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Dr John Hawkins

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An evening out with Chie

Posted on 2009/03/12 22:04:33 (March 2009).

[Wednesday 11th March]
Quite a mixed bag of an evening. Chie had got this invitation through her company to an "event" at Pink on Jermyn Street, which turned out to be little more than a late night opening with a slight discount and a complimentary glass of wine thrown in. I wasn't really that taken with any of their shirts so after ten minutes of polite browsing we left empty handed (and as a matter of principle I didn't have any of the free drinks, knowing I had no real intention of buying anything).

After that we decided to go for a quick drink whilst we mulled over what to do for dinner. So we thought we'd give the Albannach on Trafalgar Square a go. It's a Scottish restaurant which I'd heard had a bar with quite a large selection of whiskies. It was... ok I suppose, but I'm always very cynical about this sort of thing in the UK, and it still pales in comparison to the Whisky Society or the unassailably excellent Quercus Bar in Tokyo.

Whilst the Albannach did have a fairly respectable selection of whiskies behind the bar, they generally fell into one of two categories - the standard distillery bottlings which I was already very familiar with (and therefore there seemed no point in paying over the odds for in a bar like this), or the occasional independent bottling which tended to be really very pricey indeed. Moreover I think I was the only person in there drinking whisky, and the fact that a fairly non-extraordinary Ardbeg Uigeadail cost about 10 quid (plus service charge!) may have explained why. (I believe a bottle is only about 40 quid in most shops). I was also a little unimpressed by the barman describing one bottling as a "single cask, limited edition" - clearly the latter half of that descriptive is entirely superfluous. Still, in a way, oddly satisfying - I have often complained about the lack of good places to drink whisky in London, and if I actually found one I would realise my complaints have been entirely unfounded.

Somehow we came upon the idea of trying out an English restaurant called Porters for dinner. Again, it was OK I suppose - I suspect a lot of their customers are foreign tourists, but they did seem to make a bit of an effort. I had these sort of croquettes made of leek and potato, which were ok, albeit perhaps a bit bland - the one saving grace being the little platter of three interesting and different mustards they brought along on request. Apparently they were their own brand, and all really rather tasty.

We rounded off the evening with one last drink at a pub I had wanted to go to for no other reason than it had nice bay windows at the front - the Nell of Old Drury. The interior wasn't quite as architecturally interesting as the frontage, but it was nice enough nonetheless.

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