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Sunday, 4 March 2012

40 B4 40-The Savoy Grill

No. 2: Right we are off on our next 40 B4 40 Challenge!  First stop is The Savoy Grill in London’s historic Savoy Hotel for our company’s Christmas do.  Yes, I do realise it is March, but some years ago we cancelled Christmas for two reasons.  One, a member of our team was a Jehovah’s Witness and could not come to ‘Christmas Do’s’, so we decided we would have a ‘Company Do’ early in the year instead.  Secondly, Christmas Parties involve inedible food, silly hats and overpriced everything!  Our party plan is to take the team somewhere special and to have a great experience that doesn’t involve pulling crackers and being treated like cattle.

In past years we have dined at some fine London restaurants like Gordon Ramsey’s Boxwood Café, The OXO Tower, Brasserie Roux in Pall Mall (now The Balcon) and Cambio at the Castle in Guildford.  This year we were off to Gordon Ramsey’s Savoy Grill in London's Savoy Hotel. 

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The ten 'party people' met for pre-lunch drinks at 12 noon at The Porterhouse in London’s Covent Garden.  Everyone was in high spirits and ready to party!  Sadly, two of the team couldn't make it, but I think it being your 'hen weekend' is a fitting reason to miss out. 

The ‘industrial chic’ bar served many beers from its own brewery in Dublin and most of the guys went for the award winning Porter Stout.  The girls tried a variety of Belgian fruit beers with flavours such as cherry, mango, honey and passion fruit.  The party was soon getting warmed up!

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Arriving at The Savoy, the air of grandeur since the complete rebuild had not been lost.  The spectacular entrance, grand marble reception and Thames Foyer were as impressive as ever, with chandeliers, bronzes, fine decor and exotic flower displays. The Savoy Grill dining room was just as imposing with tortoise shell wall panelling and a host of friendly staff to greet us. 

We were soon seated and supping the good vouvray and soft pinot noir wine, as we chose our meals from the extensive menu.  As the waiter arrived to reveal the succulent sirloin on the silver salver trolley, you could almost hear the licking of lips.  Lots of boisterous conversation accompanied our various chosen starters, which included Chicken liver and foie gras parfait with apple chutney, Devilled lamb kidney on toast, Beetroot tart with salt and vinegar caramel and goats curd, and Butternut squash soup with confit duck and sautéed mushroom. 

Although this was a Gordon Ramsey restaurant, I don’t think he was cooking, as we could here no swearing from the kitchen. The service was continually attentive and our main courses soon arrived.  Between us we devoured; Hot smoked salmon with choucroute and beurre noisette sauce, Grilled hanger steak with pomme mousseline and pepper sauce, Steamed Scottish mussels and fries, Potato & bacon pie, plus of course some had the Sirloin beef with Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and vegetables.

On return from the various trips to the loos people had varying opinions, some liked the way and attendant turned on the tap and handed you a towel, others were a bit spooked!  Having used the bottles of aftershave, I came back smelling like I had fallen into a vat of perfume.

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Plenty of conversation and sillyiness later, we moved onto our sweets, the wine was still flowing copiously and any diets forgotten.  Steamed cinnamon pudding with custard was most popular, followed by Burnt English cream with redcurrant sorbet and one warm poached pear with vanilla ice cream.

Very full, we still managed to enjoy our coffee's and petit fours.

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Never knowing when we have had enough, we moved on to the minimalist and somewhat strange St Martins Hotel.  Soon we were in The Light Bar for early evening cocktails.  Strange 'face murals' stared from the ceiling as we tried our various conconctions.

For a night cap, we then moved on to The Sailsbury, an old traditional Victorian london pub, with normal drinks and a less odd ceiling. After another drink, we were all begining to wilt.  So, after having had a fantastic day together we all started to make our way home, very full and not in a particulary straight line.

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21-22 Maiden Lane, London, WC2E 7NA

www.gordonramsay.com/thesavoygrill
Strand, London WC2R 0EU

Light Bar Website
St Martins Lane Hotel, 45 St Martins Lane, London, WC2N 4HX

The Salisbury Website
90 St. Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London WC2N 4AP

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

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