However my super-geek mate Adam managed to fix it. I fretted and worried as he removed the hard drive (with a screwdriver! Actually took the thing out!) and I asked lots of inane questions while he completely reinstalled my operating system, whatever that means. He gave up an entire Saturday afternoon to poke around my technology. It's taken me a while to find the photos - the lesson here is: Always. Back. Everything. Up.
Anyway. When Simon Majumdar first announced the event, to be held at Bentley's, the places were snapped up immediately. I was slow off the mark, having responded a whole hour after it was announced and was put on the waiting list. Talk of what the menu involved was torture; then, 3 days before the actual event, someone pulled out and I got a place. Hurrah!
On arrival, we were handed little half pints of Porterhouse oyster stout. Iced dishes of native and rock oysters were dived upon, making a great little snack while we mingled over our drinks. Having had a look around, the dining room at Bentley's was markedly different to the other two Dine With Dos Hermanos' I've attended - there were several large tables, and looked rather more formal. The table settings were beautifully autumnal and festive.
Little canapés of foie gras with apple chutney balanced rich and with a little sweetness. Trays heaving with chilli-fried prawns and mayo were passed around before we sat down. More huge platters came forth, laden with a variety of smoked fish; smoked eel was dense, meaty and gorgeous. Smoked salmon, mackerel, tuna, and even little dishes of dill-scented salmon tartare were accompanied by excellent soda bread and blinis. This could have been dinner itself.
A large, white pot complete with lid was then brought to the table. Our table of 9 looked at each other in anticipation, before I could bear it no longer and whipped the lid off. Beef cheeks glistened in a dark gravy. Mashed potato and roasted root vegetables accompanied it.
But that's not all - no, no, no. A fish pie was set before us, the golden crusty top giving off little puffs of inviting steam. I looked down at my all-but-eaten beef cheeks and winced a bit. I would have to just stuff some down. The fish within was perfectly cooked; flakes of salmon and haddock, nuggets of prawn and scallop in a rich, creamy sauce.
By this point I was fit to burst. I felt a bit sick.
A huge tray of sticky toffee pudding was laid before us, like a gauntlet. Not just that - a pot of clotted cream and a jug of toffee sauce. Oh my god.
Well, I'm glad I battled through as this was perhaps my favourite course. This is unusual for me, as I'm more the savoury sort. Rich, fudgy, sticky, lightened (ha!) by the clotted cream, I only wish I had more.
As we patted our bellies, Richard Corrigan and his head chef, Brendan came out to say hello to raptuous applause from all of us for a job brilliantly done.
Goody bags were stuffed to the brim and almost too heavy to lug home. In particular I can't get enough of the chili infused Nudo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. All in all, a great night out; well organised, a loud, convival atmosphere and fantastic food.
Bentley's Oyster Bar & Grill
11-15 Swallow Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7734 4756
To hear about other events, join this Facebook group. Full Flickr set can be seen here.