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Wednesday, 30 January 2013

40 B4 40- L'Escargot

No. 29: L'Escargot, Soho, London 

The previous weeks had been insanely busy, so a Friday night up town was just the remedy.

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As we arrived at Waterloo, along with our good friend Viv, we (they) decide to walk. As we entered Charing Cross I had my usual childish giggle at 'Herman The German's Hot Sausage Shop'. Several yards later I was in need of a drink, so I feigned a temporary paralysis. My wife simply took a big swing, and kicked me in the un-paralysed leg.  

Fortunately, Viv is a lot kinder, so we were soon at the bar of a trendy club near Covent Garden.  As I mused over how the bar girls outfits did not make them catch their death of cold, we were then approached by a bouncy barman who asked if we wanted doubles as it was 'Happy Hour'.  This threw the girls into turmoil, as they had already decided to have singles, trying to pace themselves for the night. Confusion then spread across Mr Bouncy's face, as he realised he had offered his 'Happy Hour' 15 minutes early. Singles it was then.

The walk still had a small way to go, and as we came into Old Compton Street my thirst suddenly returned. I slipped into an old Victorian pub, and the girls had no option other than to follow. As we ordered another round of drinks I noticed the other customers were quite male dominated, and a number of them were obviously 'very close friends'. 

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Time for dinner, so we turned the corner and were soon at L'Escargot in Greek Street, Soho. The greeting was warm as we entered the sixteenth century former townhouse. As we were taken into the dining room all of the staff gave us a smile, and we were feeling pretty good when we arrived at our table in the ground floor restaurant, with mirrored walls and work by artists such as Miro and Chagall.

As we were limited on time before going to our booked West End show, we decided to go for the 'Menu Du Jour'. Three tasty choices for each course, and at £19.50 fabulous value. It really is amazing the great places you can eat for such reasonable prices.

The waiter was soon putting luscious fresh butter on the crisp white table cloth, and offering us hot homemade olive, white or brown rolls. As you may imagine, I tried all of them over the course of the meal.

For our first starters we enjoyed Mussels à la Marinière and Velouté of Beef et Tomatoes, which was a very tasty spiced beef soup. The sauce and juices from the mussels was delicious, and more rolls were of course required for the mopping up, pleasingly our attentive waiter was soon on hand with his bread basket.  It seemed wrong not to experience the Spécialité de la Maison of Escargots cooked & served in their shells, with garlic butter & parsley, so we also all shared a serving of six snails.

Our main course choices were all the same, Pork Loin Steak, Vichy Carrots, Pomme Purée and mushroom jus. The pork was possibly the most tender I have ever had, the portion was pretty large, the mash smooth & creamy and the sauce simply rich and divine. Top dish!

The girls were looking pretty happy as we continued to slurp our bottle of Fleurie. Wine is something you can often get caught on in London restaurant, but these guys had a wine list that was varied and pretty gentle on the wallet.

For sweet I went for Pear Tart Bourdaloue with Cardinal Sauce, my wife & Viv had the Selection of French Cheese.  What a result, as I got to grab half of my wife's cheeses as well.

Time was now running out, so we had no time for coffee. As a really nice touch, a tray of petit fours was still presented with our bill.  Normally if there were only the two of us I would be in heaven, as my wife 'doesn't like' chocolate. (What a weirdo!).  Sadly, Viv is totally the opposite, so I had a challenge on my hands. Finding the balance between being polite, and maneuvering to get the favourite one's is tough. My concern was soon confirmed as Viv took the truffle to her lips.  My helpful comments on how; 'A moment on the lips, is a lifetime on the hips' did not phase her.  We simply stared in to each other eyes like wild west gunfighters as our game of petit four roulette played out. 

The restaurant describes itself as 'Fine dining with affordable glamour', and I have to say they have it spot on. 

As we left, very full and satisfied, the staff again gave us warm smiles, and we all confirmed this is a restaurant for us all to return to.

Next stop was our West End show, Les Miserables. Wow, wow, wow.  We had memories of how good it had been when we saw it around fifteen years ago, but this time it was even more spectacular. The singing, the story, the set, everything was superb. Your insides seem to jump and dance, and your emotions explode to the extent that on leaving you feel fantastic and exhausted!

If you have not seen Les Miserables in the West End, do go, and oh, if you take in a pre-theatre meal at L'Escargot it will make your evening perfect. 

