Julian's Toast to the Club

Some Members

Boeff en brioche

As served

The Desert

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© John Farren

Sunday 5th Febrary 2017

        In early February forty members of the Berkshire Branch celebrated their 400th meeting in style in the delightful surroundings of the Waterside Inn on the banks of the River Thames at Bray. After champagne and canapés and a warm welcome from Diego Masciaga, the General Manager, members sat down to enjoy lobster served with mango and avocado, followed by fillet of Angus beef cooked en brioche with mushroom duxelle and a tarragon jus; in this case en brioche involved the meat first being wrapped in pancake to absorb the moisture plus a further layer of pastry. Alternative dishes were cheese soufflé as a starter and fillet of seabass with truffle sauce as main course. The final course was a plate of four miniature desserts, followed by coffee served ith mignardises.
       In some respects the event was a departure from normal practice for a branch that has always emphasised the central role of wine appreciation and whose regular meetings consist of a tutored wine tasting followed by a meal provided by one of the branch's own members. As one might expect, however, the accompanying wines served at the Waterside did not disappoint. After Michel Roux's house champagne, members enjoyed a 2011 Chablis sélection personelle from Étienne Defaix, and a 2010 Château Vieux Guinot Saint Émilion with the beef; a 2014 Pacherenc de Vic Bilh Saint Albert was served with the dessert. All the wines were beautifully balanced, not least the Chablis, whose typical minerality was offset by a smooth richness on the palate.
       At the end of the meal members warmly applauded chef patron Alain Roux, and the branch's Honorary President, Julian Jeffs, proposed a toast to all who had helped to make the event such a success. That list must undoubtedly include the branch's own chairman, Colin Mair, who had offered a musical prelude to the subsequent culinary delights by giving a short recital on the recently restored organ at St. Michael's church, including music by Brahms, Buxtehude, Handel, and Samuel Wesley. Ian Roe

The Waterside Inn

Chef Alain Roux

Diego Masciaga