We had a wander about the less-crowded bits of Covent Garden - which is looking much more attractive these days, with some really up-market shopping - and then sat at the bar for a drink. Paul's co-workers had all buggered off at 4pm, so he'd had a chance to do some uninterrupted work and scrutinise the drinks menu. It's unusual for him to choose a cocktail, but something about the vaulted ceilings, exposed brickwork and brass lamps give the bar a speakeasy vibe, which cries out for a mixed drink. He had the Hawksmoor Collins - Beefeater 24 gin, Campari, orange bitters and lemon, lengthened with soda. I had a Shipwreck sour - Shipwreck cider brandy, cognac, ginger wine and lemon. Neither drink put up a fight, and I think I could have quite happily propped up the bar and had several more drinks and some snacks, but our table beckoned.
I toyed with the idea of having a couple of starters, but as the aim was for Paul to get the big steak of his dreams, we shared a 1kg prime rib, with side orders of beef dripping fries, salad and roasted mushrooms.
We both ordered glasses of whiskey to finish on - Paul had bourbon, I had rye. Which led to the only glitch in (the charming, accomplished, attentive) service for the evening, as Paul's drink was delivered to the next table. We were able to retrieve it with no harm done. The smooth, caramelly whiskies were just the thing with the justifiably-famous salted caramel rolos. And actually, I wonder if whiskey isn't under-appreciated as a drink match for chocolate?