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About L’Escargot
The building dates from 1741 and was once the private residence of the Duke of Portland. L’Escargot was opened in 1927 by George Gaudin who created the first restaurant in the UK serving snails. The snails were farmed in the restaurants basement kitchen!  Following a complete refurbishment in the 1980's, L’Escargot was hailed as the first of London's 'Designer Restaurants', with head chef, Martin Lam making L'Escargot the place to eat. Today the restaurant is owned by Marco Pierre White.

On leaving, we spotted a Blue Plaque, showing that Peter Cook has lived in the flat opposite, a bet those floors having seen some great party's!

L'Escargot 
8 Greek Street, Soho, London W1D 4EF
www.lescargotrestaurant.co.uk

If you are wondering what the 40 B4 40 Dining Challenge is all about, please click here and all will be explained.


Have Your Say!

The Milford on Sea Parish Council is urging residents to visit them at the Community Centre, Sea Road on Friday 1st February (2pm to 9pm) or Saturday 2nd February (9am to 12pm), to give their views on the issues of affordable housing and the provision of public space (new football pitches, etc) within the village.

The event is part of the Parish Council's Neighbourhood Plan, enabling the community to take the lead in producing an alternative plan to the New Forest District Council's current proposal for 30 homes plus open space on land by the school (called MOS1). 

There will be a children's activity area at the events so adults can speak to members of the Parish Council and Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee while their children are being entertained. The cafe will also be open serving refreshments.

Further information on the Neighbourhood Plan can be found at www.ourplan.org.uk

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Love Rugby at The Marine

Europe's biggest rugby tournament kicks off on Saturday 2nd February, and the excitement is gathering.

You can see every match of the international RBS Six Nations Rugby tournament at The Marine on the Big Screen, where you can just call in for drink, or take in a meal. 

Pop along to sees England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France & Italy competing for the prize of best European rugby team. 

Fixtures & Kick Off Times:
Saturday - February 2nd: Wales v Ireland KO 1.30pm | England v Scotland KO 4pm 
Sunday - February 3rd: Italy v France KO 3pm 
Saturday - February 9th: Scotland v Italy KO 2.30pm | France v Wales KO 5pm 
Sunday February 10th: Ireland v England KO 3pm 
Saturday February 23rd: Italy v Wales KO 2.30pm | England v France KO 5pm 
Sunday February 24th: Scotland v Ireland KO 2pm 
Saturday March 9th: Scotland v Wales KO 2.30pm | Ireland v France KO 5pm 
Sunday March 10th: England v Italy KO 3pm 
Saturday March 16th: Italy v Ireland KO 2.30pm | Wales v England KO 5pm | France v Scotland KO 8pm

Check out the menus and offers at: www.themarinerestaurant.co.uk

Monday, 28 January 2013

All Saints' Church finds a saint

Church goers at All Saints’ Church Milford on Sea had a massive surprise when a mystery donor gave a £200,000 gift to help solve its financial issues.

Parishioners had held prayers during which the money worries at All Saints' Church were included. In due course an anonymous benefactor then donated £3,000 and later, to the great surprise of Dominic, our local vicar, another gave a massive £200,000. 

The extremely generous donations will be used to continue the church's work with young people and families in the New Forest.

Our very own, Rev Dominic Furness, was quoted on BBC News as saying it was a "wonderful gift" which had moved some of the 250-strong congregation to tears at the Grade I-listed Norman church.

Whether a believer or not, the generosity of the two anonymous donors is extraordinary, and a great gift to the village and local youngsters. Well done, whoever you are!

www.allsaintsmilford.co.uk

MoS Neighbourhood Plan Website

As part of the Milford on Sea Parish Council  community engagement work in respect of the Neighbourhood Plan a new website has now been launched: www.ourplan.org.uk 

The aim of the new website is to keep everyone in the community up to date with the progress being made and to act as a channel for feedback as the Plan develops.

The website will take you to various pages giving background information on the Neighbourhood Plan, the approach, the progress, and the people involved, as well as copies of the documents most relevant to preparing the Plan.

The Parish Council is building on the very successful Vision 2020 Milford on Sea Action Plan which was prepared a few years ago. The aims, aspirations and actions in this plan have underpinned many of the recent decisions and initiatives of the Parish Council.

For the Neighbourhood Plan to be a success, it must reflect the wishes of the majority of the residents. You will see a ”Have Your Say” link which you can use to make your views known. In particular, they are asking for any new perspectives on Affordable Homes and Formal Public Open Space, as well as giving everyone the opportunity to participate in selecting the most favourable sites for development around the village settlement area.

