Following the energetic consumption of sake the previous evening, our original plans for Valentines lunch were right off the rails. Crossing my fingers, legs and eyes, I dialled the Ealing Park Tavern on the off-chance that they had a spare table for an early dinner. Thankfully, Lady Luck has been having an affair with Cupid, and we snaffled the last table for a 6pm sitting.
Hussyband went back to bed for a few more hours of Nurofen induced sleep, whist I snuggled up and caught up on various downloads and imagined the juicy offerings we would be digesting in a few hours.
Arriving at the pub just after 5, we managed to hop into one of the leather sofas by the fire for pre-dinner drinks. A couple of glasses of Spago Ruggeri Prosecco from Italy for me, and a pint of Old Speckled Hen for Hussy. To accomany them as a pre-starter, we shared a half dozen of Mersea Oysters with a red wine and shallot vinaigrette, before heading into out table right on 6pm.
Knowing how large the courses are here from a previous excusion our first week in town, we decided to share the entree of Seared Foie Gras with Tempura Quail. This was my first foray into foie gras, as back in Oz, there is a pan on uncooked foie gras being imported into the country and as a result it can be difficult to obtain (although that has now changed and importers are allowed to bring in poached or semi-cooked foie gras.) Hussyband stuck to his Old Speckeld Hen, while I chose a glass of La Paz Central Valley 2008 Merlot from Chile. The foie gras was buttery and evil, and paired beautifully with the quail that was coated in more of a salt & pepper crust than a traditional tempura.
Mains saw us go our seperate ways (fork speaking). I went for a good ol' english roast beef (bloody rare) with yorkshire pud and all the trimmings including a home made horseradish cream, paired with a Reserve Tooma River Warburn Estate 2008 Shiraz from Oz (somuch for me avoiding Aussie and Kiwi wines for the first 6 months!) It was the first time I have actually enjoyed yorkshire pub - it was crisp at first, then wonderfully soaking in gravy by the end. The shiraz was full and meaty and perfect with the beef.
Hussyband went for a saddle of rabbit wrapped in prosciutto, still sticking with the OSH (he didnt want to risk mixing drinks after last night). He waxed lyrical by saying nothing at all, as his mouth was stuffed and all I could get from him was an occassional moan of pleasure and rolling of eyes.
We shared a pud of chocolate and hazelnut sable with a salted caramal icecream (churned on site). I cannot say enough good things about the icecream - I can live on good caramael, but the addition of the salt took it to another level. And chocolate is always good.
For the record, they smoke their own fish and meat on the premises and to quote the bottom of their menu...."Our fish may contain bones, our game may contain shot and our nuts definitely contain nuts."
To finish, I sipped a wonderfully icy lemoncello to build my bloody booze quotient up to a standard where I wouldnt freeze outside, then we braved the nite air for the bus home, before snuggling up in a contented puddle.
A thoroughly replete evening.
Ealing Park Tavern
222 South Ealing Road, W5 4RL
T: 020 8758 1879