The idea behind a Christmas get-together for food bloggers came about after a slightly drunken night (ok, a rather drunken) night at an event hosted by Uyen. We got to see lots of blogger pals there very briefly, as these things generally run, and thought it might be fun to have a lunch to round off the year.
The first place I thought of, and the first place I called, was The Ship in Wandsworth. It’s not exactly local to me but from their tweets and knowing a little of them, I was pretty confident that the Ship ‘get’ bloggers. I reckoned they’d be game, wouldn’t be scared of curious diners arriving bearing DSLRs and bottomless stomachs, and would put up their “A game” to boot.
It’s always nice to be right. Getting there and seeing that the hashtag #bloggersxmaslunch was on the menu amused me no end.
When I first rang Oisin, the manager of the Ship. he wasn’t in the least phased at the thought of 30 bloggers (I was a little wide-eyed every time I’d check in with the lovely Luiz LondonFoodie, my co-conspirator, and find it had grown again, and again, until the list numbered almost 50!), and immediately put together a varied and rich menu which he sent to me within twenty-four hours. Oh, and he mentioned that he could probably get Robin Knapp and Sarah Joll from Cockburn and Campbell to sponsor some wine. He thoughtfully suggested that £3 of the £25 menu price could be donated to the Variety Club. We pre-ordered to streamline service on the day, hoping to have cleared the restaurant by 2:30 to allow them to do a second sitting. It was the last Sunday before Christmas so it was bound to be busy (I did wonder what the single non-blogger table in the restaurant made of us!) What actually happened was that the last of us bowled out of there about in the early evening, after finishing eating then sitting down with the brilliant staff to chew the conversational fat for a while, so that they might have a vague chance of doing it all again for dinner.
Because I took so few, horrendously bad photos, blogging about this lunch had disgracefully slipped my mind until I read this post about service this week. It just served to remind me how brilliant all of the staff at the Ship were, particularly Oisin and Emma. While they got us seated, with complimentary pints of London Porter and Bloody Marys in our hands, through serving up five courses of inspired fare with matched wines, to sitting around chatting with us afterwards. Such a fun afternoon, and I know we’ll be back – particularly in the summer. If you’re organising an event and want a great, relaxed setting, I’d highly recommend them.
And rather than bore you with some blurry shots of the beef and the amuse bouche (and the dessert wine – oh that orange muscat!) I’ll direct you some of the great write-ups instead; LondonFoodie, CookSister, From Chopsticks to Steakknives. A fab afternoon, got to meet some lovely new people though as ever, not enough time to chat! Given the interest that #bloggersxmaslunch inspired on Twitter, there may well be some similar events this year (do let me know if you’d be keen to descend as part of the next posse). I’m off to come up with a list of establishments to approach!