On a frosty December evening, nine bloggers wrapped in fur trimmed hats and thick woolly scarves made their way to one of the oldest parts of London. In the cultural neighbourhood of Bankside, each stepped through the doors of a bauble draped Hilton Hotel, home to the vibrant OXBO restaurant. Here they came together for a festive casual occasion, to toast to travel, engagements and new friendships… to celebrate the Big Blogger’s Christmas Dinner.
Last week I kicked off my month of festivities with a bang, inviting some of my lovely blogger pals to laugh, joke and unite with a few bottles of Prosecco. Choosing the OXBO Bankside restaurant, it was the perfect location with a spacious large table where we could all talk over a feast of festive food.
The evening began with a glass of Prosecco on arrival as we sat on cushioned stalls and caught up on each other’s news. Congratulations were in order with Gary from The Foodaholic’s new engagement before he shared luxury tales of his travels to the Maldives and Bordeaux. Angie from Silverspoon London made us all very jealous of her African adventure whilst Connie from Connie Consumes shared her exciting plans to visit her home in New Zealand next year.
The first installment of our three course festive menu was presented as a selection of delicious looking platters. A long plate of grilled Brixham squid, was dressed with fennel salad, chili, garlic, samphire and lemon. It was perfectly fresh and not chewy in the slightest.
Bowls of focaccia crouton topped Caesar salad were dotted around the table but the steal of the show was definitely the spiced Devonshire beef tartar. It was silky smooth and complimented with crunchy nashi pear and red rocket.
As we put in an order for more Prosecco (the first of many) I excited over my upcoming trip to Budapest (which you'll be able to see pictures of on my Instagram). Next to me, Reena from Lifestyle Enthusiast told us all about her incredible experience at Noma in Denmark, a two Michelin starred restaurant that is high up on all of our foodie wish lists.
Before we knew it the table had been cleared and our second course was placed in front of us. Passing around plates of steaming hot vegetables to go with our meaty mains, felt like a true family dinner.
A beautifully cooked Josper grilled sirloin steak was a complete hit, served with vine tomatoes and a choice of peppercorn or béarnaise sauce.
Warming bowls of winter vegetable crumble, topped with tomato and marjoram compote were equally popular, perfect for a cold frosty evening.
My favourite dish of the evening was the mini fillets of sea bass sitting on olive oil mash and drizzled in balsamic burnt butter. The crispy skin was beautifully buttery.
As we tucked in, Reena, Marjan from Marjan Focus and I discussed beauty favourites, recommending some top products to try. Vicky from Dalton Banks got some top tips for her trip to South America and Seetal from SavlaFaire shared her first experiences of vlogging, something we all think she should continue to do next year!
Meanwhile Emma from Adventures of a London Kiwi made us all want to skip off to New Zealand for a Kiwi Christmas as she shared stories of BBQ feasts and relaxed no-shoes rules!
Resisting stuffing another piece of juicy pink sirloin in my face, plates were cleared and Prosecco poured. Feeling very festive (and ever so slightly merry), we giggled over awkward moments and humorous photo fails.
All of sudden it was time for dessert. The table was transformed into a sweet buffet of classic puds, starting with a dark and white chocolate bavarois with spiced orange segments.
I’m not normally a huge cheesecake, or cherry, fan. But surprisingly the smoothly baked vanilla cheesecake with a chocolate crumb and sour cherry compote was delicious.
However the ginger baked egg custard with brandy and blackberry poached pears was the perfect treat to finish on. With a crunchy sugar lid, it reminded me of my all-time favourite dessert, a perfectly festive crème brûlée.
With satisfied stomachs and not a drip of Prosecco left in a glass, we cheered to a fabulous evening, agreeing to make it a regular occasion. Some of us hadn’t met before the dinner so it was lovely to finally put some faces to a twitter handle, as is the case for many bloggers!
Wrapping back up in our winter coats, we wished each other a Merry Christmas before each making our separate ways back out in the cold.
A big thank you to OXBO Bankside for hosting us for the Big Blogger’s Christmas Dinner. I am a huge fan of their lovely sharing menus that make you feel right at home.
Our night at OXBO was discounted but as always, all views are my own, despite the quantities of Prosecco.