Thanks to my friend Niki, author of the fantastically successful Flavour Thesaurus, I was introduced to Dominique de Bastarrechea, who runs Hardy's Brasserie and Wine Bar in a quiet corner of Marylebone.
Niki had done a very successful evening talking about her book, after which a meal followed based on some of the pairing suggestions in the book itself.
The event went so well Dominique wanted to do more, and Niki suggested me! One blurry World Cup semi-final evening later, which was almost but not quite ruined by an exploding bottle of Worthington White Shield, Dominique was a beer convert, vowing to replace the perfectly acceptable but unimaginative selection of bottled lagers in the restaurant with a short but perfectly formed beer list that reflects the diversity and innovation of beer today.
She's spent the month since then following a few recommendations of mine, visiting brewers and rapidly developing her own tastes and preferences with a work rate and dedication that's inspiring and quite frankly a bit scary.
The result: this week if you go to Hardy's you can vote for the new beer list. We've got new lagers, fruit beers, wheat beers, pale ales, bitters, strong ales and porter/stout. In each category there are two or three beers. In each, the most popular will be kept on. If they sell well, the list may then expand even further.
So next Monday, I'll be talking about beer and my books, and unveiling the winners in a tutored tasting. After that, there's a three course dinner for the ridiculously reasonable price of £15. Here's the menu:
I'm going to be matching different beers with each dish and talking through the matches.
It promises to be a great evening - Niki's event was an extraordinary success - so do book now if you think you'll still have a liver left after this week! Full details below.