No Rock tonight – it’s an all male event. I’m out with my two East European enforcers – Ilia and Gustav. Actually, Ilia is from East London and Gustav from the East Midlands and they are more likely to hug you than mug you.
The evening starts badly….the familiar curry house next to the pub is closed. So we move from the ridiculous to the sublime by attempting to secure a table at The Gilbert Scott, a Marcus Wareing restaurant nearby….but, unsurprisingly, it is fully booked. We eventually settle for something that falls between those two extreme stools – The Betjeman Arms.
Although we have already had a beer or two, none of us can resist sampling the Camden Pils while we read through the menu.
Gustav orders the Cured Duck to start and he really enjoys it. It tastes so good after curing that Gustav finds it hard to imagine that the duck had ever been ill! Ilia and I both choose the Haddock Chowder – a highly seasoned mix of smoked haddock, bacon, potatoes and herbs.
Without the elegance and sophistication of female company, we all revert to stereotype and select steak for our main course. Sirloin for Gustav and Ilia, Ribeye for me. Ilia, in a key moment of inspiration, orders a bottle of Chateau Lescalle. It is a decent claret that perfectly complements the steak.
Gustav moves on to Poached Pear while Ilia and I both have a cheese plate that includes Lynchetts Soft and Woodside Blue – and the claret is still working well!
It is not quite the evening we were all expecting – it is much better than that…..