For our Dinner this year we returned to the City of London and the Innholders’ Hall, a venue we’d not visited for over thirty years. We were particularly looking forward to this evening as the meal was being prepared by the resident Chef Director, Herbert Berger, a Michelin Star chef.
Pre-dinner drinks were embellished by a number of very tasty appetisers for those who arrived early enough to enjoy them. We were then give a short talk about the long and interesting history of the Innholders’ Company and their unique venue before moving into The Great Hall to dine.
The Hall was resplendent with full height oak panelling, stained glass window, fireplace, chandeliers and a seventeenth century Minstrels’ Gallery. Fortunately the hall was large enough to accommodate the record turnout of eighty nine Old Southendians.
The meal certainly lived up to and probably exceeded our expectations!
We started with a parsnip, cider and apple soup with truffle oil, uniquely served in a small cup. This was followed by smoked haddock risotto with soft quail’s egg, leeks and English mustard velouté.
The main course was fillet and slow cooked brisket of lamb with persillade, tarragon and tomato jus, vegetable fondants and garlic mash. Finally, desert was a roast pear with bitter chocolate ganache, Williamine sorbet and crystallised pastry leafe.
There was an almost unanimous conclusion that this had been probably the best meal we’d had for many a year and certainly a fine testament to Chef Herbert Berger.
As usual, Chris Sorrell (Sparta, 1975-1982) acted as our Master of Ceremonies with a series of obligatory toasts including the oldest member present, Phil Hopkins (Tuscany, 1939-1941) and the youngest, Dave Masson (Tuscany, 2004-2011).
Formal proceedings were concluded by a short speech from President, Tony Barrett and the enthusiastic singing of the School Song accompanied by Ashley Thompson (Sparta, 1998-2005) on the organ located up in the Minstrels’ Gallery.
Ashley continued to entertain us as we brought the evening to a close before getting the coach home or heading off into the City.
The list of members attending the Dinner can be found by here.