New Years Eve

Weather is still grey but at least it’s dry. We spent the early part of the day getting stocked with the essentials, including a visit to a whisky specialty shop, then went for lunch near Trafalgar Square.

After lunch, Scott and Allie went shopping, while Robin, Sidney and I went to the National Gallery to see the exhibit, The Sacred Made Real, which paired a number of Spanish paintings of Christ suffering, saints martyred and the mourning Virgin Mary with Spanish painted wood sculptures of similar and even exactly the same subject. I found some of the sculptures rather creepy as some were life size with extreme detail of blood and wounds, and a beheaded John the Baptist head. It’s supposed to evoke an emotional reaction but mine was nothing like what was intended. We did a quick look at some of the highlights of the National Gallery collection before meeting up with Scott and Allie.
The Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square viewed from the National Gallery.
We returned to the flat for some pre-dinner libations before we tubed to our New Years Eve dinner reservations at Maze, one of Gordon Ramsay’s many restaurants. The menu was a seven course dinner with some choices for starters, main and dessert. This was the soup, pumpkin with bits of duck on the bottom, a latte foam and truffle oil. It was accompanied by a mushroom on toast.
We were seated by the red wine cabinet, which is why I’m smiling.
The choice of starters was beetroot with a chevre type of cheese and a red wine dressing, or smoked mackerel tartare with olive jelly.
Duck terrine with raspberry jelly and a celery salad on the side. The brioche toast with olive oil is peeking out from the napkin it was wrapped in.
The fish course was halibut over oxtail with a broth of red wine and leeks.
For the main course, we all chose the lamb which consisted of a lamb chop with lamb tongue, cabbage and mint jelly accompanied by a shepherd’s pie.
This was followed by a blackberry and apple trifle with an almond cake.
The “main” dessert was either chocolate delice with honeycomb ice cream or a trio of lemon desserts: lemon meringue filled with a lemon ice cream, citrus curd with basil sorbet and lemon sherbet.
The final course was petit fours of blackberry, apple and vanilla.
The meal, of course, was accompanied by a Bordeaux wine, Chateau Haut Bages Averous and a lot of water. I tried to pace myself and only finished the soup but by the end was really full even though the pace of the meal was slow enough almost everyone else managed to eat each course. Our meal started at 8:00 and we thought we’d be finished well before midnight but we realized that we were going to be a lot later when at about 10 minutes after 11, a bagpiper trooped through the dining rooms in celebration of the Hogmanay, supposedly a nod to Gordon Ramsay’s Scottish heritage.
We had not yet had our desserts. Our plan to walk a bit after dinner was changed to taking a taxi so we could be back to the flat to ring in the new year; however, that was foiled by the traffic generated by people trying to get to the fireworks which are shot off on the Thames River near and on the London Eye. We ended up getting out of the taxi and hurrying back to the flat while fireworks were shooting above us. We caught the last of the fireworks on the telly and rang in the new year a bit late, at least, by British time.

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