A few years ago Gav and I started spending Christmas together at home. My parents live near Wakefield, his near Cardiff and trying to cram them both into the magical three day period from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day was hard work.
Some people will think that we’re a bit strange (Christmas is all about family time yeah?), but I don’t think there is anything more delicious than having your own way at Christmas. For us, this means getting up whenever we wake, opening presents, having fizz with our smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast, getting dressed, sauntering into town for a slap up meal at St Paul’s and an afternoon (& early evening) of drinking.
I do feel a bit bad knowing that people are working to serve me my dinner on Christmas Day, but they’d be working whether I turned up or not… and this year Gav also worked Christmas morning so I didn’t feel so bad.
Anyway, as Gav was working there wasn’t a lie in (despite the obligatory Christmas Day hangover)
and the fizz had to wait until he got back at 12.30. He then had a bit of a play with his new toy (a turntable to convert his vinyl into MP3’s) and we set off for dinner at about 1.30.
We had canapes and champagne in the bar area on arrival. They were pretty average in all fairness; a duck spring roll, a piece of bruschetta, smoked salmon and caviar blini and a mini Yorkshire stuffed with beef and gravy. Actually, the Yorkshire was tasty and Gav was happy to get bit of gravy down him (he was beginning to regret his pre-ordered choice of a fish main simply because of the lack of gravy).
We were then seated in the restaurant where our starters quickly arrived. I had the Pressed seabass and baby leek terrine, crayfish and dill salsa. It looked beautiful and was a light and delicate start to the meal.
Gav had the Jasmine tea smoked duck, wilted spinach and confit shallot salad. It was another impressive looking dish and he really enjoyed the lightly smoked duck.
Next came a soup course. It was winter vegetable and wasn’t anything to write home about… so there isn’t a picture and I won’t dwell on it any longer here.
Having a life long hatred of turkey, there was no chance that was going to be on my menu, so I went for the slow roasted fillet of beef, wild mushroom and shallot ragout, roasted chantenay carrots, fondant potato with a horseradish & thyme reduction. Beef was cooked through (when will I learn that slow roasted means NOT pink?!), but was good and tender. The mushroom and shallot ragout was tasty, as was the fondant potato. The side of veg was well cooked with a little crunch and I actually enjoyed the sprouts!
Gav had Pan fried fillet of brill, basil scented potato puree, sauteed asparagus, fennel caviar and herb cream and I must admit to being a bit jealous. The fish was perfectly cooked as was the baby asparagus which sill had a bit of bite to it. With three fillets on the plate it was a decent serving and Gav certainly wasn’t going to go hungry (although he did still mourn the lack of a gravy).
For desserts we decided to share a sweet and then share the cheeseboard so that we could each have the best of both worlds. We worked our way through the Assiette of desserts first. It was a selection of five mini desserts; a yule log, a chocolate brownie, a raspberry and white chocolate tart, a muffin type thing and a lovely, zingy lemon cheesecake. It was hardly a huge dish, and sharing it made it even lighter, but we did have the cheese to follow.
There were some decent slabs of Stilton, Brie and a Wensleydale (I think!). It wasn’t the best I’ve ever had; the brie wasn’t ripe and there weren’t enough crackers (why are there never enough crackers?!) but it was more than adequate.
We rounded the meal off with coffee but had half a bottle of red wine left (we’d ordered a red and a white) so we took it through to the bar area and proceeded to drink far too much before crawling home to bed.
What did you get up to?