Tom takes heart in The Gallery

Really delighted with The Gallery’s new venture hosting jazz in its basement bar. The room’s perfect for jazz; it has character, with sofas and chairs strewn around somewhat haphazardly, its own piano, great acoustics, and… available, as upstairs in the main bar.

Deciding something substantial was needed (I hadn’t eaten for at least an hour or so), I cleverly constructed an order comprising of the baked mushroom and cream cheese crêpes, with chips accompanied by mayo and ketchup. Clearly, my creativity knows no bounds.

I have to say I was most impressed by such a simple dish being so satisfying. Plenty of mushrooms in a well-made pancake, and the cream cheese flavours blending in to create a very decent dinner. A handful of ingredients, a plateful of enjoyment.

Chips were also very well executed; and fears that the little bowls of sauce might not be sufficient proved unfounded (I do prefer a bottle of ketchup on the table – makes me shudder with intense anxiety thinking there might not be enough).

Less pleasurable was the complete absence of the stated kale, and “purple sprouting” (let’s assume broccoli). Ironically, this didn’t spoil my enjoyment, as I only realised afterwards, but items entirely missing have to be classified by this greedy writer as a serious food crime.

But let’s focus on the numerous plus-points. A fantastic jazz band, good wines (I enjoyed a Hungarian Pinot Noir, which was delicious), a great atmosphere, and Sunday night pub food very nicely cooked.

Sunday night blues? Pah!

Whisky and cheese? Yes please

This Tuesday, The Gallery on Broadhurst Gardens is hosting the next in its occasional whisky tasting sessions. This time around it’s whisky & cheese.

Tickets are £10, for which you get to try seven whiskies and matched cheeses. All the profits (i.e., whatever’s left after paying for the cheese) will go to The Winchester Project. Tickets are selling out, and you need to head to the bar to get one, so I would recommend doing so asap. Plenty of whampers are going to be there.

I went to the whisky & chocolate session a few months ago, and can honestly say it was great fun (and good value). Once again, Colin Dunn, Diageo’s Whisky Brand Ambassador, will run the masterclass and he’s an old hand at this sort of event. Last time around most people were whisky novices, but I think everyone really enjoyed it. I don’t think of myself as a whisky novice – certainly my drinks cabinet* suggests otherwise – and I thought it was great. Oh, and the “tastes” are pretty generous!

*cardboard box on the floor

Tom gets autumnal at The Gallery

A gang of cheery West Hampstead locals descended upon The Gallery in Broadhurst Gardens to drink wine, talk rubbish, and have a bite to eat on Saturday night. I’d already had dinner of sorts (something I kept quiet), but the menu tempted me, partly as I’d been meaning to try the Autumn salad for a while. Tangy, creamy goat’s cheese worked well with little bricks of sautéed sweet potato, on a bed of leaves (salad ones, not leaves from the pavement outside). At £7, it wasn’t too expensive a dish, but for me a little light; next time I’ll happily eat the same, but accompanied by breads or chips.

Other plates around the table were very well received, such as the salmon, and lamb, both of which were also elegantly presented. I liked the Chilean Merlot, and the Pinot Grigio seemed popular too. All things considered, it’s easy to see why this bar is popular.

Glancing up at the drinkers above us looking down on proceedings, reminded me of one of my typically gormless comments a year or so ago, when I lazily asked “why’s this place called The Gallery?”. Sometimes, I’m better off keeping quiet and just sticking to my drinking.