7.57am, Tuesday 12th October, The Camber, Old Portsmouth, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom
Where was the fun and laughter in Portsmouth last night?
Where we were!
David, Karen and Josie have got a sensational combination of restaurant, bistro, wine bar, beer garden, sun porch and wine shop with a tasting bar – all wrapped up in the walls of an old 400-year-old pub, 20 yards back from the dockside, behind the fishmongers. We had a lunch with the Royal Navy boys – specifically the naval aviators folks, and particularly the helicopter pilots – the elite operators at the tippy top of the tree! – as they’re great supporters of the Abar Bistro. Top blokes, and we’ve even made three of our favorites honorary Australians – in the photo left to right you have Charlie, me, Jock, Emma (our area manager for all parts south of London) and Tim. Some days you just have to love your work!
Then we had a dinner with the same menu and wines for the good wine-interested folk of Portsmouth. A few old friends from last year’s event – and more new ones. And then the fun started all over again. What a treat to work with a kitchen that understands wine! Here are the courses folks, matched beautifully with the wines, and to be honest, I’m not sure which one to single out as the best, as they were all so good. Not a crumb went back on the plates, so that tells its own story.
- Scallop paella with the 2008 Yalumba Wild Ferment Chardonnay – again we bring people back into the Chardonnay fold with fruit and elegance, and you can just about reach in and pop that scallop in your mouth.
- Roast haunch of boar – first time taste for me – and the Cabernet Shiraz double header of 2005 Yalumba Signature and 2002 Yalumba Reserve. The bed of caramelized onion and the sauce did it for me.
- Pear frangipane tart with the 2009 Heggies Botrytis Riesling – light flaky butter pastry, sweet pear crossed with the honey nougat citrus splash of the Riesling – too good!
- And as a flourish at the end chevre with pecan nuts and the Yalumba Antique Tawny.
We played wine options with the 2008 Yalumba Barosse Shiraz Viognier being the mystery wine, and local birthday gal Caroline is now the reigning top Portsmouth palate.
And us? We’re off to breakfast with Dave and Karen from Camber Wines at the top morning spot in town – The Tenth Hole Tea Rooms. Thanks to Camber Wines, the whole crew from the kitchen to the beer taps at the Abar Bistro, the RN aviators (and Pete the air force ring in magician, and Captain Simon from the Kent) especially the unforgettable Ben Nevis chopper rescue pilot Martin. But mostly , thanks to the good folk from Portsmouth who have adopted us and want to see us back. See ya when it’s June, and the Last of the Yalumba Summer Wine time, and we’re back in Pompey!