From across the capital (and beyond) they came, braving arctic conditions and the vagaries of London transport. They crossed rivers, trekked ice-bound wildernesses, clambered up treacherous stairs and made their way, swaying and clanking, through tunnels deep underground.
Why? To get to one of the events of 2010, the bloggers’ xmas lunch. No fewer than fifty bloggers found their way through snow and wind to The Ship, a beacon of warmth and light perched on the south bank of the Thames. A pub full of friendly folks chatting, eating and drinking.
The lunch, superbly organised by One Million Gold Stars and The London Foodie, was a chance to meet up, chat, and break bread with many people I had met, and many others I knew only from online chit-chat. It was wonderful. Everything office parties could be, but never are.
We all trooped in, a river of people flowing through a slightly bemused pub, all a-flutter about places to eat, dishes to bake, who had eaten where and what had they had? It was great, like a giant family gathering. And being bloggers, you can read about it all over the place. Here are a few other accounts:
One million gold stars: “#bloggersxmas lunch at The Ship, Wandsorth”
The London Foodie: “2010 Bloggers Christmas Lunch at The Ship Wandsworth”
Fernandez and Leluu: “Bloggers Christmas Lunch at The Ship Wandsworth”
Cook sister: “The Ship, Wandsworth, for a food blogger Christmas lunch”
From chopsticks to steaknives: “A magical lunch at The Ship Wandsworth”
They all cover the food, so I won’t bang on too much about it other than to say it was excellent. You can see in the pictures that it looked the part. The thing is, it tasted damn good too. And the fact that they brought out food of this quality to fifty people and kept the rest of a very busy pub happy says a lot (of good things) about their kitchen.
Mini crab cakes were a perfect appetite-whetting start, not too spuddy and full of intense crab meat. The ham hock terrine was chop smackingly meaty and the roast venison manged to be both tender and full of gamey flavour. Not as easy to manage as it sounds with this lean meat.
The cheese was fab – proper wedges of smelly unpasteurised joy accompanied by a fabulous home made chutney. And the Christmas pudding was dense and sweet and full of booze. Rib stickingly, almost indecently, good.
The bits and pieces of everybody else’s food that I nabbed (hey, this was a collection – a herd? a dinner? a swarm? – of food bloggers after all) was equally good. And that’s before I even get onto the wine. We had a fruity and light Beaujolais, a deep and peppery Rioja, a rounded and well balanced New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc and a couple of superb dessert wines.
Oh yes, and the pub laid on pints of Dark Star porter and a spicy Bloody Mary that left a whisky warmth in your gullet. Generous? I’ll say they were. It was so good that lunch over ran it’s allotted two hour slot by a good three hours or more. Did the guys at The Ship mind? Hell no, they pulled up a pew when they could and joined the chit-chat over whisky and more wine.
So would I recommend eating here? What do you think? Of course I would. The food was really very good indeed and not just tasty, this was well thought out and well executed too. I’d even – deep breath – cross London (and the river) to eat here again. I bet it;s wonderful in the summer, munching your meat over looking the river. Magical.
And it all came to £25 a head. Amazing value.
The Ship, 41 Jews Row, Wandsworth, London, SW18 1TB, 020 8870 9667 www.theship.co.uk