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Deer Santa...

Gordo at London Carriageworks eats the best venison ever. Just don't tell Dasher, Prancer, Comet etc....

Written by . Published on January 4th 2011.


Deer Santa...

LIFE gets good for Gordo when three ingredients’ are mixed into a night out; good wine, great company and fabulous food.

The service is difficult to fault, mainly as it was fault-less. The room is class and the view with assorted cathedrals and Grade I and II-listed buildings winking at you at every turn, lends exquisite atmosphere.

Which is what happened at a special dinner in the The London Carriageworks, courtesy of Chef Patron Paul Askew, one of the North Wests’ great chefs and a pal of Gordo. The dinner was being held on the Hope Street Hotel's top floor which, perched like a condor’s nest peering down on Liverpool city centre and beyond, is arguably the best private dining room in the region.

Paul’s food, as always, was exemplary, the stand-out moment being a loin of Lakeland venison Wellington, easily the best venison ever eaten by the fat one.

The construction of the main event was perfect, the pastry rich and buttery but… that bloody venison was outstanding. Writing this brief article a while after, there is no need to read the notes: it was one of those dishes that sticks clearly in the mind, like re-running a video that you can taste and smell this very day.

The service is difficult to fault, mainly as it was fault-less. The room is class and the view with assorted cathedrals and Grade I and II-listed buildings winking at you at every turn, lends exquisite atmosphere.

Paul had chosen the winemaker well. The Jackson Family Vineyards were showing two of their estates: Byron, the Californian vineyard featured in the US hit film Sideways, as well as Yangarra in Australia.

This area is a beach, sandy, but a beach that has never seen a sea; hundreds of millions of years ago it was part of a mountain range that has been totally weathered down; the vines are producing grapes that are distilling the results of mind boggling periods of time.

The Yangarra Viognier 2009 was a high point for Gordo on the whites, a classic dry wine well suited to benifit from this peculiar Aussie terroir and the fact that the area has a relatively cool micro climate. Where it lacks wild flowers it makes up in spades with minerality. Worth buying.

Dimitri Mesnard, one of Jackson’s Master Sommeliers, was commenting on the reds he was showing, in particular the Byron Santa Maria Valley 2008, served with the venison.

“Thirty per cent of pinot noir is rubbish; 40 per cent is OK and 30 per cent is great. It is actually a notoriously difficult grape to grow well, it absolutely must start with the soil.”

To Gordo’s mind most of the 30 per cent great is probably French. But the Byron estates have been well chosen, this was a very good effort.

Last but not least another Yangarra, the Mouverdre 2008. From Gordo’s notes, “total earth, blueberry muffin”.

The company at dinner were all excellent good fun; the lads have promised to take Gordo on the lash. Sorry we haven’t made it yet guys, but don’t forget.

Let’s not forget the beautiful Mary, who patiently put up with Gordo helping himself to her veggie menu all night while he made rude remarks.

London Carriage Works
40 Hope St
Liverpool, L1 9DA
0151 705 2222

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NeilDecember 27th 2010.

Great Crimbo dinner here. Congrats to all the staff for making it a memorable day

BlinkersJanuary 2nd 2011.

That room upstairs is spectacular. Well worth one of Paul's dinners.

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I will visit this place once the management and staff have got their act in order.

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