Menu drooling

November 13, 2013

Menus – I love ’em.

As anyone who has ever walked past a new restaurant with me will testify, I’m almost certain to disappear for two minutes for a peer at the menu. A poorly written one is a disappointment and a warning. A straightforward one that hits the right notes gives a little thrill. Hmmm. Have I overshared there?

Two rather exciting menus came into my inbox today. Les Rosbifs Bar and Grill, which recently relocated from Northfield Farm in Rutland to Six Hills off the A46 between Leicester and Nottingham, are having a game night on 23 November which sounds packed with autumnal goodness.  There are canapés  including seared carpaccio of Leicestershire venison, juniper, smoked sea salt and pepper, roasted beetroot and sloe gin compote, plus smoked pigeon
and griottine cherry tapenade en croute. Then there’s a first course  of slow braised rabbit tartlet  with garlic gazed girolles, toasted pancetta and black truffle oil. There’s an epic sounding main course of shin of venison and ox-tail Bourguignon with vintage Lincolnshire Poacher and parsnip dauphinoise.  Pudding sounds equally warming  – apple and bramble crumble with roasted macadamia and oat crunch, Whissendine honey and damson whisky ice-cream. With palate cleanser and coffee and truffles for £29.95, it sounds a right deal.

chef watsonAnd secondly, we now have the first menus from Nick Wilson,  new head chef at Maiyango (right). It looks like evolution rather than revolution from the man who has helmed Michelin star and four rosette kitchens. New to the city, Nick describes Leicester as “a melting pot of people, culture and flavours” and reckons “it will be fantastic to explore different tastes and cooking techniques.”

I hope to be sampling some of the new the menu next week, but among the immediately appealing elements are starters such as king scallops, squash puree, squid and chorizo cannelloni, or presse of local game, bitter chocolate, pancetta, prunes and treacle bread. Front runners from the mains for me are seabass with thai spiced rissotto, crab croquette, coconut and shellfish bisque, and gressingham duck breast, leg hash, cayenne potatoes, bok choi, date puree, orange and vanilla syrup.  And well done to Nick for offering a complete tasting menu for coeliacs and even a couple of vegan options.

Right that’s enough menu drooling – I’m off to cook something…

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Rutland Food Festival

September 16, 2012

I made a late decision yesterday to drive over to Empingham for the Rutland Food Festival. A very good decision as it turned out.

For once in this rain-sodden summer it was a lovely warm sunny day. The festival had a sumptuous setting by Rutland Water, where over a hundred little sailboats were having some sort of race thing (come on, you all saw the Olympics – who had a clue what was going on?)

It was, in Rutland style, a small but classy event. Cooking presentations from leading local chefs including Brian Baker, Sean Hope and Dameon Clarke and around maybe 30 food stalls including familiar stalwarts such as Pick’s organic meats and Hambleton Bakery, newer businesses such as baked goods from Les Rosbifs restsaurant (left)  and Johannah’s Patisserie. I picked up a end of festival box from the later which included some of the best bakewell tart I’ve ever encountered. They are opening a shop next month in Oakham so look out if you’re over there. 

Other goodies I came away with included venison from Fen Farm, pain Levain from Les Rosbifs, spicy plum chutney from Rutland Preserves, spicy N’awleans  rub from Gourmet Spice Company, and a bit of punt, a bottle of Rutland table wine – a Bacchus from Abbey vineyards. A little tasting suggested an off-dry wine with a surprising amount off fruit showing through. Whether it will hold-up away from the feel-good environment of a sunny food festival I’m not sure but at £6.50 it felt like a deal. 

I ended up staying most of the day helping sign-up people for the Great Food Club, along with fellow Great Food magazine contributor Hazel Paterson and partner Glen.  Hazel’s a really creative cook and photographer, if you’re not already following her work in the magazine or  through her blog and tweets, I recommend you investigate.

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