If you follow my ramblings on Twitter, you will probably have seen me gushing over a well known Scottish Brewery - BrewDog. You will also know that my job at Manifest means I do the PR for them. This blog post could come across as biased, but it has been the most memorable meal since I stopped blogging (bar Hawksmoor at the weekend), so I'm going to carry on gushing.
On January 25th, London was graced with the co-founder of BrewDog, James Watt, for Burns Night at The White Horse in Parsons Green. An evening of classic Scottish food paired with BrewDogs finest craft beer. Now, I'll openly admit that pre-Dog I wasn't exactly a beer connoisseur. I have always been a fan of an ice cold beer, but I was one of the many unlucky brits who put up with tasteless, yellow lager and had never been introduced to the weird and wonderful lagers, IPAs and stouts that grace our pubs and shops. I'm definitely no expert, but if I was blindfolded and asked to differentiate a Fosters and 77 Lager, I have no doubt I'd be able to.
Oh, and I just love food. So I was very excited for this evening. We had a table consisting of Chris, Helen, Fiona, Laurence, Adam, Claire and the Manifest crew. The first course was haggis spring rolls with spicy chilli sauce, paired with Punk IPA (5.4%). I was a little apprehensive about this as I had never tried haggis, nor really ever wanted too. However a few Alice Porters beforehand gave me the confidence to dig in.
I had no idea what to expect, but images of gristle and a liver like consistency were haunting me... however, it was wonderful! Deep and rich, with the batter and chilli sauce giving it an oriental feel. It was a much needed baby step to conquering my fear of haggis, and all washed down with the classic Punk IPA, it was a pretty spectacular dish.
Next up was the dish I was most excited about, and it didn't fail to deliver. Scottish salmon sashimi with soy sauce and pickled cucumber, served with Hello, My Name Is Ingrid (8.2%). The salmon was meaty and thick, going perfectly with the bite of the cucumber and saltiness of the soy. It could have been quite overpowering, but Ingrid came along with her candied malts and made everything fit together.
The next course was the classic Cullen Skink, and I have to say it was definitely my favourite course. Full of smoky flavours and big chunks of fish, soaked up with some homemade bread - I felt all warm and fuzzy inside. Those feelings were only amplified by the accompanying beer, Bitch Please (10.5%). With the beer, it was a pretty full on course - possibly too much if you're appetite wasn't as huge as mine.
Now I may have taken steps towards liking haggis, but was I ready for a whole slab of the stuff? Thanks to a Punk, a Bitch and Ingrid, my fears were a little clouded. So I dug in to the main course of Mini Mcsween haggis with neeps and tatties. I have this thing about textures, it's why I hate the likes of mushrooms and black pudding. Now that the haggis was in it's natural state and not encased in crusty pastry, the budding relationship started to falter. The first few bites were lovely. Again, very rich and robust but complimented beautifully with the fluffy mash and flavourful veg, but it took some effort to finish the plate (I always finish). The other guests were making all the right noises and pretty much every plate was clean - so it was definitely a hit, I just think my leap from the spring rolls to a full on slab of the stuff was too much too soon. The main course came with Alice Porter (6.2%) which went down a treat as I think it's my new favourite (sorry, Tokyo).
In between the main and dessert we were presented with a Tactical Nuclear Penguin float - a 33% stout topped with ice cream and drank like a shot = AMAZING.
Dessert was a raspberry cranachan served with Black Tokyo Horizon (15%). I won't lie, by this point I had forgotten how too chew, let alone taste, but I finished it within about 45 seconds. The night ended in hops being thrown, transfers being stuck on and a blurred journey home. Brilliant night.
I didn't get much of an outfit post, but here is the tattoo and TNP T-shirt I wore. Anyone would think I'm an advocate for BrewDog.