The Link Hotel, Loughborough, December 2016

Another Christmas party post. My turn tonight, as our work Xmas party returns to The Link Hotel (formerly the Quality Hotel and the Friendly Hotel). We’ve rotated around this and Burleigh Court in recent years, due to their proximity to the workplace.

The best news of the night arrived right at the start, during my first trip to the bar. At last they have caught up with “beer trends”, and there is finally some decent ale on, including plenty from our most local brewery, Charnwood Brewery. Other choices on tap too, including the Curious IPA from Curious Drinks (a subsidiary of English winemaker Chapel Down from Kent).

The most curious thing about it is that it’s not an IPA. A decent pint, but just not an IPA.

To start our dinner, smoked salmon and cray fish salad with beetroot purée and vodka crème frâiche. The fish was nice enough (more salmon would have been nice, and a heavier smoke), but the beetroot puree was very muddy and not particularly pleasant. There was also a terrine and a soup on offer.

Saving my turkey rations for the big day (it’s all too easy to get fed up of it during December), so I had the herb-crusted loin of cod with braised fennel, creamy celeriac purée, micro cress “salad” and salsa verde. This was pretty tasty, served with the usual seasonal veg (no sprouts thanks).

As with the turkey option, Xmas pudding was shunned in favour of chocolate brownie with Belgian chocolate sauce and salted caramel ice cream and some weird “soil” stuff. It was the right decision as ever, although a little too rich for some.

After poor coffee and very average mince pies it was time for dancing. Except that (just like last time) the DJ was rubbish. Just couldn’t read the room, no mixing skills, and playing great tunes for a few minutes and then following them up with dancefloor emptying garbage. Christmas party nights are very lucrative gigs, but if you’re not up to the task, it’s no fun for the punters.

At least the couple who were sat at the next table (who looked rather out of place amongst 20 odd tables of work parties) had left by this point so were saved the pain of Whigfield…

Convenient, and with decent beer at last. Thanks to Sharon for organising as usual.

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