When an invitation came through for an evening of “Golf and Gastronomy” from Douglas Blyde, who is an independent gastronomy consultant, there was no way I was going to turn it down. Although I am not a good golfer by any means I do enjoy it as I come from a very golf mad family.
I arrived at the Greenwich Peninsula golf driving range after some thorough instructions and I was proud of myself for not getting lost. If you know me you know I am not the best at directions at all so that was the first highlight of the evening amongst many!
Inside the building was an American Golf store so you can purchase any golf related items if you wish, and opposite was Vinothec Compass, our beautiful venue for the evening.
Basically a wine lover’s heaven! The wall is lined with amazing bottles of wine and you can purchase one to drink there. I know I will be back to do this as there were so many unusual wines which I would love to try.
As I was the first to arrive, armed with a glass of Cava Conde de Haro from Rioja Bodega, Muga, I was given a tour of the venue by Douglas. The view, of Canary Wharf, was so pretty but you can guess why it was not my preferred view 😛 We watched in a daze as boats sail by the golf course and it all took a little getting used to but it was amazing. You could hear the sound of the golf balls being hit and it added to the venue’s quirkiness.
Once all the other guests arrived, it was time for a spot of golf. We were given a mini lesson and then we had the chance to have a few shots each. The backdrop was beautiful and I will definitely be back here again as the driving range is stunning.
Feeling peckish, we headed in back to the restaurant where we sat down to a beautiful Basque inspired meal put together by Head Chef, Idoia Guzman, and paired with different wines, chosen by Keith, one of the co-founders of the restaurant.
We started with a small plate of anchovy, stuffed chilli and olive which was paired with Itsas Mendi’s ‘7 Txacoli’.
Next, we were given a lovely warm shot glass filled with Jerusalem artichoke, blended with rocket and almond pesto. Now this combination was always going to be a dream! Pairing it with wine, though, is a hard task, but Keith succeeded with an ‘illegal’ unfortified sherry-style from Sanlúcar – La Bota Vino Blanco ‘Florpower.’ This was so delicious and it certainly got everyone’s attention.
Then arrived a Basque black pudding served with a Padron pepper with shimmery salt crystals on top. This was so delicious, the texture was melt in your mouth, and just to die for. This was paired with Txacoli, poured sheerly, and also Basque, Sagardoa Sidra. By this point I was already a bit merry.
We shared then shared a salad which had the biggest tomatoes I have ever seen! This was served with onions, chives, olive oil, and accompanied with freshly baked flatbreads topped with anchovy, olive and basil, and ricotta, pancetta and truffle. Both dishes quickly vanished and they were served with a modern style of Saperavi from Georgia.
Our penultimate dish was a confit of cod fresh from Billingsgate market and served with a pepper and tomato ragu matched with a white Priorat, which went with it beautifully.
The final savoury dish was a Belted Galloway onglet served with a well decanted Olifantsberg Syrah from South Africa’s Breede River Valley. This went so well with the rare beef and sweet potato gnocchi, which was superb and served unusually in a block shape.
We were treated to a spectacular dessert of poached white peaches with pistachio Anglaise with a touch of rosemary. The flavour combination was just wow and we enjoyed it with a a Swiss sweet Sauvignon blanc by Favre John and Mike, which I need to get my hands on.
Then came a tray laden with shot glasses of espresso cocktails garnished with fresh mint. The coffee used for this cocktail was from artisan roaster, Francis Bradshaw at Moon Roast (Hampshire). The base of the cocktail was not vodka, as per a traditional espresso martini,, but 49% Sonoma County Rye from pot stills, aged in American oak barrels. It was just amazing and I think everyone had a happy smile on their face after it.
We had a fantastic and really fun evening and it is definitely a venue I will go back to. It is perfect for a day out as you can play some golf at the range, and then settle down to a fantastic meal and some excellent wine in the restaurant. That is certainly the plan for me!
For more information go to: http://www.vinotheccompass.com
Our evening was complimentary but all views and photos are my own.