Thursday, 5 November 2009

Oh Wot a Nite

Some pictures from yesterday

Eggs Benedict at the Foreign Exchange restaurant

The Nations tribute to Sir Kieth Park

The man himself
RAF guard
Rooftop security
Former Leader of the Conservative Party Micheal Howard arrives

Boris doing what he does best - spouting off!

Sir Kieth in his temporary home on the 'Forth Plinth'

and so to 'last night'. We met our mate Stephen Williams in the newly opened and highly recommended St Alban restaurant on Lower Regents Street for what was to be a most memorable evening. The food and particularly the wine were exquisite, while the ambiance and decor were perfectly complimentary, but unfortunately the service was a little slow. Stephen, MD and owner of the world wide fine wine company The Antiques Wine Company has been using this eatery since opening and he was not slow in letting them know of our concerns. This for me was a once in a year occasion and as such started with poached duck egg on a bed of watercress and the most delicious black pudding I have ever eaten. Perfectly complimented by a 2007 Tenuta Falkenstein Pratzner Riesling, the other 2 had the Frois Gras. They also chose the same Black Pork Belly as a main course, but I couldn't resist the Yorkshire shot Red Grouse (year tick), all accompanied by roast and creamed potatoes, roast carrots and spinach. The boat was certainly pushed out on the wine front, but with the master himself making the selection there was little, if any, chance of disappointment. The rule of thumb is, always serve the best wine last, so it was a Brunello di Montalcino 2001 (a '77 vintage of this fine Toscana, some years ago remains the best wine I have ever drunk) in the first place, followed by a very special Spanish '95 Vega Sicilla Unico. While we opted to forgo 'duff' a note should be made of the bread, which among a varied selection included fennel sticks which with a drop of Italian 2005 Pinot Nero 'Krafuss Estate' was about as good as it gets. Stephen generously footed the bill for the wine, but even then we left £630, between us, lighter. Maybe I should have said earlier, once in a 'lifetime'.

By now the witching hour had been reached and it was agreed definitely 'game on', so we taxied to the Dover Street Jazz and Blues bar, now celebrating its 30th year in existence. Under these circumstances it is usually better to buy an inflationary priced bottle of wine than individual drinks, but it was quickly decided this would be the first and last here as the club had seen better days. The 6 piece band,playing Blues classics was, to be polite, crap so we soon moved on to Nam Long a Vietnamese restaurant cum bar cum club, owned by the worldly Mr Thai. He and I got down to some serious reminiscing about Hanoi and Saigon (for heavens sake don't mention Ho Chi Minh City) as I had been there more recently than our senior host. We made the acquaintance of several of his clientele, while I struck a chord with security head Adrian Kellett, nephew of the late wrestling legend Les Kellett, an amiable giant of a man when I mentioned my home town. It was the place where he first found love, and for a fair amount of what was left of the evening it was Julie, Julie, Julie! Before we departed Thai indulged us in a nightcap (or more correctly a morningcap) and a chauffeured ride home in his Merc. We slept through breakfast waking at about 09-00.

This morning we visited the Saatchi Gallery of which we had received conflicting advise, some saying not so good with others highly praising. For my money it's well worth the visit as sited in Chelsea, easy to access and free to enter. Below are a few photos from our visit which we found most enjoyable, especially Yuan & Yu's 'Old Persons Home.

Got to finish now as just an hour before the return National Express, but before doing so a good hotel is The Melbourne House Hotel, 79 Belgrave Road, London, SW1 V2BG 0207 8283516.

The Saatchi Gallery, Sloan Square, Chelsea

The most thought provoking thing I've seen this year!

The Chelsea Wheelchair Formation Dancing Team

Coming to someone near you soon!

It's all MINE
Andy contemplating what he looked like a few years ago

My favourite piece in the gallery

The artist of my favourite piece in the gallery

Crosses are Green and Crosses are Blue

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