“What a great evening it was last night.  One of the best Grouse Suppers I have attended”

The annual Grouse Supper – always one of the most popular events in our gastronomic calendar – was this year held at the Savile Club, in Mayfair’s Brook Street.  Originally based in Savile Row, and called ‘The New Club’, its members gave it the ‘Savile’ moniker, one that has remained, despite a number of changes in location.

Members and guests met for pre dinner drinks in the club’s elegant Drawing Room on the ground floor, and enjoyed Devil’s Corner NV, a delicious Tasmanian sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay.  A magnificent imperial staircase swept us upstairs for dinner in the Ballroom, a stunning Louis XVI style room with a painted, vaulted ceiling.

President of the Réunion des Gastronomes, Wallace Vincent introduced himself and welcomed members and their guests. He introduced Trevor Robinson from the Savile Club, who was standing in for Julian Malone-Lee, the Club Secretary. Trevor welcomed the Réunion and explained that the club is thriving and has a waiting list for membership. In his opinion this is down to their fine chef – Michael James – and strong management, supported by good teams. 

Gastronome Paul Wenham, who had been instrumental in organising the evening, said Grace.   Wallace then invited members to introduce their guests. Wallace’s own guest, Paul Evans, had been voted a member of the Réunion by the committee earlier that day, so was presented with his badge and welcomed as a Gastronome. Paul is currently developing an MBA in Hospitality at Anglia Ruskin University.

The starter of Marinated Fillet of Salmon was served with a salad of endive, baby fennel and pickled radish.  The salmon was cooked to perfection, and the pickled radish added an interesting touch of sweetness to the salad.   It was paired with 2017 Eins Zwei Dry Riesling Trocken, Rheingau.  The citrus notes, perfect balance of medium body and polished acidity – with mineral freshness at the finish – provided the ideal match to cut through the inherent oiliness of salmon.

“What an utterly superb evening. Grouse (as winner) beyond superb”

The main course – and the star of the evening – was Pine Scented Grouse.  It was a triumph, and was beautifully presented, off the bone and neatly portioned, making it even easier to enjoy.  It was perfectly pink, tender, and served with fine, peppery haggis plus ‘neeps’ and ‘tatties’.  The Ninfa Colheita 2013 Barbosa Alentejo that accompanied the grouse had wonderfully intense red fruit flavours that carried through to a long finish, with a slightly peppery hint to complement the grouse. It was a sublime pairing.

At this stage the President proposed the Loyal Toast, and members then toasted their guests, John Cousins proposed a toast to country members, Vic Laws MBE toasted town members and Alison Frith, Vice President, toasted retired members.

“What an utterly stupendously evening”

Dessert was Baby Baked Alaska with gin steeped English strawberries and finished with angel’s hair. This was a brave move for so many guests, but one that was very well executed indeed, providing a delicious sweet indulgence.   It was paired with Oppenheimer Herrenberg Riesling Auslese 2015, Guntrum, Rheinhessen, fruity and light, with a very slight pétillance. It was most unusual for a Riesling and delivered a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity to match the rich dessert.

The final course – Chef’s Selection of Cheeses (Baron Bigod Brie, Cornish Yarg and Cropwell Bishop Stilton) was served at the perfect temperature.  It was presented with celery, grapes, fig chutney and a generous choice of cheese biscuits.  The Natural Sweet Mourvèdre 2014, Naude, Western Cape South African red was an inspired pairing. Slightly sweet, lighter than port, with balanced fruit and acidity, it was an interesting and unusual partner for the cheese course.

“Thank you for an awesome night”

Guest Brigid Coady, an award-winning author, whose debut novel was No One Wants to Be Miss Havisham, drew the raffleThe raffle prize was an overnight stay for two at The Principal in Russell Square and was won by James Platt – guest of Paul Wenham. He was also presented with a signed copy of Brigid’s novel.

The customary Santé des Chefs et Service was the close of a very memorable evening – one that had been thoughtfully planned, and created by excellent service, fine food and wine and a great host venue.

“Many thanks for a most enjoyable evening, in my opinion it was the best Grouse Supper ever”.

“A triumph!  Brilliantly organised and executed”.