Main content

21st anniversary meal

The 4th May marked 21 years since Cog Design was founded. To celebrate, the team convened for a civilised meal at Guy Awford’s new, critically acclaimed restaurant, the Guildford Arms, a stone's throw from our studio.

Anyone who knows me, knows I don’t care about food, fine-dining holds no interest for me. My antipathy intrigues some people and irritates others; many have tried to convert me, they’ve all failed.

So, it might seem odd to celebrate such an important occasion as our 21st anniversary by eating in Greenwich’s newest fancy eatery. But this evening really wasn’t about the dining experience, it was about the company and the chance to unwind, an opportunity to chat and relax away from the pressures of the studio.

It wasn’t the most relaxing start for me and John as we’d arrived late after a dash from a brand workshop in Cambridge. But the rest of the team were ‘well relaxed’ in the bar when we arrived. We were swiftly ushered up to our table on the first floor.

They’ve done a great job with the decor and layout of an awkward room (once the living quarters of the pub’s landlord) but it did feel a little like we were tucked into a converted en-suite bathroom area.

The food was (even to my untrained eye and palette) impeccably presented and prepared. The vegetarian option was as usual limited to one but I was happy because it wasn’t the usual mushroom risotto, I had butternut squash cannelloni. Everyone else ooh-ed and aah-ed and spoke of tenderness and the other words you’re supposed to use.

The food highlight for me was the forced rhubarb and stem ginger crumble, with saffron custard. I’d had to order it early because it takes 20 minutes to cook, and now I know why.  It was as hot as the sun and never cooled down (a bit like a pop-tart).

We ate, we drank, we talked, we texted and tweeted, we swore, we bitched, we reminisced (we had a lovely time).

With the meal finished and the bill paid we headed out but some of the team insisted on one last drink at the bar. Flaming sambucas seemed a necessity but the bar ran out. So John and Ocky lit mouths with three-quarters of a shot each. Mike, not to be outdone, attempted the tequila ritual, and Nicola a double Baileys. All were necked with undignified haste as the dash was made for the last sensible train.

In my sobriety, I got in my car and headed home, looking forward to a year of 21st anniversary celebrations and wondering how long it will take for the roof of my mouth to stop burning and tasting of stem ginger.

21st anniversary meal

A portrait of Michael Smith, in black and white

The food highlight for me was the forced rhubarb and stem ginger crumble... it was as hot as the sun and never cooled down (a bit like a pop-tart).

Michael Smith
A man in glasses looks from left to right A three-floor pub at a road junction, at night, light coming through windows A woman's face uplit with blue light as she checks her mobile phone A woman at dining table, strewn with bottles and glasses Two men, at a bar, contemplating a drink in a shot-glass Two men, one laughing as the other, head thrown back, sets alight the alcohol in his mouth with a lighter

6 slideshow images (click image to view)