Preparing for British winter at The Castle

We’re coming up to our first full season of winter here in London and while we’re excited for snow, Christmas markets and hot toddies, we’re also excited for proper British feasts. Think Yorkshire puddings, boats of gravy and freshly caught game all enjoyed while snuggling up by the fire.

We recently had our first experience of a proper UK cold-weather dinner at The Castle in Tooting, part of the Young’s Pubs collection. Titled ‘Heritage Breeds Paired With Robust Reds’, the dinner saw us tuck into British classics like partridge terrine and beef wellington paired with big glasses of red from France and Australia.

The Castle Tooting

Training to become the 2018 Great British Bake-off champions

To start the evening off though, we were led to a very Masterchef/ Great British Bake-Off looking area where we were given a bit of a run through on local English produce. After plucking our own pheasants, sampling some UK oysters and charcuterie and guessing what mysterious native veggies lay on a table before us, we were sure ready to enjoy a hearty meal.

We were seated in a rustic dining room where we were talked through the wine pairings by the very engaging Karen Hardwick, who had put plenty of thought into ensuring each dish was brought alive by the wine.

The Castle Tooting

Sourdough bread and butter

To begin, we had to restrain ourselves from filling our stomachs with the generous basket of baked potato sourdough, fermented for 40 hours and baked with rosemary and poppyseed. Served with butter, goats milk butter and drippings, it was salty, savoury heaven in our mouths. A welcome glass of champagne started us off, Perrier-Jouët Grand Brut NV, a classic drop that was light and citrusy.

Our restraints were rewarded however when the partridge terrine came out, served with pickled beetroot and parsley root remoulade. Presenting a tasteful mix of wild boar venison, partridge, brandy, shallots and juniper berries wrapped in bacon, it was chunky, meaty and tender, perfectly flavoured by the accompaniments. Highlighting the pickled elements of the dish was the Lethbridge Pinot Noir 2016, a home-grown wine with plenty of body that had us feeling nostalgic.

The Castle Tooting

Rotisserie dry aged rib of beef and short rib wellington

Next came the heart and soul of the meal, rotisserie dry aged rib of beef, short rib wellington and salt baked roots. The tender and rich rib had been marinated in treacle, orange and thyme to give it a deep and vibrant flavour, while the wellington was wrapped in light puff pastry and served with pumpkin puree, hazelnut watercress and zesty pesto to cut through the heaviness of the meat. Having enjoyed plenty of native Australian roots, veggies and plants before we were beyond pleased to find a large bowl of British root vegetables on the table, with dark purple carrots, soft potatoes and a number of other delicacies we’re not familiar of the names yet. Paired with an indulgent two glasses of wine, one the Katnook Estate Odyssey Cabernet 2012 (from our beloved Australia again) and a French Château Batailley Pauillac 2012, we were in foodie heaven (and a slight food coma).

Finishing off with a bay leaf custard tart with a caramelised top and an exorbitant Beauvale Blue cheese spread paired with a glass of the sweet Château Suduiraut, we were stuffed to the brim and ready to roll into bed.

The Castle Tooting

Bay leaf custard tart

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a proper British feast, Young’s Pubs will be holding a number of game and wine evenings through from October through to the end of November. You can find out more about those here. For those who wouldn’t mind dabbling in a little light-hearted bake-off fun, The Big London Bake holds fun and exciting challenges for you to enjoy with friends or family.

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