A few weeks back I was invited to the Sheraton Global Toast, an around-the-globe event where Sheraton Hotels invited guests to try wines and meet people.
Edinburgh’s Sheraton Grand Hotel and Spa sits back from Festival Square, off Lothian Road, convenient for the West End and Princes Street. It’s a popular spot to go for a day spa, and the recently refurbished restaurant and bar, One Square, is a glamorous place to lounge. To encourage people to discover the rather fabulous bar (it has over 15 gins), the Sheraton welcomes professionals and travellers alike to spend some time Tuesday to Thursday at their Social Hour.
Sheraton Social Hour is an informal event where people come to taste great wines or beers. The night I went was a little special because it was the night of the Global Toast. We had a dry riesling (Winkeler Jesuitgarten, trocken riesling) which was zingy and refreshing. It was followed by a red, a rather quaffable Salice Salentino, full but fruity, and not too heavy. Both were interesting wines that I hadn’t tried before (I hadn’t even heard of the grapes in the Salice).
But there weren’t just lovely wines to try, there were also canapés to nibble.
The gin and tonic sorbet was lovely, as was the raspberry Eton mess. But the savouries were even more gorgeous. I loved the roe deer Wellington and the haggis bonbons. (Haggis bonbons are yum!) The chilled pea soup with crab and radish salad was wonderful, and beetroot and crowdie lovely.
The evening started dry and sunny, but soon, the rain started. That did not deter the brave men in charge of the barbecue. The terrace, where they did their magic, was under a glass canopy (this is Scotland, after all) so they cook regardless of the weather. And they did. They brought us pork and black pudding sausage that went superbly with the fruity but full red wine. The citrus marinated monk fish was lovely too, and I enjoyed tearing into a rosemary flavoured lamb cutlet. The burger looked too daunting to eat with only one hand, so I passed, but my companions said it was very good indeed. Having tasted the canapés, I’m rather curious about the kitchen.
I had a ball. I met a lady from Visit Scotland and had an interesting conversation about marketing countries for business rather than tourism. Then I spoke to a woman who was worked hospitality and planning for the Film Festival. Both had fascinating jobs that takes them to lots of interesting places to meet fun and, occasionally, demanding people. At seven o’clock, we raised our glasses and passed on the toast to the next country with a rousing cheer.
Towards the end of the evening, as the BBQ got going, I spoke to Emma and Jemma. We bonded over sausages. The last people at the event, we were privileged to have a mini gin tasting with Tristan Nesbit, the new general manager.
Meeting people, enjoying food and drink in a pleasant environment, is what the Social Hour is all about. It doesn’t have to be a long night: you can go straight from work and be home for a late-ish dinner. For £5.00, you get the opportunity to taste two wines or three beers (£10.00 gives you three gins) and meet interesting people. Whether you’re a business traveller looking for something to do of an evening, or you work in the area, pop in and give it a go.
To find out what’s on when, contact the One Square team on (0131) 221 6422.
One Square Bar and Restaurant
1 Festival Square
Edinburgh, EH3 9SR
Telephone: 0131 229 9131
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