The Horse & Groom, Guildford

2014-07-10 21.53.50

Birthdays should always be celebrated, even if you do it some time after the actual event.  It’s the one day of the year which really is just for you.  In particular, Thursday nights are always a good night for a celebratory pint or two because if you over do it, you only have to drag yourself through one more day of work before the weekend starts…  Tonight’s celebration was for ‘Gordon of the Blood Orange‘ post who’s birthday passed a couple of weeks ago.  More importantly, we were not only celebrating the passing of another year but also his success following an unplanned request to deliver an important presentation to a large group of work colleagues with only two days to prepare.  Anyone who has been asked to do this will remember the moment in only one of two ways; cheery ‘here-we-go-again’ abandon or ‘unmitigated dread’…

Thankfully, Gordon is a hardy Scottish chap and was not to be fazed by this request even when the prepared presentation arrived without a single written word on it.  Clearly his skills as an accomplished public speaker were to be tested to the full…!  Six rehearsals later and the promise of sharing the stage with a certain Sir Clive Woodward resulted in plaudits from many angles and a day to remember.  Nice one Gordo…

Now to the custardly comments.  Tonight’s dessert menu served up another opportunity to see what the chef was made of and he made a reasonable attempt.  Presentation is always important as first impressions last, so imagine my surprise when it arrived in a coffee cup.  You could argue that by providing a handle to hold, the likelihood of burning a finger on a recently grilled piece of chinaware would be diminished.  Possibly a good thing, and one way to keep the ‘no win, no fee’ claimants where they belong.  However, I see the presentation of a brûlée in part an art form and therefore the selection of a random piece of coffee cup crockery probably the product of a chef under time pressure or perhaps a full dishwasher…

Firstly, it came with one of the home-baked butter biscuits dusted with icing sugar upside down on the plate.  Secondly, the sugar topping was under caramelised with some of the grains undissolved. The custard was however light and a little on the sweet side but it was certainly not heavy or curdled.   My final comment concerns the basic temperature of the custard before the caramelisation occurs.  In my view, it should be room temperature although I’m sure there will be some food health guidance which would recommend against this… This one was fridge cold.  6/10. 

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