Lunch at the Sands End followed by football at the Cottage

Great day today. Met up with Joe Wadsack and Stuart Bowman-Hood for our annual Man City v Fulham lunch and football game. Replacing Will Willis was Andrew Thomas, who was – like Will – cracking company.

Instead of our usual haunt, the excellent Harwood Arms, we shifted to The Sands End. The food was superb. Possibly not in the same class as the Harwood Arms, but pretty close.

I started with mushrooms and duck egg, beautifully executed (pictured, top). This was followed by slow-cooked middlewhite pork belly, that was astonishingly good – one of the best pork bellies I can recall.

The wine list? To be honest, it’s mediocre. The food is excellent and of the highest order; such a shame the wine list lacks the same imagination and execution.

We drank wines that had been brought by Stuart and Andrew. The highlight? Chateau Brown 2005 – a serious, high-end Bordeaux white. It’s a 60:40 Sauvignon Semillon Blend, fermented and aged in oak. It’s ripe and rich, but with brilliant definition and crisp acidity, as well as that lovely grapefruit character that oak fermented Sauvignon often has.

The game? City bossed the first half but only scored once. They scored again, right after the play resumed, but then Fulham rediscovered their appetite, and pressed hard. Zamora scored a great goal, and then a deflected second was enough to seal the draw. They were delighted; it shows how far City have come to feel distraught at drawing away from home.

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