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Dr John Hawkins

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Birthday: Champagne and Vegetarian Kara Age

Posted on 2010/03/28 11:58:55 (March 2010).

[Monday 15th March 2010]
It was my birthday today. Didn't really plan very much, just thought I'd have a quiet evening with Chie.

We started off with a visit to the 1707 wine bar in Fortnum and Mason - I'd been eyeing it up for some time as it is fittingly next door to the wine and spirits department in the basement of F&M, but hadn't actually got around to trying it until now. I liked the notion that you could buy almost any bottle of wine from the actual shop next door, and drink it in here for a fixed corkage price. Given how some restaurants and bars charge add a ridiculous markup on wine compared to shop prices I really liked this very honest and straightforward approach.

They have a "champagne of the month" which this month was Billecart-Salmon: a favourite of mine, and one you don't see so often in the UK (although I have a feeling it is getting more popular recently). Better still they offered this as a flight, so I could try three different bottlings in one sitting at a relatively modest price. Started off with the regular NV which was zesty and citrusy, then moved on to the rosť which had blackberry notes, and ended on the 2004 extra brut, which to me had a nose of cream cheese (or perhaps brie?) and black pepper.

After our very enjoyable champagne tasting, rather than eating out this evening, Chie was keen to cook one of my favourite meals: a vegetarian version of "kara age" which I find scarily addictive.

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