We kicked off the Christmas week with our annual staff dinner party. The team was excited to share in some of the vintage wines my husband dug out of his cellar – three beautiful bottles of red Chateau Peyrabon 1986 from Medoc, that worked well with the meat dishes.

I’ve been feeling very grateful this year for many things. My staff have been wonderful and as a token of appreciation, I wanted them to enjoy a delicious fun filled evening with all the bells and whistles. We commenced our feast with a toast of clear shots of spirits and rice wines. The fun was in not knowing what to expect as the assumption was that they were all filled with vodka. We proceeded to our starter for the evening which was a DIY Vietnamese wrap as our lazy susan would swirl around to let our guests pick their own fillings and sauces for their custom wraps. It was an opportunity to get everyone warmed up for a host of dishes to come. The pairing of the wine and rice paper filled wraps made a dark and light contrast in flavour which felt exotic and special.

Succulent crab, Naturally Chinese Restaurant, Surbiton

Our main course was a succulent crab in a simple yet elegant sauce made from ginger, spring onions and the natural flavours from the crab. It was garnished with fresh coriander leaves that not only boosted a fresh taste but at first glance, pulled focus immediately to the mouth watering crab. Oh the joy of relishing a fresh crab slowly.

And yes, more wine please… chin chin!

It was a delight to see our team enjoying the party and letting their guard down a little. We finished our main course with a long awaited steamy bowl of Pho – a Vietnamese Beef Soup that acquires its special flavour from bone stock. I am happy to say it was a hit.

I have to really thank my team of chefs for superbly crafting the meal and wines together. I could tell it was working as there were plenty of top ups requested, big smiles, and a good deal of glass clinking toasting to good health and happiness. It just reinforces my belief that a dish can truly be enhanced so much more by wine. To see what I mean, try our christmas special dinner that includes a complimentary glass of our house wine to elevate your experience.

Merry Christmas to you.