‘Tis the season for Christmas parties! I’ve never worked in a company with more than a couple of people before (and for the past few years it’s just been little old me), so I was excited for my first proper office Christmas party which was the Friday before last. My workplace hired out the Champagne Lounge, a private dining room at Must Winebar in Highgate. I’d been hearing about the amazing food at Must for ages, but hadn’t gotten around to having more than a drink from their extensive wine collection.
After rushing home from work to slap on some makeup and coif my hair (literally, I will have to find a photo), I arrived at Must just as Ms N was putting the final touches to her handmade place cards in the upstairs Champagne Lounge. This private dining room is so named because the walls are lined with display cabinets filled with different varieties of champagne with a wide spectrum of prices (the most expensive I saw was over $1000!). Big sparkly globes hang from the ceiling like giant champagne bubbles, hovering over the long dining table. One waiter hovered around refilling our wine glasses, with others coming later to serve our food.
placecards made by the talented Ms N
I have to apologise for the lack of decent photos – dim lighting, copious amounts of wine and not really knowing how to use my Speedlite did not make for the most successful photography evening for me!
The evening started with sparkling wine and canapés, whilst our bosses made their speeches about the year that went by and plans for the future. I’m going to admit to forgetting what most of the canapés were, but I think they included the Little Spoon of Prosciutto di Parma, Pickled Beetroot & Herb Mayonnaise and Mini Pork Meatballs with Romesco Sauce.
Little Spoon of Prosciutto di Parma, Pickled Beetroot & Herb Mayonnaise
For entrée we had a choice of a mushroom tart or beef carpaccio. My slice of mushroom tart had a perfectly crisp pastry crust, a rich mushroomy filling piled with greens and caramelised hazelnuts. Although I think some people ordered the carpaccio thinking it would be bigger than it was, the response once they tasted it was very much positive.
For mains we had a choice of Char-Grilled Dry-Aged Butterflied Beef Rump, Creamy Potato Pie, Shiraz Jus or Seared Salmon Fillet, Warm Saffrom Potato, Fennel & Tomato Broth. Cooked to a beautiful medium-rare, the quality of the steak really shined through – although as always, a 250g steak is simply too much for me! Thankfully I ended up being seated next to a colleague who was more than happy to eat my leftovers (and the leftovers of the rest of the table!). I think all but two of twenty went for the red meat, so I didn’t manage to get a detailed opinion on the salmon other than it being delicious.
Tight as my dress was beginning to feel by that point, there is always room for dessert! Our choice was between Citrus Créme Brelée, Raspberry Sorbet, Sesame Snap and a Chocolate Mousse (which I can’t find on their menu for a more detailed description). I can’t resist that wonderful moment of cracking a créme brulée with a spoon, and this one didn’t disappoint with a crisp crust and gooey centre. I was distracted in conversation at the other side of the table before realising dessert had arrived so the raspberry sorbet had sadly began to melt by the time I got to it, but it had a beautiful colour and intense flavour.
Char-Grilled Dry-Aged Butterflied Beef Rump, Creamy Potato Pie, Shiraz Jus
Mushroom Tart (entrée); Citrus Créme Brelée, Raspberry Sorbet, Sesame Snap (dessert)
Impeccable service and impeccable food – Must Winebar is an amazing venue for an intimate function (as long as I’m not paying for it). It’s usually a bit too far out of my price-range, but now that I’ve been I can definitely see myself returning for a special occasion or nice glass of wine or two.