Now I am a simple sort of a bloke. That came out wrong but hopefully you get my drift. I prefer the simple pleasures in life; happy with a good pint in a well run pub sustained by a steak pie or a cod and chips.
Recently Mrs W and I have agreed that we should be upping the ante and visiting some smarter places than the Roebuck and Red Lion. It helps not that when I attend court the conversation in the retiring room is often about high end restaurants and holidays and I keep dragging everyone back to pubs and beer.
Last week we coupled a visit to Kew Gardens with lunch at The Glasshouse - a well respected local restaurant by KG station that has merited Michelin star status for a number of recent years.
On arrival I scanned the wine list per chance for an interesting beer list and was unsurprised to find no beers among the comprehensive collection. I selected a New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc from the Marlborough region. I don't drink much wine these days but I do have an advanced WSET certificate and I know what I like.
The wine was excellent; dry, crisp and refreshing as expected. The food was fabulous which is unsurprising given the place's starred status but from my beer-geek perspective my meal was begging for a beer match.
The starter of scotch egg was cooked to perfection. The crisp outside matched with the smoothness of the meat and rounded off with a soft yolk of the egg inside. Lovely comfort food.
However it was calling out for a spritzy golden beer such as Meantime London Pale Ale where the carbonation would cut through the fattiness of the scotch egg and a delicate hop bitterness might compliment the runny yolk.
My main of braised rabbit leg was falling from the bone, the gamey flavours from the rabbit combining beautifully with the onion and potato that accompanied. I was by this time enjoying the sauvignon blanc but what I really wanted was a more malty number. A small glass of Adnams Broadside or a Belgian dubbel would be a perfect match with the sweet maltiness bringing out the gamey meat character and finishing with a warming, spicy aftertaste.
By the time I was ready for dessert I was certain my wine would not go perfectly with a chocolate terrine so I slugged back the last glass. As my wife was driving I had to drink three quarters of the bottle (hardship, I know) so had no capacity for glass of sticky from the strong list of dessert wine.
The rich taste of the chocolate torte was set off by a refreshing raspberry sorbet and by then I was drfiting away dreaming of a strong stout or even a tart geueze to heighten the sensational flavours of the chocolate and raspberry.
All in all, it was a fantastic afternoon and I will definitely return on the strength of this one visit. Food, service and ambiance of this place are all first class. [Luch for two with wine and service was £90]. I didn't expect a beer offering so was not disappointed. I just feel that with food of this quality they are missing a trick by not offering at least a short beer list. But then again, you could say I am a little biased.
Next in the pursuit of beer in good restaurants is the River Cafe, Hammersmith. Then I am going to try the Harwood Arms in Fulham, London's first pub to be awarded a Michelin star and somewhere I can be guaranteed a choice of beer.