14 April 2018

Champagne & canapés at The Devonshire Club

A few Fridays ago, I'd RSVP-ed to a cocktail party at The Devonshire Club. But when the day came, I was hungover, and so very tired. The last thing I wanted to do was trek from west to east (if you consider Liverpool Street east) to drink again.

I'd had one of those horrible days where you spend a fortune on salty foods, fizzy drinks and generally cater to every whim your sorry self desires, but I still felt Dreadful with a capital 'd'.

Basically, I wasn't feeling this grand, civilised affair at all as I didn't feel grand nor civilised.

So I walk in, asking where the cocktail party is, and am directed to this (above). People are in suits, looking important, exchanging business cards... there was a live swing band and everything.

I have to confirm this is actually the event I've been invited to - the launch of Adam Gray's new menu for the club as executive chef - because it is FANCY. Way too fancy for how I'm feeling. And... oh my God, what do I do?

Answer: I drop off my coat at the room's cloakroom (!), grab a glass of Gusbourne Brut Reserve (okay, not technically champagne as it's not from Champagne) and sit in the garden. And take a photo of quasi-champagne..

Luckily, two things happened quite quickly. One, the food started to circulate. If I'm eating, I look like I'm meant to be here, right?

First up, I helped myself to Devonshire crab topped with burnt ruby grapefruit, wrapped in cucumber.

Honestly, so delicious. The crab was tender and melted in my mouth, and the grapefruit gave it a touch of sharpness. The cucumber served no real purpose other than the structural integrity of the canapé, but I respect that.

The next thing that happened was I was joined at my alfresco table by two men who work in capital investment. They became my best friends for the evening, telling anyone who walked past that I was a "professional blogger" and asking the waiting staff to come out with more food so I could take photos. So if you're looking to invest your family's capital, this gal can hook you up.

Feast your eyes on some spiced houmous with radish, atop the most satisfyingly crunchy discs. I'm half Greek-cypriot, so I'm never going to pass up houmous, and this was some good stuff.

Oh, and the guys loved this (as did I) - hot smoked salmon (slightly raw in the middle) with celeriac remoulade... so kind of like a mustardy coleslaw. Better than I'm making it sound, I promise! I had seconds. Blame my hangover.

Proof of my seconds

I should also probably point out that - mercifully - the wine, food and company had perked me up considerably. The wine was so, so easy to drink. Really light and not too dry. I guess I should say that as a pescatarian it complimented the fish dishes I was able to enjoy.

My personal highlight was this hunk...

The humble fish and chips, with tartare sauce. We may have only got a single chip (okay, I had two, because I had seconds of this, too) but I'll be darned if it wasn't the tastiest chip I've tasted. And the fish. The batter! The crumbly cod! The tangy tartare sauce for dipping! What a delight.

The beetroot spelt risotto (with picked beetroot on top, for good measure) didn't rock my world, mainly because I find spelt doesn't really become a risotto. It just kind of stays like al dente rice. It certainly looked pretty, but I wouldn't order it from the menu.

And for the meat-eaters out there, there was beef tartare and chicken liver parfait to start, and I snapped a photo of the meaty main: the beef shortrib with creamy mash and crispy shallots.

It looked blimmin' incredible. My resolve weakened as I peered down my lens...

But I stayed strong.

Dessert was a mini rhubarb custard with a ribbon of rhubarb sugar (which was superb), and perfectly light to round things off.

I'm not going to lie - a little chocolate bite wouldn't have gone amiss! But at that point, I was quite full, after my - ahem - numerous seconds.

The Devonshire Club is open for non-members to dine Friday evening through to Sunday.

**I attended this event as a guest of the PR agency who represent The Devonshire Club, but hopefully you can tell that all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own!

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