Dogmersfield House was a spectacular and impressive venue, and as we were all invited to take our places for dinner in the ballroom, the wow factor got even bigger. Magnificently laid tables, grand surroundings and a stage with large plasma screens like an Oscar ceremony. As over 200 people took their seats, I just looked at the chair and then my trousers, wondering whether it would be the waistband or crotch that gave way first?! The conversations just flowed as we enjoyed a four course meal, including a spectacular local 'loosehanger' cheese board. We were even given copious and complimentary wine by local wine merchant Berry Brothers. I bet our chef, Cyrille Pannier, felt just a little pressure cooking for the array of foodie diners he had in tonight! Our table was pretty noisy, with the Verveine team having a great time, albeit a little apprehensive for what excitement may lay ahead.
A couple of awards later it was time for the ‘Restaurant of the Year’. This award was to recognise quality of food and service, value for money and the overall dining experience. This time Verveine were again up against serious competition from Pebble Beach in Barton on Sea and Chesil Rectory in Winchester. Another film, more tension. Then Sally said; ‘And the winner is… Verveine Fishmarket Restaurant!’. Our table exploded again, everyone jumping in the air, hugs all round and kisses were everywhere. I think I took the unknown lady on the table next to us by surprise when I kissed her on the lips. But in a funny way I think she enjoyed it, although she tried to feign resistance by punching me hard in the kidneys. It did hurt, but in a strange way I was pleased that it had taken my mind off of my strangulating waist band. Stacey & David proudly collected their award from the stage to a room of loud applause. It is clear they were popular winners, and anyone who has dined at Verveine can only be impressed by the creative menu, fresh ingredients, slick service and the theatre of the entire experience.