Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Work Christmas Party and Sunday Brunch to Recover

This Christmas Season is taking its toll on me. Two major daylong hangovers in three days is showing my age, and with a few more to come. How am I gonna survive.
Years ago hangovers were a weekly occurrence, nowadays they are becoming less and less frequent. Although, all my recent ones have involved copious amounts of strong Belgium beer, consumed on empty stomachs. Schoolboy errors.
Choosing the right venue for a Christmas works do, requires some delicate choosing, as you have to make sure everyone is happy. But since I work with quite a few Indian men whose idea of a good night out is, well basically is to get pissed. Easy choosing.
So all we needed was a large lively venue, a bit of food and lots of free booze. I think it took us about 30 minutes to choose our venue, and with a week to spare we were impressed anything was available.
I’m not sure who actually picked Guanabara as our venue, but it turned out to be an ok choice. Well it had all the ingredients for a Christmas party.
Large spacious venue, lively music with a good crowd of party folks, and the most important thing, the boss’s credit card behind the bar.
I started the evening off in Lowlander, having a couple of beers before waiting for everyone else to turn up. It was a big error, as nearly everyone else went straight in to the place, as they were getting free booze. Why pay for something when someone else is paying. Doh !!!
As soon as I entered I found out it was 2-4-1 on cocktails. A couple of mojitios came my way pretty quick. Then another two, and maybe two more. This all before we had sat down to eat. It was going to be a real messy night.
The normal menu at Guanabara does have some classic Brasilian items on it, like Feijoida. That wonderful black bean and pork stew. However the Christmas menu was about as Brasilian as the weather outside. I’m not even gonna try and beef up the food. It was pretty bad. It was real boil-in-the-bag-brought-in-and-heated-up-type-food. The crab chowder was bright red and pretty tasteless. My boil in the bag lamb shank was pretty tasteless, but the mint sauce had some kind of minty flavour. The pudding, which was some kind of passion fruit mousse, was pretty thick. I think I had one spoonful and that was about it. Couldn’t do no more.
I was here to get drunk, and drunk I did. After dinner everything got a bit fuzzy. I think it may have been the cachaças I was consuming through dinner. Thank the lord I never had any caipirinha, as the sugar would have blown me away. Something about sugar and alcohol my body cannot take.
I don’t actually remember leaving or getting home. But thankfully I woke up on the bus two stops form my house. Phew.
Guanabara is what it is really. This is a party venue and it does it very well. The food is pretty pants, but I didn’t expect anything else. The vibe is excellent, and my fuzzy memory has nothing but happy thoughts.
Waking up the next morning was a bit of a mare, but somehow I managed to struggle out of bed and make it to the Hawksmoor on Commercial Street for some well needed brekkie. Although it was nearing noon, so we could of have their famed roast, but as we had it at the Seven Dials branch a while back. So we opted for the breakfast to kill all other breakfast. The Hawksmoor Breakfast for 2 to share and costing £30, was the same price as two roasts.

Someone made a comment a while ago that this branch is more set up like a club than a place to have a roast. I can see the point. Very elegant and cool, much more designed for big steak eating than hungover Sunday brunch eating. But I like it here more than the Seven Dials restaurant. More cozy here. Plus it was quieter which was good for my head.
The waitress took pity on me and was filling up my glass of water every few minutes, I was expecting her to offer me an anadin.
I ordered a London Pride Pale Ale, which was supposed to level out my blood-alcohol level. It worked but it took me forever to finish that glass.

The breakfast was a sight for sore eyes. In no order of excellence were a Smoked Bacon Chop, Sausages, Bubble and Squeak, Trotter Baked Beans, Fried Eggs, Bury Black Pudding, Bone Marrow Trotter, Grilled Mushrooms, Roast Tomatoes, Good Toast and Gravy. I think that was all we had. Damn my memory is still there.
The waitress suggested to us to have the black pudding with a dab of English mustard and some malt vinegar. It kicked arse. Never thought of using malt vinegar on anything but chips. What a philistine I am.

I have to say that was one hell of a brekkie. Maybe the best I have ever had. But to cut through the hangover I had it needed more grease. But if I had wanted that I would have gone to the café near to my house, which looks like a good café. One day soon.
Hawksmoor seem to be hitting all the right buttons with me at the moment. The only thing I haven’t eaten there is what they are famous for and that is their steaks. Next visit. 

Guanabara on Urbanspoon
Hawksmoor on Urbanspoon

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