Probably a little late in writing this one, but it’s still early in 2016 right and a little bit of reflection won’t go amiss surely?
I suppose I’d like to start by apologising that I wasn’t exactly prolific on the old posting front in 2015. This was for a number of reasons; firstly, and most importantly, my day job changed in November 2014 which brought a new job that occupies me a lot more than my old job. This is great, as I really enjoy my new job and find it very rewarding, however it has meant that I haven’t had nearly as much free time to write my blogs as I did previously. Secondly, I have been continuing my relationship with two other blogs that I write for: Vinspire and Tasting Britain. Both of these are fantastic ventures, staffed with wonderful people and they have helped me to gain access some incredible experiences, for which I am very thankful.
Notwithstanding all of that, I continue to be very proud of my blog, I always take great pleasure in writing my pieces and take even more pleasure when I hear from people how much they like reading my posts – so a VERY BIG THANK YOU to all of you for continuing to read my (somewhat sporadic) posts!
I will review 2015 under the same headings as 2014, starting with*drum roll*…
Restaurant of the Year – Domestic
A tough field this year. Early in the year we visited Claude Bosi’s 2* Hibiscus, which was always going to be a tough act to follow. I particularly enjoyed their Cod dish (right), which I forecasted would be the best thing that I ate in 2015 – and I think I was nearly right. Jose Pizarro’s Pizarro in Bermondsey was another wonderful dinner with a simply stunning suckling swine (check out that aliteration!). The Five Fields, which I predict will get a Michelin Star next year (NB: my last Michelin prediction for Carter’s of Moseley was spot on!) would have been a very strong contender had we not eaten there on the hottest day of the year and when their air conditioning decided to pack in.
All of these were lovely meals, but I think the meal that made the greatest impression on me was a rather splended lunch at The Glasshouse (1*) in Kew. What I liked about this lunch was the classical elegance of it; every dish was beautifully crafted and looked a picture on the plate. The poached salmon (left) was, I think, the highlight of this sublime lunch.
Restaurant of the Year – International
Our travels this year took us Germany (Berlin), France (Bordeaux) and Vietnam. The trip to Berlin saw us visiting more traditional German eateries such as: Henne, a German Restaurant that specialises in delicious fried chicken, and Lutter und Wegner, a restaurant that claims to serve the best Wiener Schnitzel in Berlin. In Bordeaux, we experienced Bordelaise fine dining at the picturesque Auberge St-Jean where I indulged in a glorious cheese trolley and ate oysters in a traditional market in the city. Vietnam saw us eating some of its world-famous street-food as well as learning the secrets of Vietnamese fine-dining in a cookery course at Green Mango in Hoi An.
However, when I think back to this year and my overseas adventures, one meal stood out above all others – this was our decadent meal at Brasserie L’Orleans in Bordeaux. This was not fine dining, but was instead a veritable feast capped off with a Grilled Prime Rib of Beef served with some delicious bone marrow. Just thinking about this huge hunk of perfectly cooked meat is enough to make me salivate. Phwoar! This was capped off with a 2007 Chateau Léoville Barton (St. Julien-Beychevelle) and made for a simply perfect meal.
Wine of the Year
I have been fortunate enough to drink some exceptional bottles of wine this year. Two that spring to mind were a glass of 2002 Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru, Domaine Bonneau du Martray (Burgundy, France) that I had from Coravin at the Glasshouse. Such a rich, opulet and decadent wine was truly a joy to taste.
Another challenger was a wine that we picked up on our trip to Bordeaux this year when we did a wine tasting tour with the wonderful 20h33. We tasted lots of lovely wine, but one of my favourites was Chateau Bellegrave in Pomerol; so much so that we bought a magnum of their 2005 – which I took to my brother’s house to enjoy with his home-made pizza oven.
Last year my favourite wine of the year was a German wine and this year is no different. The 2012 Egon Mueller Scharzhofberger Riesling Kabinett (Mosel, Germany) which I opened on Open That Bottle Night in February. I had long wanted to try one of Mueller’s wines and now that I have, I want to try more!
Surely a German wine won’t top the bill for three years in a row? You’ll have to wait for the 2016 review to see…!
Wine Experience of the Year
I am fortunate to have had some wonderful experiences around wine this year. This includes being invited to Sandeman Port’s 225th birthday party and getting to try some rather excellent Port and finding myself at a wine tasting reviewing wines next to Tim Atkin.
However, my favourite wine experience of the year was my successful attempt at sabring a bottle of sparkling wine…
In contrast to my cousin’s husband’s slightly less successful effort…
All in all, 2015 was an excellent year. I don’t think I quite did my blog justice, but I am so thankful to you all for your amazing feedback and comments – these really have helped to keep me going.
Here’s to a great 2016!