Wednesday 21 September 2011

ETM Group - Bloggers Pub Crawl

Last week, I joined an interesting bunch including fellow bloggers, a food photographer and a wine sleuth for a rowdy night on the town. We were invited by the ETM Group to try out a selection of their wonderful and diverse pubs and bars across town, for what we affectionately nicknamed The Posh Pub Crawl. Pretty hardcore for a Wednesday! Our hosts and hostesses for the evening really looked after us, including Jessica from the ETM Group and Rebecca & Stuart from Roche Communications PR.

First stop was the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms in Barbican. This recently opened bar/restaurant was definitely my favourite place of the night. A lovely bright space, with modern yet classic interior design and a vibrant, upmarket atmosphere. Whether you want breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner, or just a drink, it ticks all the boxes.

We were spoilt with cocktails and canapes including leek & wild mushroom tarts; quails eggs with truffled duxelle (whatever that is); smoked eel & horseradish; king scallops with crispy bacon & pea puree; fois gras ballotine on brioche with Madeira jelly, and the most succulent mini Aberdeen Angus beef Wellington. *happy sigh*

The food was so good at the Chiswell Street Dining Rooms, I could quite happily have spent the entire evening there. But after all, we were on a pub crawl, so into the awaiting minibus the Blog Team clambered, onto our next destination... The Hat & Tun in Farringdon, for our starter. This was much more of a cosy pub vibe, as we all sat around a large table and enjoyed a few glasses of Montagny, 1er Cru Le Vieux Chateau, JM Boillot 2008 and Savigny Les Beaune, 1er Cru Fourneaux, Jean J Girard 2008. The starter was an individual snail & smoked bacon pie in a Guinness & mushroom cream sauce, which I have to say looked lovely, but was sadly very bland. The sauce was too runny and lacked seasoning, as did the pastry. But never mind, the wine was brilliant, so we armed ourselves with a glass and boarded the bus onto Pub No 3.

The White Swan in EC4 was a great place for our main course, with a cosy bar downstairs and a galleried restaurant upstairs where we all sat (under a mirrored ceiling no less). It was time to sample yet more fantastic wine - Semillon, Boekenhoutskloof, Franschhoek 2007 (a delightful South African number) and Chateau La Chenade, Lalande 2006.

The main course was roast tranche of Cornish line-caught turbot, complete with Dorset crab beignets and autumnal turnips and salsify with a bisque butter sauce.  This was delicious, perfectly cooked and not too heavy. There was also a lamb dish for, erm, the non-fish eaters, which looked very tasty too.

Feeling quite merry by now with all the lovely wine, we climbed back into the minibus like a bunch of naughty kids on a school trip, and made our lairy and rowdy way across town to Chelsea for our final course - pudding at The Botanist in Sloane Square. It is a lively bar and is often full of bellowing toffs in the evening. But don't let that put you off, as The Botanist is actually one of the nicest eateries in the area and does excellent food, on a par with Chiswell Street Dining Rooms. We tucked into an amazing array of miniature pudding canapes including lemon meringue pie, custard tarts, baked gooseberry cheesecake, fig pudding and chocolate brownies. Accompanied by a very delicious glass or two of 'Vin du Pud' - Tokaji Late Harvest, Royal, Hungary 2008.

It didn't end there! By now it was pretty late, but we managed to board the bus one last time and headed down the King's Road to The Cadogan Arms for a game of pool and a few digestifs, which was a fitting end to a fun night of crawling. Full of excellent food and wine, it was finally time to call it a night. Thank you very much to everyone at ETM Group and Roche Communications for a great evening!

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms 56 Chiswell St, EC1Y 4SA  (020 7614 0177)
The Hat & Tun 3 Hatton Wall, EC1N 8HX  (020 7 242 4747)
The White Swan 108 Fetter Lane, EC4A 1ES  (020 7242 9696)
The Botanist 7 Sloane Square, SW1W 8EE  (020 7730 0077)
The Cadogan Arms 298 King's Road, SW3 5UG (020 7352 6500)


Hungrybecs said...

I could eat that foie gras and beef wellington all over again! Canapes for dinner should be the new trend for 2012.
Lovely to have you at the event and thank you for your post and excellent pictures, I love the picture of the two of us!
See you at the next event soon

Missimmy said...

I agree, cocktails & canapes should become a staple way of eating! Thanks Becs, good seeing you. Until the next crawl.. x

Luiz Hara said...

What a fun night, so pleased you could come!

Luiz @ The London Foodie

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