Normally, I would answer, ‘yes’. I think it suits my complexion quite nicely, so much so I’ve just bought a coat in that colour. But normally, I wouldn’t be standing in the beautiful dining room of 28°-50° Wine Workshop and Kitchen on Fetter Lane with a lot of people who are very familiar with Burgundy, as in the region of France and the wine… not the colour. So I played it safe, and stuck with a sheepish ‘not really’ and reached out for another salt cod canapé.
I like to consider myself a wine enthusiast. I’m very enthusiastic about drinking it and learning about it (especially after my trip to Bordeaux) but the people in this room were the true enthusiasts and connoisseurs, they actually knew a thing or two about the tipple. We had only been served the first wine of the evening, a glass of Chablis, Le Basde Chapelot, Vocoret 2013 and the room was already abuzz with excitement. There were still three more Burgundy wines to come, each paired with a dish, and all punctuated with expert food and wine commentary… Bottoms up!
If someone paid me a pound for every time I uttered the words ‘I could murder a burger’ or ‘a glass of wine would do nicely right now’, I swear I’d be a gazillionaire. Sinking my teeth into a juicy patty sandwiched between a soft bun, or sipping a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc after a long day are two wonderfully comforting experiences I often engage in. Separately. My simple food logic dictates that burgers go with beer, and wine… that goes with everything else, they just don’t go together.
Ben’s Canteen would beg to differ – they set out to challenge this simple logic of mine (and maybe yours too?!) by matching the two together. And because they obviously take their burgers and wine very seriously, they made not one but three pairings… And yes, because I am a self-proclaimed burger enthusiast, I happily tried all three.
Every couple of weeks, a certain someone likes to remind me he’s just a working class man, a man of the people… a man with a humble upbringing… you get the drift. He usually launches into this spiel when I’ve unknowingly (ok, sometimes knowingly) bamboozled him into dining at a restaurant you might call pretentious or poncey. In case it wasn’t abundantly clear to all and sundry, my working class man is not a fan of these establishments, but let’s not confuse his distain for the pretentious with a dislike of fine dining because you can have the latter without the former.
We are actually quite fond of fine dining; I like beautiful plates of food, I like luxurious ingredients and elaborate techniques, and I, rather frivolously, like using more than one set of cutlery throughout a meal. It’s not something we do every night, but of course there is a time and place for it. What we don’t like is a sterile dining room where everything is fifty shades of white and the lighting has gone a step beyond dim and romantic to just plain dark, or an atmosphere so cold that you’re longing for the coat the frigid maitre’d just whisked away. We don’t feel at ease, there’s absolutely no desire to be there any longer than we have to.
I used to dread people asking me when my birthday is because I knew that once I told them I would be faced with those pitying looks and sympathetic remarks assuring me it’s not that bad. You see, I have what most people deem to be an unfortunate birthday. All you late December babies out there will feel my pain, but only those of you who also have birthdays within days of Christmas will truly understand the suffering. We generally get upstaged by Jesus.
Throw in the fact that my birthday is smack bang in between Christmas and New Year and you get the idea why I don’t usually celebrate it. There’s no point organising a shindig because people are either away on holiday or too skint to come toast to me getting another year older but none the wiser. So sometimes I like to celebrate my half birthday instead because June seems like a much more civilised time of year to have a birthday and in case you’re wondering, it was yesterday. Yep, happy half-birthday to me… all belated birthday wishes and gift are welcome, particularly if they involve food or drink.