So I popped to the Dorchester Grill for dinner, what with the place having had a pimping spruce-up. Having left the world of plump cushions behind me - the hotel hall is awash with them - I entered a lush cloud of gold and orange. The room is ornate. Of course it's ornate. The very word could have been invented for it.
We sat on a corner banquette with its butterscotch leather. Nice. Comfy. Good room viewage. And then I admired the vast array of copper pans that deck the back wall of the open part of the kitchen. It's actually a fabulous work of art. All those lovely old pots and pans used as decoration.
The menu is nice and simple which is a good distraction from the chandelier, a chaotic sort of coral-inspired thing of vastness. You can choose the likes of razor clams, a Caesar salad, scallops or a cheese soufflé. The waitress suggested I try the lobster chowder, which they are, apparently, proud of. It's on the menu as 'Our blue lobster chowder'. No one else's ok? It's theirs.
And quite right too because it was wonderful. Rich, creamy, an old-fashioned type of soup, presented in that modern style of being given a plate of little slices of lobster and chives over which they pour the soup. It's not a trick I like actually. It rather gives me the fear. It dissembles the cooking process in front of me and I reckon the soup should be brought together in the kitchen.
Then I ordered off-menu asking if they had a rib of beef for one. The menu had only one to share and my guest was sticking to fish.
They did and it was a thick, tender, pink, charred and joyous piece of meat. The chips were a little too pale and neither thin nor thick, and the salad had a little too much dressing on it. But I coped and then we finished by sharing a chocolate soufflé.
But don't think this is the end of it, just a summary of some fancy dishes. Because the highlight, the treat, the really memorable thing was the wine.
We drank wines by the glass an experience that was heightened to epic measure by the fact that each glass was poured from either a magnum or a jeroboam.
It started with the nicest Gruner Veltliner I have tasted - and I have tasted many having gone through a GV obsession the other year. This was a 2010 Lamm - Schloss Gobelsberg. Not too sweet, perfectly dry, elegant and I could have drunk the whole massive bottle. Then with my beef came a really chunky methuselah of Saint Julien from Le Petit Caillou (2012). This was actually a rather ordinary cabernet sauvignon and so I swiftly piled into the magnum of Mersault that my friend had been gulping from - Les Tillets - P Javier from 2011. Crisp, clean, golden and so tickling to keep seeing the big bottle returning to the table for refills.
But the biggest excitement of the night was a wine from Alsace, a Pinot Blanc from Josmeyer. This 2013 vintage has an amazing hint of cigar. I could have drunk it for ever. And the bottle was so beautiful. It was like those tall thin bottles you get from that part of the world and don't fit in your bloody fridge door. But this was magnum stylee. So tall and thin it nearly reached the ceiling. Actually it didn't look unlike the sommelier who was equally thin and high.
I could spend days looking and admiring that bottle and years enjoying its flavour.
I love it when I leave a place with my head stuffed with some new nugget of delicious knowledge. I must seek out a bottle and buy a fridge especially to accommodate it.