dressing. The delicately smoked salmon filet was amply balanced by the saltiness and subtlety of the Samphire and Saffron sauce.
It was served with Macon Uchizy, Domaine Talmard 2013 . This white burgundy has an attractive golden hue and on the nose dried flowers, honey and beeswax. The finish was very full and attractive and full of finesse and elegance – a perfect foil for the opening course.
Kiln Smoked Salmon with Samphire & Saffron Dressing
The main event was, of course, the Roast Grouse. As anticipated it
was served in the “proper” English manner: A whole grouse, served with roast
potatoes, cauliflower cheese and braised
red cabbage, and garnished with game chips, bacon, and watercress. What a feast
to the eyes – and to the taste buds! The grouse itself was cooked to
perfection, being full of flavour, moist and with plenty of meat on the
breast.The selection of Chateau
Bernadotte, Haut-Medoc 2009 was indeed inspired. On the palate, it
was a very classic choice, with a robust style, ripe tannins with evident fruit
and a finish that stays fresh and punctuated by liquorice and elegant oak
Roast Grouse, Roast Potatoes, Cauliflower Cheese and Braised Red Cabbage
To counter-balance this rich main course, the dessert was
(of necessity!) both light and citrusy.
The Lemon & Lime Flan with Crème Fraiche and a Limoncello Jelly was all
of this – and more! The sweet-sharpness
of the lemon and lime was enhanced by the addition of the intensity of the
limoncello. It was served with a Muscat
de Beaumes-de-Venise 2011 This is a
wonderfully refreshing and finely-balanced pudding wine, enticingly different
in style to the majority of wines of this type.
Lemon & Lime Flan with Crème Fraiche and a Limoncello Jelly
As a fitting finale we enjoyed the traditional savoury of a
Cheese Soufflé with Mustard
Coffee and Petits Fours were served with the Club Port Fonseca
Bin 27. This has a deep and
youthful ruby colour, with an intense, fruity nose crammed with blackberry,
cassis, cherry and plum aromas and a luscious, velvety texture.
Serge Pradier, President Réunion des Gastronomes closed the
evening by formally thanking Head Chef Paul Farmer and his team for their
hospitality, leading us with a rousing “Santé du Chef et Service” for making
this such an enjoyable and amicable evening.
The President’s charity draw – for Westminster Kingsway
College to assist any hospitality students as they felt appropriate during the
course of their studies – benefited from a generous donation of nearly £400. The prize was donated my Matthew Rivett of
The Oriental Club.
Andrew Etherington FIH