Ok ... as another year catapults itself towards the silly season, going to the Bouzy Rouge for our Christmas celebration seems oddly like coming round one full circle ... only because the pub under its previous divy moniker was an afterwork drinks hangout for many a year ... and would have continued to be so had it not been for a panicked re-structure ... much like the one I am currently facing now ....
In fact some of the people left behind were still hanging out at this now upgraded watering hole ... I saw P's cheery surprised face as I got out of the taxi with the lovely JM (one of my stalwart referees) beside her. Some things never change I guess! And the lovely D was there ... I'm glad I wasn't around for the fall out from his relationship with M!!!
In its recent nebulous past,, 470 Bridge Road was home to the Dover.
Or the Bendover as we used to call it .... many a Friday evening spent drinking and smoking in its bare as bones courtyard with the wonky umbrellas and the dodgy gas heaters threatening to blow up at any minute .. or at least it felt like it .... getting suitably slushy before respective partners came to collect us for dinner ... those were the happy times of raucous laughter and good-natured bitchiness .. but never a false word spoken between us ...
The Bouzy Rouge is a whole different kettle of fish ... overwrought and sumptuous but suprisingly comfortable, apart from a few structural similarities, there is narry a hint of its strikingly blue predecessor ... the building now presents itself as a white block with subtle middle eastern touches ... the food is modern australian but of suitably high quality to match its prices ...
Tonight however was absolutely gratis ... and our motley crew (for the most part) resolutely out to wring every last cent possible from purse strings soon to be tightened so close as to allow only the minutest grains of sand to pass through ..
We started our evening with champers in the kitchen and the traditional kris kringle ... I was pleasantly suprised by my itunes voucher which I will spend unashamedly on Pop! Things were starting off with just the right amount of crazy ...
We were saying farewell to another year and to a couple of our partners in grime .... but this is giving too much away .... all I can say is that my mates can be proud of the fact that in their efforts to harrangue as much free booze into our collective systems, they have managed to provide me with the experience of having a hang over like no other the day after ... and apart from being extremely lethargic I have never had a hang over the next day ... so its officially a first and threatened to get in the way of our scheduled cook-up ... but do not fear ... our cook up went ahead and more of that later.
I digress ... again ... not giving too much away lets concentrate on the food ...
We opted for the $55 a head set menu (we didn't really opt for the numerous shots and G&T's that came our way ... but we downed them just the same ... erm TN ... I can't believe that was your first taste of a G & T?? How is that even possible?)
After everyone had turned up at our relegated table, we were greeted with bread and some Humus? And the cutest bottle cooler out ...
For the small plates we got:
chilli salted calamari with mixed cress salad
The calamari was cooked to perfection but it was the cress salad that was a revelation - the dressing had just the right salty acidity that I like ... I couldn't really figure out the flavours although there was certainly a hint of balsamic ...
king prawns with chilli garlic and lemon
There are still those amongst how who cannot look their food in its face ... (erm ... pathetic!!) so I scored 2 prawns which like the calamari was seared just on the edge of being over cooked ... sshh ... don't tell my doctor.
Most people baulked at the Pate ... KQ said it tasted like sick ... hehe .. kinda!! Who knows what the other 2 prosciutto type meats were, but the darker one was superb ... the menu wasn't really much help and I got the feeling that the waiters were a little run of their feet .. so not breezy convos on what we were eating or drinking for that matter ... tetch!!
roasted peppers, mozarella and basil
The only vegetarian component (we had 2 in our midst) for the entrees ... you could whip this up at home ... its nice ... particularly as a palate cleanser ... but if I was ordering .. then this would have been an afterthought.
For mains, the star attraction was the paella which was not too bad ... it led us to talking about the Robbie Burns hotel in Smith Street ... now there's some excellent paella ... and apparently Movida has opened another branch in bigger surroundings ... so they're now serving up paella as well ...
bouzy rouge paella
We also had beef fillet with garlic and some lovely oven baked fillets of fish ... could have been snapper ... but whatever it was it was yummy.
roast beef garlic and rosemary
oven baked fillets of fish
The vegos had to order ala carte, but AP's Gnocchi was superb ... I'm no gnochhi fan but I could have easily finished that plate off.
house made potato gnochhi with gorgonzola and pear
We were pretty tanked at this stage but were pleasantly surprised when the churros turned up ... although we were soon mildly dissappointed at the taste and texture ... most of the peops at the table had recommendations of better.
Let me just say that I work with a pretty crazy bunch ... the young 'uns are a source of constant amusement ... I don't try to keep up ... some try their darndest (clue!) to keep up and fail miserably ... others do and succeed with sheer exuberance and the wit to back it up ... I must say that WF paid me a great compliment (but that is our little secret)!! And if I was straight ... well ....
So from a bunch of crazies a very early-ish Merry Christmas to you all!!
(i wanted to insert a pic of TN here ... but ... respect!!)