The Steering Group invites input from all residents so please use the link below to let them have your thoughts and wishes, feedback on events and publications, and any other relevant comments you wish to make.


Training for Community Centre Volunteers

An invitation to VCC Volunteers for Training

In response to the recent survey the VCC carried out using funds from the Lottery they identified a set of training to meet the following objectives:



1. Roles and responsibilities of Trustees
2. Making best use of volunteers
3. Funding and making grant applications
4. Engaging with the community
5. Managing external communications

The Community Centre team have now commissioned Community First New Forest to deliver a package of training in the second week of March. (Full details below)

The Trustees, value the time and commitment of volunteers to the VCC, and warmly invite them to any or all of these sessions. This is not designed to ask volunteers to do more, but to reinforce that they are a key part of the success of the centre and to feel fully engaged with what Community Centre does. The training will not only give  a better idea of the big picture of how the centre runs, but also provide an opportunity to influence how it develops in the future. Volunteers might also feel that they have other skills to offer, they may also have views about how volunteers are managed, and have suggestions about how this can be improved or modified.

Please let John know if you would like to attend any of the sessions as soon as possible. If there are sufficient numbers the training can be reated. So if you cannot make the dates chosen but are interested, please let John know and there might be an alternative possible.

John Whitley-Trustee VCC - John.whitley@virgin.net - 01590 644039

Please see below for details of courses:

Programme of Training for Milford on Sea Community Centre. To be delivered by Community First New Forest in the VCC.

Session 1: Monday 11th March. 9.30am-12.30pm

Roles and Responsibilities of Trustees.
To cover the role of Trustees and how the Charity is managed. This is suitable for both existing Trustees, those who might consider becoming a Trustee, and those who are just interested in what Trustees do and how things are run.

Session 2: Wednesday 13th March 9.30am-12.30pm

Volunteer Training session.
This session is about the development of volunteers. It covers how to enable and support volunteers. It deals with how to make volunteering an enjoyable activity and use the skills of volunteers to help run the charity. Will be of interest to all volunteers and Trustees.

Session 3: Thursday 14th March 9.30am-12.30pm

Funding and How to make Applications. To cover sources of Funding and the best way to apply for funding. For all those who might help the VCC directly or have suggestions in looking for funding to support its activities are most welcome..

Session 4: Friday 15th March 9.30am-12.30am-Lunch-1.30pm-3.30pm

Engaging with the community and external communications. This longer session combines the issues of how to engage with the local community effectively and how to manage external communications. All those who want to help the VCC or just give their ideas are most welcome.



Saturday, 19 January 2013

Fitness for Charity

Lindsey Cooper, one of our village hairdressers, is organising a Fun Fitness Marathon. The event is to raise funds for Oakhaven Hospice and she is hoping lots of local people will pick up a sponsorship form and get involved.
 
On Saturday 9 February 2013 from 9am to 9pm, anyone is welcome to join in 12 different 45 minute exercise classes to test your endurance and raise money for charity.
 
Activities will include things such as Zumba, Hoola Hoops, Belly Dancing, Fit Ball and much more!!
 
In the past Lindsey has raised money for charity with events like sitting in a bath of baked beans on the village green during Food Week, and this new event sounds like it will attract lots of people to get 'moving for money!'
 
Personally, I am not sure that the words 'fun' and 'fitness marathon' should go together, and whilst all of you healthy people are Zumba'ing and generally running about, I think I will just go and sit quietly in a bath of baked beans in my front room.
 
The Fun Fitness Marathon will be taking place at New Milton Memorial Centre, Whitefield Road, New Milton. BH25 6DE.
 
To get involved & get fit, please ring 07896 469769 for further details and a sponsor form, or speak to Henry at Physic-All, 105 Stopples Lane, SO41 0JA.

 

Stalls Needed for Fete

Hurst View Caravan Park are organising a Charity Fete in aid of the British Heart Foundation for the 6th July 2013 at 12 noon to 5pm.

They are currently organising for bands to be playing, plus other entertainment on the day.

They would also like some local product and craft stalls to come along. 

If you would like to have a stall, please contact Denise Farmer for details on 01590 671648.

www.hurstviewleisure.co.uk


 

Love a Label

One of Milford on Sea's High Street shops is expanding.

Jane & Ian Watkins of JW Hair and Beauty Salon have recently launched 'JW Preloved Labels', which sells high quality used fashion clothing.

I expect this will prove a very popular addition to the village.

