Gerard and I have rarely returned to any of the Hotel du Vin hotels since we sold them in 2004. However, last night we ventured back to Brighton HDV as Gerard was invited to be a co-guest speaker with his great friend and fellow World Champion Sommelier, the 1992 winner Philippe Faure-Brac. Philippe and Gerard see one another quite often as they are both board members of the ASI committee (International Sommelier Association), and so they often meet in far flung locations to discuss future sommelier activities and competitions. However, the association nearer to home and at Brighton HDV came about as Mona, the head sommelier of the Brighton HDV had previously worked in Paris with Philippe and she thought it would be a great idea to invite two world champions, and bring them together in the hotel that had a connection between all three of them; Mona because she works there currently, Gerard because he co-founded it and Philippe because he knows both Mona and Gerard well.
The evening was fun, relaxed and informal and very enjoyable. Philippe had suggested some of the wines to match Robert Carr’s excellent menu and Gerard had suggested the rest. They both took turns to chat about their respective choices, their sommelier careers and their friendship over the years- a great evening was had by all. The wines were delicious, the food excellent and the service was charming from Mona and her team.
It was actually very nice to re-visit HDV and stay over. There remain a few familiar faces from the past, including, Ronan Sayburn, who is a fellow Master Sommelier, friend of GB and beverage director at HDV, Rob Carr, who is head chef and has been at Brighton for the past 13 years. We caught up with Stephanie, the bistro manager, Phillip Lewis the general manager, who didn’t join HDV until after we had sold, but we have met him on a number of occasions when he has visited TerraVina and he feels just like one of the HDV family that was once ours. It gave us a nice feeling of warm and happy memories to be back and whilst in Brighton we took advantage to visit one of our protégées, Steve Pino, who has just opened another great bar/restaurant at the top end of Brighton and Hove, called Artisan. (he already co owns a café in the heart of town and previously had a wine bar called In Vino Veritas). Artisan looks very smart- we had a light lunch which was delicious and we wish Steve every success with his latest venture- we are very proud of all that he has achieved and are thrilled that we had him work for us first at HDV.
Thus with so many memories and nostalgia filling the air, it was with a thrill of excitement that I managed to find Jeff Wayne’s version of “War of the Worlds”…. Our son Romané had mentioned it only last week as he had an extract from H G Wells book to write about in an English comprehension exercise and it had reminded me of long car journeys taken with my parents when I was young listening with rapt attention to Richard Burton’s excellent narrations of “War of the Worlds” and my imagination running wild as I listened to the music… well on the way home from Brighton, Gerard and I listened to it again and it was as brilliant in 2012 as it was in the early 1980’s!
Till next week