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  • Jane Egginton

Eat Drink and Be Merry – The Christmas Party Where We Nearly Died Laughing

When the three senior members of Eat Drink Travel - well, ok, the only members of Eat Drink, Travel, got together for their christmas party, it was not a good reflection of the Editorial Director's researching skills. Admittedly, the Drapers Arms had always come up trumps, but this evening, the managing editor nearly broke her tooth on a piece of partridge. And while her husband almost died laughing, one of the two main contributors, who had, to date, contributed nothing except a very poor restaurant recommendation, began to choke on hair in the steamed kale.

The trio, who were only able to keep their chins up thanks to a pre dinner visit to the Spirit Show, put their heads together, like a jollied up version of the three witches and decided that the pub needed renaming. Surely, the Butchers Arse would have been more representative of the food on offer? Or perhaps the Oily Quail? The ED suggested the Sarky Wench would have been the perfect description of the waitress, who, when told that the birds were too tough to cut, the potato had an oil slick in it, and the greens contained a piece of the cook's wig, answered, with a whisper of a raise of her pencilled in eyebrow and a definite sarcastic tone: 'Well, at least the wine is alright?'

The woman was right. The wine was decent. And the beer was drinkable, as the Managing Editor's husband was just about able to testify to between downing pints and calling his wife and the editorial director - or was it the food – a couple of old birds. A couple at the next table tried in vain to saw their way through the pheasant and another identifiable piece of blackened meat, which they too had waited over an hour to be served with. The waitress's solution to my firmly voiced grievances was to ask if we would like dessert, as if by way of compensation.

This rather reminded me of the time I was served a cockroach in my pizza in the jungle in Bolivia. When I pointed this out to the alcoholic owner, he merely asked what I would like for afters. Er... nothing, thank you, as I don't fancy taking my chances with finding a beetle in my bread pudding. At the Drapers Arms, I insisted on speaking to the manager who was rather more convivial than the person who served us, although I did have to explain what a suitable solution would be. She did indeed take the price of the main courses off (the starters were perfectly edible), but then we did have to pay for the large brandies we felt compelled to buy to take away the taste of the food. We did drink and we were merry, but next year will pick another spot for our Christmas shenanigans.

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