I am not sure they will do clothing for me, but I will pop in to see what they have in 50 inch jackets and Size 12 shoes.  My suspicion is that you will have better luck than me!

We hope it goes well for them, as having a vibrant High Street is great for us all. Why not pop in and take a look?

JW Preloved Labels
The Old Bank House, 5 High Street, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QF
01590 642057




Sunday, 13 January 2013

Help the Heroes at Zaika

Our village Indian restaurant is running a fundraising event in aid of Help For Heroes on Tuesday 19th February.from 6.30pm to 10.30pm. It will be a buffet of 15 dishes for £16.95 per person and money raised will be donated to help the heroes.

Why not go along and have a curry for a good cause!
To book please call: 01590 643084
Zaika pride themselves on presenting a superior, A La Carte menu that represents choice, variety and of course quality. All dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients each day. Unlike the majority of Indian restaurants Zaika's dishes truly reflect the diversity of cooking styles, and ingredients from the length and breadth of the wonderful and vibrant Indian Subcontinent.

Find out more about Zaika at: www.zaikanewforest.co.uk | www.helpforheroes.org.uk

Saturday, 12 January 2013

New Website for The Granary Kitchen


The Granary Kitchen Cookery School in Newlands Manor Farm has launched a brand new website.
 
The site feature the numerous Cookery Classes available, as well as the Private Dining Service.
 
The Granary Kitchen is the first solo business venture for local award winning chef, Christian Rivron. Christian is now bringing his skills from the kitchen to the classroom by offering a programme of courses, including subjects such as: Deserts & Pastries, Meat, Fish & Shellfish, Bread Baking, Vegetarian Meals and Soup, Bread & Dressings. (All can be viewed and booked on The Granary website.)
 
Christian has designed The Granary Kitchen Cookery School to mimic the relaxed feeling of cooking in your own home. Christian aims to use the incredible range of fresh local & seasonal produce available throughout the New Forest, Hampshire and Dorset to their full potential. The Granary Kitchen has also become a member of the New Forest Marque.
 
All standards of cooks are welcome, from the novice gaining confidence in cooking, to an experienced cook looking to broaden their knowledge of different produce and techniques. All ‘students’ help out and get a ‘hands on’ experience using easy to follow & understandable instructions. The day is relaxed and informal as you learn new skills, techniques & tips from the professional world of cooking. The cookery school aims to increase your interest in cooking & food, and to encourage people to try something different as they broaden their knowledge and experience for cooking at home. At the end of the course there are take away recipe card for all dishes made on the day.

You can check out the new website here: www.thegranarykitchen.co.uk
 

Friday, 11 January 2013

Girls' Only Evening at Youth Club


Our local Milford on Sea Youth Club is looking for new members, and a special session has been arranged for Monday 21st January for a Girls’ Only Evening, where the team hope to meet new yougsters who would like to see what the club is all about.
The Milford on Sea Youth Club meets every Monday and Tuesday between 5.45 and 7.45 in the Youth Room at the Village Community Centre.
 
The Club is led by an experienced and fully qualified youth leader and her team. The young people have their own room which is equipped for table tennis ,Wii and pool. Other activities include art and cookery. The membership age generally ranges from 11 to 13 years.
 
New members are always welcome.
 
For more information please call the Youth Leader on 07740 481378, or of course just come along to the Girls’ Only Evening on Monday 21st January.
 
 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

MiCO are back with new Lottery Funding


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Milford Community Organisation (now labelled MiCO by its young members), is back with a Lottery Heritage Fund project, thanks to new Lottery funding.

‘All our Stories’ is a community youth-led project which uses all sorts of activities including drama, film, art and cookery to help young people learn more about the rich historical and cultural heritage of our tremendous village. 

MiCO already have several groups who have started exploring Milford’s history but there is always room for more! This project is open to anyone aged 9 and above, and this Sunday (13th of Jan) there is a tour with Chris Hobby of the Historical Society, guiding the young people through the village and unlocking some of the secrets of places we walk past every day!

On the 3rd of Feb the group are off to Hurst Castle for a tour and a winter picnic. Participants of the project will also be interviewing long-standing residents of the village, building their own website to record their progress and present their work, as well as running regular sessions every Wednesday from the 6th of February.

Throughout May and June the young people will be putting on exhibitions and events to pass on what they have discovered. Check them out on Facebook and of course if anyone is interested please get in touch !

You can contact MiCO at hellomico@yahoo.co.uk | 07557 658495 or 01590 644961