Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Blokes Eat Beef

John Cadieux - Goodmans

With an average of 1.5kg of beef per person, Blokes Eat Beef was always going to have to be addressed on a thoroughly empty stomach. A few of us met for cocktails at HIX for pre-dinner drinks. Note to self - not for the thin-walleted drink enthusiast. After introductions, some stimulating conversation and two fantastic Plymouth Martini's, I suddenly became far more wide-eyed in fascination with the world of cocktails. Simon has an infectious excitement in his voice when talking about cocktails and the history that encapsulates them and I found myself taking mental notes of the fascinating facts to bring up at a later date. I live in Bournemouth where I find most things quite modestly priced but London quickly kicked me awake when the kind barman handed over my bill for £28! I think cocktails could be an area I may have to dip into sparingly at the moment.

We wandered over to Goodmans for 7pm to be ushered into a large private dining room where Chardonnay and Rose was offered to the congregating males. Rose and Chardonnay doesn't sound too blokey though does it, looking back at the thought of it has me conjouring up images in my mind of dainty men with man-bags and chinking their glasses of white wine. But let me intervene right there and state that it was a room where you could smell the testosterone in the air. The cavemanesque look in the men's eyes were of blood and dead cows. Does that sound more fitting? I sat myself down between Foodurchin and Essexeating and tried to calm the nerves in my already butterfly-filled stomach. Frank Hederman had flown in with some of his acclaimed smoked salmon and prior to our not one, but two starters he gave a talk on his processes to the macho mob of hungry listeners. The smoked salmon was the best I have ever tasted. Thick and silky, Frank Hederman smokes the salmon with beech wood chips rather than oak which makes for a much smoother smokiness without being too overpowering.

John Cadieux also took to the centre stage as did David Strauss who captivated their audience between courses explaining the lives the breeds of cow live before they are led to slaughter. Trays of the beef were brought into the room for us all to stare at, which made me feel like I was in the Flintstones due to the sheer volume and size of the cuts. A plate of Belted Galloway was passed around the room for us to smell. "It smells like a corpse." was probably the quote of the evening and what is more disturbing though is the fact we all loved the aroma from the offending meat relishing in it's fragrance. The delivering of beef was continuous all charred beautifully from the charcoal grill downstairs. I struggled to keep up with exactly which meat I was being fed partly due to the wine and it's affect on my body and partly due to the animalistic instinct taking over as I gorged on the slices of steak and gnawed on bones. The sides of creamed spinach, thick cut chips, mushrooms and béarnaise sauce could almost have been described as a distraction to the main event but creamed spinach and béarnaise are hands down my favourite accompaniment to smear over steak.

The whole time our glasses were filled, topped up and replaced continuously with a fantastic Argentinian Malbec by Catena. Some seriously pongy Stinking Bishop featured on the cheeseboard before our table took our turn at being shown the bounties of the meat room and the charcoal grill downstairs in the kitchen. I had a fantastic evening, thank you to everyone, especially Simon, for organising such a great night. The wine got the better of me which resulted in a brief rest of my eyes whilst my digestive system screamed for more blood to cope with breaking down so much meat. As I wandered off into the night pleasantly pissed, my coat saturated in the stench of smoked salmon and meat, I felt a little like Champagne Charlie as I made my way home at least 1.5kg heavier.

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