Another one of Mr Blyde’s famed events, this time co-hosted with Arnaud Compas at the recently opened (a month and a day old at the time of the event) Vinothec Compass, a restaurant and wine bar at the state-of-the-art Greenwich Peninsula Golf Range, overlooking the city lights of Canary Wharf.
After a one hour wardrobe dilemma, trying to decide on a dinner-chic-yet-golf-appropriate outfit, surprisingly much shorter than my usual two hour ones, I made the 45-minute journey on my trusted Jubilee line (my loyalty towards it slightly deterred when it undergoes ‘maintenance works’ on the weekend). Located 150 yards from North Greenwich underground station, the approximated ‘4-minute’ walk was more of a 10-minute walk, and probably a bit more in my 3-inch heels – because heels are totally versatile.
Casually sauntering in through the main entrance, I made my way towards the bar where I was greeted by DB and came face-to-face (not quite as dramatic and intimidating as it sounds) for the first time with Mr Osburn (aka @tikichris) after previous communications via Twitter. Clad in his Hawaiian printed shirt, which probably was more ‘golf’ than my one-piece palazzo jumpsuit, we had a nice little chat whilst we sipped on some fine Pol Roger 2004 Champagne.
We then proceeded outside onto the 60 bay strong, two-tiered golf range, where we were divided into two groups – males and females, which was easy enough to go by.
Some amongst us definitely oozed a bit more ‘Girl Power’ than others, as May who is a seasoned golfer took the reins and was the first to putt.
Jo Jo was up next, and whilst multi-tasking between taking photos and stuffing my face with Basque pintxos bites, I just about missed taking a shot of her ‘acrobatic stunt’ at the end – it’s okay Jo Jo, your secret is safe with us!
After a short demonstration by a pro, I was surely going to look even worse than I already was – a one-off stint in mini golf about over a decade ago probably doesn’t count as having ‘played golf’.
Nonetheless I was up for the challenge, my competitive side having high hopes in the possibility of discovering some hidden talent within me. I took my position and slipped the white glove onto my left hand, whilst DB sneakily took a rather unflattering shot of my midway-objecting-open-mouthed pose…
So here I am in my open stance, trying not to stick my derriere out too much which is seemingly much harder in heels. I had five balls to putt and Gary, with his charming Scottish accent, kindly gave me a quick crash course on basic putting. My fifth ball probably went as far as about 100metres – I’d like to believe that my poor choice of golfing attire restricted me from showing my full potential…
For the golf obsessives out there, you may be interested to know that they also use the latest technology including simulators and high tech performance information to enhance your golfing experience.
The view from the upper deck was slightly more stunning, but taking into consideration that there are no barriers, it was probably a good choice for us to stay on ground level to avoid the risk of ‘plunging to one’s death’.
Okay, probably a bit over-dramatic…maybe more of a broken arm/ankle, with a potential permanent scar on self dignity…
After a bout of ‘playful tee-side action’ (DB, 2015) and exertive arm-swinging, we made our way back to the restaurant where we took our respective seats at the table.
We were told to gather round the kitchen counter where the first tapas dish of baby squid, tomato and coriander was prepared and served by Head Chef Jordi Rovira Segovia. Deliciously tender with the fragrant aroma of the garlic oil, I gracefully accepted second servings of this delightful dish, my hungry eyes fixated on the chef’s pass just in case there were any leftovers…
This was paired with a glass of Chardonnay (Château Burgozone 2012, Bulgaria), which according to DB, ‘brought citrus to the tender cephalopod’. I don’t think that I have had Bulgarian wine, but it seems that Bulgaria appears to be one to watch in the world of wine.
There were a couple of rocks, or rather fossils placed in the middle of the table, which Arnaud later came over to give us a bit of bite-sized information on their origins, and how terroir affects the taste of wine. These small rocks aged a few million/ZILLION years old apparently contain tiny fossils, of what kind of species I would not be able to tell you unfortunately – just think ‘miniature graveyard for little creatures’…
The next dish was a smoked trout salad, created by Sous Chef Dani Rodriguez Navas. The dish was presented quite intricately with bright colours which appealed to the eyes – the delicate piece of trout mingled amongst pieces of asparagus, dried black olives, labneh, fresh oregano, juicy globules of salmon roe, and a refreshing drizzle of citrus vinaigrette.
This was matched with a pale-coloured Volubilia 2013 Moroccan Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Vin Gris rosé.
Moving on to a meatier dish, which was a small cut of suckling pig with a juicy layer of fat, served on roasted piquillo pepper and a slice of apple on the side. I resisted from popping the entire piece into my mouth as I carefully divided it into three miniscule mouthfuls, before washing it down with a (slightly) chilled dark red, Couvent des Jacobins 2005, an upgraded Saint-Émilion Grand Cru.
Diving back into the splendour of the sea, we were served a milder tasting dish of confit cod, freshly sourced from Billingsgate in the morning, it’s subtle flavours enhanced by the a sweet and nutty romesco sauce.
The final ‘main’ was a the Longhorn Onglet, sourced from a fifth generation butcher in Chipping Barnet, which was served rare. Both dishes were paired with Dido 2013 from Montsant vineyards close to where Chef Jordi grew up. Quite peculiar for a white to accompany red meat, but then again, what do I know about wine…
It was lovely nonetheless, and personally, I would happily accept anything that is poured into my glass. Keep my glass topped up and you will definitely be in my good books.
Our portions of Vinothec (deconstructed) cheesecake were indeed of ‘sumptuous quality’ as described by DB, but unfortunately not of sumptuous ‘quantity’…
I tend to have mixed feelings about ‘deconstructed desserts’ – I still have nightmares about the horrendous excuse of a dessert served at a pop-up in Farringdon a couple of years back, which failed badly in both presentation and taste.
This however was actually pleasing to the senses, and the perfect portion size if I had decided to utilize my fork ring, which I tend to have in hand (or ‘on finger’) for emergency purposes.
All these taster size dishes all so teasing and tantalising, and just beckoning for me to come back for more…
You also may have noticed from my Instagram posts that I have recently started to ‘live-doodle’ on menus – only the take-home menus mind.
It does prove quite difficult for more substantial dishes without my army of coloured pens…
A special word of thanks to Mr Blyde, Arnaud, Keith, and all the fine staff at Vinothec Compass for a pleasant evening.
I shall hopefully be back soon to sample more of your fine wines and food (and particularly that cheesecake).
The Cheekster, signing out x