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The Pol Roger Champagne Bar at the National Gallery

By johnboy 23 January 2010 8

Pol Roger is not a champagne maker with a big following in Australia historically speaking. Bolly, Verve, and Moet are much better known at least by the general public.

But as of last night Canberra now has a champagne bar devoted to the brand.

As they were kind enough to invite the RIotACT team to the launch and pour their product down our throats in significant quantities it would be churlish to not share the impression.

Firstly the concept has some promise.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, and Sunday afternoons, from now until the end of the French Masters exhibition on 5 April, you can pop down to the sculpture gardens at the National Gallery and have some nibbles and some fine French champagne (for a price of course).

Throw in a tour of the exhibition and you’ve got yourself a pretty hot date. (Frankly if that doesn’t get you some loving then you need to start looking elsewhere.)

I can’t claim to have drunk enough French Champagne to have strong opinions on the comparative merits of Pol Roger. But the stuff the nice waiters kept topping me up with last night certainly went down well.

But according to their wiki entry (no doubt written by corporate hacks) it was Winston Churchill’s favourite, and he was man well able to make comparisons. He drank so much of it the company went into mourning on his death and now name their premier bottles after him.

The canapes, I must note, were sensationally good. If their regular service is close it’s worth going just for that. Venison tartare on caramelised onions, barely seared tuna on bamboo spears with a dob of wasabi cream, oysters in truffle oil topped with salmon roe.

None of the deep fried conformity which has dominated cocktail parties in recent years.

So, without being able to speak to the paying customer’s experience I can say I had my socks pretty comprehensively knocked off at the launch last night where the great and the good hoed in with the customary gusto that is their manner.

More details on the NGA’s page.

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8 Responses to
The Pol Roger Champagne Bar at the National Gallery
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I-filed 7:50 pm 27 Jan 10

It’s a bit like off-the-rack Dior vs couture: I think that if you actually want to experience the same quality Pol Roger that Churchill did, you would have to part with more like $300 a bottle …

and hopefully when the Old Masters exhibition finishes, the NGA will turn to Australian rather than imported (at environmental cost) wines …

Astro 9:55 am 25 Jan 10

Thought it might have been a mojito.

A bottle of PR was $99.

Jazz 8:55 am 25 Jan 10

The minty drink was a mojito.

sepi 9:08 pm 24 Jan 10

How much for a bottle?

Astro 7:51 pm 24 Jan 10

I was there on Friday night after getting a last minute invitation from an NGA gallery member who was too shy to fly solo. I thought it was pretty good. The bar is located on the paved area of the Sculpture Garden where the Burghers of Calais are displayed. Everyone seemed to be having a pretty good time jollied along by free Pol Roger Champagne (as well as some minty kind of cocktail they were making that nearly blew my head off). Pretty good huh? We followed our many complimentary glasses with a bottle bought over the bar when the well distributed free supply ended, and I think it was money well spent. I had never tasted Pol Roger Champagne before but I can see why it was Churchill’s favourite. I hope the bar in the Sculpture Garden does well. It is a great venue, which in the past has been under-used. Good work NGA.

Reid 2:20 pm 24 Jan 10

I went for a look Saturday night at 7:00 and was thoroughly disappointed. There were more staff than guests.

I probably had too high expectations, expecting something like the fantastic Up Late evenings put on by GoMA in Brisbane that have been sold out even for $20 a head.

Fair enough it’s just getting started and I hope more people get along to support it.

johnboy 7:15 am 24 Jan 10

It’s closer to the stairs, basically step out the back door and you can’t miss it (which I think is rather the point).

astrojax 4:19 pm 23 Jan 10

you bastard – jealous or what! ; ) pol roger makes some stunning wines, and even if they were offering you their ‘cheap’ stuff, it is one of the better standard champagnes in that class, for mine (in comparison, moet’s standard tipple, lanson and the cliquot’s bin ordinaire don’t rate alongside it – but then i am a sucker for the drier style, which p.r. has in spades)

next time a real champers event is up for review and you find yourself pondering the question to go or not, don’t hesitate to call! or if you need a date…

so, is it where the restaurant by the henry moore/pool/fog machine is, or closer to the stairs by the road side of the gardens? as it is nearish to work, could find myself detouring en route home next friday.

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