After working with Napoleon’s Casino in Sheffield last year after their £2million refurbishment, where they invited me down to check out the new decor and sample their delicious fare. Now they have invited me back to check out one of their special food and drink night’s where the team put together a menu based around the drinks they are featuring on the night. A couple of months ago, they had a wine night and now they had moved onto beer pairing 4 different brands and types with each course.
Hosting the night was Martin Shillitoe from Molston Corrs who was talking us through the beers on offer and why exactly it worked so well with the course it was paired with. Working for one of the biggest breweries in the country means that this guy knows his stuff and the information he provided to us gave us a better understanding of why beer works so well with food and it was clear to see his clear passion for the beers we were sampling that night.
On the night, my boyfriend was my guest and with his knowledge of beer he was the perfect person to add some background to the beers for me. Also, as I had a specially made veggie menu, I’ll be reviewing both the standard meat menu, my veggie menu and the beers for each course below. So let’s start at the beginning with the cold starter:
Standard Starter: Smoked Trout Pate, Apple & Horseradish Salad, Sourdough Croute
The tasty trout’s smokiness worked well with the citrusy sweetness of the Pilsner. The balsamic dulled the sweetness slightly though and the sourdough’s taste was lost somewhat with all those strong flavours. Apple and Horseradish worked well and complimented the other flavours.
Veggie Starter: Orange & Rocket Salad with Chopped Nuts & Balsamic Dressing
A light and refreshing salad that matched the beer well. Surprisingly the balsamic worked with orange’s zestiness and earthy pistachios. Not something I would ever have come up with as I usually use fruit as a dessert or snack but this was delicious.
Beer: Sharps Pilsner 5.2%, Czech Yeast, Saaz Hope
Lemon and citrus smell, light colour, refreshing and light on the palette. Quite nice to drink as a non-beer drinker or beer lover alike.
Standard Hot Starter: Corned Beef Hash Croquette, Napoleon’s Brown Sauce
Good use of rocket to add pepper flavour without seasoning too much. There was a subtle banana flavour to the sauce and the beer and the saltiness of the croquette helps the slight irony flavour of the beer. The earthy aroma reflects the ‘traditional’ meal which was satisfying and simple.
Veggie Hot Starter: Saute Garlic Mushroom Gratin
This smells delicious and earthy and the mushrooms are perfectly cooked, not fatty at all and the hint of garlic that runs through them works so well as we all know it does. The juxtaposition of soft mushrooms against crunchy breadcrumbs was lovely. A rich and decadent meal without the stuffed greasy feeling.
Beer: Francisan Well, Irish, Rebel Red, 4.3%
A beautiful red colour and a caramelly, toffee smell. This is strong the palette with its malty, hazelnut flavour that leaves a metallic aftertaste. This is nice and an acquired taste but definitely something that grew on me over the course of the night.
Standard Main: Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Creamy Champ Potatoes, Bourguignon Garnish & Red Wine Jus served with a selection of Vegetables and Potatoes
The mash is creamy, the gravy is good and the chicken is perfectly cooked. The subtle flavours make for a good and satisfying meal. The wheat beer works well, complimenting the flavours, supporting the chicken and not overpowering anything.
Potatoes are well cooked, fluffy inside and slightly crispy outside with a good colour to them and seasoned well.
Veggie Main: Tuscan Vegetable Risotto
Creamy, fresh, flavoursome, seasoned well with beautiful Mediterranean flavours. The rice is cooked well and is surprisingly light. This works well with the wheat beer and would be a perfect vegetarian meal for friends.
Beer: Erdinger Weibbier, 5.3% Bayern (Auf Deutch)
Salted lemon aromas and a wheaty, earthy smell reminiscent of ripe bananas. This pale and cloudy light beer is rich, creamy and thicker on the palette. An indulgent beer with a sharp and tangy aftertaste from the sugariness.
Standard Dessert: Candied Ginger & Ginger Nut Cheesecake with Plum Compote
Ginger is found in the base and the cheesecake itself and the heat of that ginger works very well with the sweetness of the beer. However, the plum compote is pretty much lost against the other strong flavours. The beer’s sharpness and the sugariness of the cake makes for a rich but enjoyable pairing.
Veggie Dessert: Fruit Platter with Passionfruit & Mango Sorbet
A fresh and light end to the meal with a plate full of tropical flavours. Unfortunately, a few of the fruits I didn’t like and I was too full to eat much but the berries and pomegranates I had were fresh and juicy while the sorbet was refreshing, tart and wonderfully palette cleansing.
Beer: Timmermans Peche 4%, Belgium, Lambic Beer
There is a lovely, strong peach smell to this which comes across in the strong peach flavour that completely overpowers the hoppy/wheat flavour of beer. This is light and easy to drink, perfect to sip on its own and this was the favourite of the lot for me.
The night was absolutely great, we both learnt a lot and had a lovely time finding out more about beer and the food on offer at Napoleon’s. The food was lovely and the beers themselves were very good. It was a brilliant night and we both left suitably stuffed full of lovely food and beer.
I’d like to thank the staff at Napoleon’s for the lovely food, great night and their friendliness and helpfulness and also to Emma, for getting in touch and inviting me down in the first place.
The themed drinks nights are set to become a regular thing so keep your eye out for other nights there as they are not to be missed. You can find out more about Napoleon’s on their website or you can follow them on Twitter – @NapsOwlerton