John MacTaggart, food spokesman, did an excellent job as ever with descriptions of the savoury beef roll and jelly, beetroot marinated salmon on pumpernickel, and “L’escargot dans l’escargot”. Brendon Winter, our wine spokesman, was not quite as fulsome with his praise of the Xarel-Lo, his opinion with which I concurred.
Dining in earnest started with a colourful presentation of Duck confit “Pâté en croûte”, red onion jam, pickle, and mustard seed sauce. John loved the pastry crust and the pâté, and its accoutrements. Promised by Thomas Boedinger (our wine Fuhrer) to be a contentious choice, this was served with 2015 Claus Preisinger Pinot Noir (Austria) which Brendon came to like more as the lunch proceeded and the wine warmed up. Beef consommé, braised oxtail and porcini came next. I personally would like to see consommé more often on our tables and this was a fine example of how it should be prepared. It came with 2012 Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon (South Africa) which proved to have been an excellent find “from a bin-end”.
Begrudgingly but truly in jest, Kiwi Brendon said it was “not bad”, easy on the nose, with a great body – exactly as many African ladies have been blessed.