Sadly, I didn’t get to note everything down, plus I am sure there is more than enough for you all to scan through here to keep your interest sated until the juicier titbits of events/beer festival updates and recipes come along (there are plenty lined up!! As those who have been following the twitter feed can attest).
Let’s start with some beverages, which are now freely available somewhere near you.
First up is something in a very fetching blue bottle (not Blue Nun, seriously… you people), which has been brewed and marketed slightly differently by Adnam’s Brewery (of Broadside Bitter fame). Adnam’s Spindrift is held within a very flashy container and premium at 5% abv, although the handpulled beer is only at 4%. This blonde style beer is a heady citrus blend with some wheat beer character thrown in at the end of the tide, the drink is deeply pleasant and has plenty of flavour but will also be something I will stock up on for Summer, available for £1.50 (at time of purchase) from Morrison’s supermarkets – I recommend doing the same.
As some of you might have noticed, I have gently plugged the next ElectroKemistry event here and on the Facebook page, tickets are going to be available very soon, stay tuned to the twitter feed for release. With this event in mind, there was a fair amount of research to be done in terms of wine selection for the lucky punters to attend. I’ve drunk a fair amount of new world Chardonnay to try and pick something out to give people a fair crack of the grape. I’m not going to spoil the surprise of the selected wine, but here’s some of the others (in reverse order of how I ranked them) that were tested with a brief review and ranking in case anyone wants to go seek them out….
5. McGuigan Bin no.156 Chardonnay (2012) – Australia (SE) - £5 at Sainsburys/Tesco
An example of melon and peach flavours in a Chardonnay, though slightly less pronounced than most of the others reviewed. There was some vanilla sweetness present and a smoothness to the body of the wine and slight biscuity undercurrents. Unfortunately, there was a touch of unpleasant sharpness and the wine was pretty short, all things considered.
4. Wolf Blass Winemaker’s Selection Chardonnay (2012) – Australia (SE) - £6.99 at Morrisons
Definite white stone fruit are at the forefront of this wine and the melon ripeness is highly evident. There is some oak, but not strongly defined on the palate. The wine is, overall, nicely balanced with a crisp finish, alas there is a lack of length as with number 5.
3. Redbridge Creek Chardonnay (2012) – Australia (New South Wales) - £7.99 at Sainsburys
This wine was full bodied with a slightly creamy mouth feel, there were plenty of peach and apricot present and a good spritz of citrus to bring balance to the wine. There was, alas, very little by way of length here to follow on from the fruit.
2. Crux Gisborne Chardonnay (2011) – New Zealand - £7.99 at Morrisons
This Chardonnay is very drinkable with a cream and good balance, there are plenty of tropical fruit and some honey notes in the flavour. The wine is very fresh, fruity and well balanced, the finish is also distinctly fruit laden.
1. Hardy’s Nottage Hill Chardonnay (2012) – Australia (SE) - £5 at Asda, £8.99 in Sainsburys
The Nottage Hill Chardonnay was well rounded and as full-bodied as a Chardonnay can be, there was some faint vanilla and a creamy/buttery mouth feel to follow from some storage in oak. There were good levels of acidity and tropical fruit and melon flavours providing balance. The wine had a pleasantly dry finish with some lingering fruit.
ElectroKemistry Review - Amber Wine Bar, Rose Lane, Mossley Hill
Having heard quite a few glowing reports about the establishment (apparently) made famous in that god-awful ‘Desperate Scousewives’, both through social media and in a few online reviews by those who had made a visit prior to my fellow diners and myself I felt it was time to give the place a visit. Our visit was on a Sunday afternoon, looking for somewhere to provide a roast dinner plus other options for those not particularly fussed on a Sunday tradition.
The interior is pleasing enough; it looks somewhat like a cross between a bistro and a current-fashion living room with suitably comfortable seating arrangements. The service and greeting were good, no issues with the demeanour of the staff who were helpful and smiles. Upon being greeting by the sound of babies in stereo, there was slight feeling of deflation having hoped for a relaxed quiet affair; the sound of Sinatra was just at the right level, alas the sound of three babies competing for oxygen and attention was not really in keeping with what we had hoped. Onward and upward, nevertheless.
The menu on a Sunday comprises a set 1, 2 or 3 course dinner with incremental pricing, all of which it has to be said are pretty reasonable. The wine menu looks good enough for a bistro style restaurant with no insane mark-ups on the white or the red wines; however the fizz does take a leap into the deep end of pricing, comparatively speaking. The only major aberration on the drinks menu would be the absence of any decent beers for those who are not planning on drinking wine. One awful (nitrokeg) bitter and two average lagers do not exactly set the world alight, for myself at least.
When the starters arrived in the form of a chicken liver pate, it has to be said they were definitely on the generous side, although the pate was rather sloppy. A side salad, onion chutney and toasted ciabatta were all served with the pate, which despite the perplexing texture, tasted pleasant enough. The main courses were at differing ends of the spectrum from delicious to disappointing; roasted hunks of lamb served with ample pools of rich gravy, watercress and neat spoonfuls of mashed potato looked excellent and judging by the willingness of the lamb to fall from the bone, were cooked as such.
The roast potatoes were anaemic and undercooked, the mashed potato was a touch overseasoned in compensating for the lack of seasoning for the lamb, but the other vegetables, gravy and texture of the meat were pretty much spot on. The fish and chips with mushy peas presented a different set of highlights and disappointments; the fish itself was excellent with huge flakes of sweet cod wrapped in a golden sepia batter shell, alas the chef had failed to drain the oil from the fish completely and the bottom of the fish was soggy, as were the chips unfortunately. The desserts were well presented and received no complaints from any quarter.
It was certainly a case of missed opportunities with the meals on our table; some good, some bad with a frustrating level of execution in some areas. The basic things are all there, decent produce and a solid menu (at least for a Sunday) are promising, but these small errors provided the snake to the hard work and presentation’s ladder. A return visit to sample the a la carte menu midweek will be a further requirement before solid judgment is passed. For the moment and based on this visit, there can be some satisfaction drawn from the efforts; but the undercurrent is that of being underwhelmed.
In other news, the Electrokemistry Introductory Wine Tasting event is now settled - 20th July and will cost £12 per person for the wines and cheese, it will start at 4pm promptly. The location will be divulged upon receipt of an email confirming interest at: firstname.lastname@example.org - be very quick though as most of the places have already been booked!!!
That's all for now folks!!
See you next time.