Set quite far down the food outlet-lined entrance way of the Westfield shopping centre, the Bull makes for a spacious refuge from the milling and thronging Easter holiday crowds buzzing in and out of West London's most fashionable shopping mall.
In the upstairs room the Bloody Mary Olympics are under way, and the Geronimo Inns staff are up for the challenge. Their task: to create the perfect Bloody Mary and accompanying snack.
• The drink and snack must have a name that will appeal to customers
• The Bloody Mary must have a 35ml shot of Absolut Vodka in it - Absolut Flavours also acceptable
• The snack must be easily made but delicious, simple and beautifully presented
• There must be some simple chat to accompany the combination to help staff captivate the customer.
The drink submissions included an imaginative range of ingredients, such as beetroot juice, Guinness, chilli, wasabi and roast garlic cloves, while the snacks ranged from filo pastry lollipops to popcorn crayfish marinated in Absolut Vodka.
After a fair bit of sampling, snacking and general banter, the judging panel - which included Mark Makin and Garry from Pernod Ricard, Ed Turner from Geronimo, and Sarah, manager of the Bull - were taking it all very seriously, and retired to the balcony to deliberate on the winner.
They returned to announce that 'Mary on the Piste' - coincidentally the last to be sampled - was the winner.
As well as winning a trip to the Absolut Academy in Sweden for creators Sam and Nadine of the Duchess of Kent in Islington, London, the pair's Bloody Mary and snack went on sale in Geronimo pubs from St George's Day.
Having personally tasted their corned brisket of beef hash cakes and Bloody Mary, I can confirm that Sam and Nadine were worthy winners.
Not a bad way to get staff involved in the business and have a bit of fun at the same time.
Sam and Nadine's Bloody Mary was served with a frozen celery stick dipped in horseradish snow (similar to an ice cream, it melts slowly into the cocktail as you drink it).
The whole thing comes with corned beef hash cakes and piccalilli.
Mary on the piste recipe:
- 100ml tomato juice
- 35ml Absolut Pepper
- 20ml dry sherry
- Juice of half a lime
- 4 dashes of Lea & Perrins
- 2 dashes of Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp of Bovril diluted 1/10
- Celery salt
- Freshly ground pepper
Mix together and pour over ice in a 10oz glass. Make horseradish snow & spread on half a celery stick to garnish. (These are frozen & great for summer!) Serve with corned brisket of beef hash cakes with mustard and piccalilli.