Top notch dinner treatment at the Southbank Centre's New York State of Wine

News Shopper: Which glass should you drink from?! Which glass should you drink from?!

ONE of the many frustrations London brings is its inability to produce a comprehensive leisure guide.

TimeOut, Skiddle and Visit London have all had a bash - but when you’re searching for something quirky to while away a winter evening it’s hard to spot it among the reels and reels of theatre listings and sport events.

My first tip, of course, is to check out News Shopper’s fantastic leisure section at newsshopper.co.uk/leisure.

But failing that the Southbank Centre is proving more and more popular for people looking to try out something a bit weird at a reasonable price.

News Shopper: Which glass should you drink from?!

Last Friday’s Southbank Centre menu served up a free photography exhibition, an orchestra, a free jazz set, live comedy, a Christmas choir, a lecture about the effects of the recession on music and a New York Wine tasting evening.

Organised by Wine Equals Friends, the evening of top-notch dining accompanied by a huge selection of New York Wines was my choice – and a fine one it was.

A group of around 40 people were welcomed into the centre’s St Paul's Roof Pavilion where a friendly New York chef greeted us with a mountain of cinnamon doughnuts, grapes coated in goats cheese and pecan nuts and some sparkling wine.

News Shopper: Apricot cheesecake

Each diner sat down to discover a wine sheet on their place mats featuring six circles for wine glasses, and a food menu.

Before and during each course a friendly wine expert explained from where the wine originated and why it goes well with the particular course.

Here’s the menu:

Course 1

Black bean soup (with Channing Daughters Rosato di Cabernet Franc 2010)

Course 2

Cold noodles with sesame peanut sauce (with Hermann J Wiemer Gewurztraminer 2010) Apparently it is always best to have reasonably sweet white wine with spicy food as they level each other out

News Shopper: The wine place mat

Course 3

Soused shrimp marinated in basil, olive oil, fennel and lemon for 24 to 48 hours (with Sheldrake Point Pinot Gris 2011)

Course 4

Duck meatloaf (with Fox Run Cabernet Franc/Lemberger 2009)

Experts say this easy-to-drink red wine cuts through the string flavour of the duck producing a hugely intense flavour.

News Shopper: A diner listens in

Course 5

Waldorf salad (with Lenz White Label Chardonnay 2007) These grapes, grown on wind-swept Long Island, are slow growers but worth the wait.

The Atlantic breeze ensures the vineyards do not get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter.

News Shopper: Duck meatloaf

Course 6

Apricot cheesecake (with Wolffer Diosa Late Harvest Chardonnay 2011)

These grapes are frozen and then pickled to ensure the perfect sweetness required for a dessert wine.

For more information on the Southbank Centre's Members' event: New York State of Wine, visit southbankcentre.co.uk orwineequals.com for more information.

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