I went to Roast the other day for lunch. I was invited to partake in a social media experiment where we bloggers were invited to help out with making up a menu for our readers. So I found myself overlooking Borough Market last week in the bar of Roast. Along with me were my fellow bloggers, eatlikeagirl, spittoon, intoxicating prose, gourmet chick, and gastronomy domine as we all sat down to lunch with Frazer Thompson (Chief Exec), Guy Tresnan, (Sales and Marketing Director) and Owen Elias, (the winemaker )of Chapel Down. Roast’s philosophy is all about sourcing and using seasonal British produce so it’s only fitting that they partner up with Chapel Down wines of Tenterden, Kent. I’ve visited Chapel Down and enjoy their English sparkling wines so I knew that we’d be in for a treat!
We started off with the Chapel Down Brut Rosé ’06, a sparkly rosé made up of 100% pinot noir, a bit on the sweet side, strawberries and cream came to mind while we were sipping it. Once everyone arrived, we sat down to business. Chef Lawrence Keogh went through a brief presentation of what we’d be eating and then he turned the show over to Owen. I felt a bit sympathetic for Owen when he explained he had to wing it on the first matching as he was unable to do a proper food and wine match beforehand but I think his choice of the Chapel Down English Rose was a fine one. Although the smoked Etive trout with Dorset crab cakes had quite an intense flavour, the rosé had enough acidity and red fruit flavours to stand up to it. One minor quibble, the scallions sprinkled around the plate did seem to overpower the wine, I followed Spittoon’s lead and set mine aside.
When we sat down I had a brief glance at the menu and saw haggis as the second course! Having never eaten haggis but having heard numerous, shall we say ungenerous remarks, my hopes were not high but Chef’s Keogh’s Ramsey of Carluck haggis with celeriac and oxtail sauce was delicious. I seem to remember scrawling meaty oatmeal somewhere on my menu, really that’s what it was like but oh, so tasty. It had a nice hint of pepper which I was not expecting. Chef Keogh says his aim it to showcase British cooking and he made a haggis convert out of me. Two wines were paired with the haggis, the Chapel Down Vintage Reserve Brut and the C.D. Regent Pinot noir, NV. I think the pinot noir was perfectly nice and light with some lovely spice and pepper on the palate but I thought the Reserve Brut was a much better match. I love bubbles though so I’d probably pick that anytime over a still wine! The chef also brought out a bit of black pudding for us to try while we were eating the haggis – such a delight, expertly cooked, crispy on the outside with a nice meaty chewiness to it, perfect!
Next up was the star for me of the meal, slow-roast Wicks Manor pork belly with mashed potatoes and Bramley apple sauce – a mouthwatering delight. Just the sight of the pork crackling laying like a blanket over the meat was enough to get my stomach rumbling. The Roast Bacchus Reserve 2007 was served along with the pork and was a good match. Aromatic and floral on the nose, the fatty full flavours of the pork were sliced down like a scythe by the mouthwatering bacchus, leaving my palate nice and refreshed, a lovely well balanced wine with enough heft going on in the glass to not be overshadowed by the rich food. The Chapel Down pinot blanc 06 was also served, another great choice, again quite full bodied, loads of fresh apple on the nose and palate and considering it had 20g/l of sugar, suprisingly dry with excellent acidity. I quite enjoyed that wine with the apple sauce and pork.
After all that there was still more – desserts, yeah, not 1 but 2 to sample and match. First up was a spiced clementine custard with anise biscuits, plain and simple, someone commented that it was like a pannacotta topped with fruit and I’d have to agree, not to exciting. It was paired with Chapel Down Nectar 2007. Not quite a dessert wine, elderflowers and orange notes floating around the glass. Even though it was served with the custard, I thought it was a better match with the second dessert, the Warm Chestnut and Conference pear cake with hot chocolate sauce. I’ve had the Nectar with chocolate desserts before and just seems to be chocolate’s perfect match. The Chapel Down Cinque Ports Classic 2006 was served as well, a honeyed white wine, again those aromas of elderflower and jasmine dominating.
What a lunch and I do it all for you. That’s right. Roast and Chapel Down took all of our feedback and have come up with a tasting menu for all of our readers. There is going to be a special evening service on Nov 24th at Roast consisting of the following menu
– On arrival, a glass of Chapel Down Brut Rose
– Ramsey of Carluke haggis with celeriac and oxtail sauce, with a glass of Chapel Down Rondo Regent Pinot Noir NV
– Slow-roast Wicks Manor pork belly with mashed potatoes and Bramley apple sauce, served with a glass of Roast Bacchus Reserve 2007
– Spiced clementine custard with anise biscuits, served with a glass of Chapel Down Nectar 2007
– Tea or coffee
All for £44.50. Just quote “Chapel Down Roast Bloggers Dinner” when you book your reservation (0845 034 7300). As an extra special offer Chapel Down is also offering the fabulous Pinot Reserve 2004 for a remarkable price of £99 for a case of six including delivery to any UK mainland adddress. This wine would normally be £150 plus delivery. Christmas gifts sorted!
All you need to do is call the vineyard on 01580 763033, ask for Lizzie or Wendy and quote Blogger offer.
Chapel Down also produce ales and porters and we were offered Admiral’s Porter with lunch as well as the wines. Frazer tipped us off to the next big thing, an English Black Chestnut, consisting of Chapel Down sparkling and Admiral’s Porter, an English verson of Black Velvet, if you will. Despite the appearance of the porter, it was a refreshing and fruity drink. We just lapped it up.
After that fabulous lunch it was time to get to my real job but I wish I could have hung around a bit longer as I know there was still a bit of that fizz left!