Tag Archives: dining

Our next dinner event…

Well with only just less than a week left to book your places for our July Pop Up we thought we ought to explain a little bit more the thinking behind this dining event.

Back in late March just before it finished I joined up with chef Peter Pickering and a few other chefs for a lunch on the roof of Selfridges in London where we were to sample the WastED concept by Dan Barber where the menu highlighted foods that were wasted inspired.

From cod’s heads to kale trees, broccoli stems to reconstituted stale bread or juice bar pulp it was a feast made out of food that would have been wasted and was totally thought provoking.

So fast forward to now and our plans for the upcoming dinner. Hari & Peter are busy sourcing products of waste to put together a menu to delight the diners.  We have just 30 spaces and we need all these spaces sold to proceed as it is a mammoth task that will take a great deal of planning and creativity to excite you all.

We have plans for those cheese scraps in everyone’s fridges, overripe fruit that goes in that compost bin to even the whey from a local cheesemaker that gets fed to their pigs or is just flushed down the drain… If you are intrigued as to what we are going to be serving up just reserve those places as  soon as possible as without those reservations we cannot start making those commitments to the suppliers and put the final touches to the menu. It will be a veritable feast that will we are sure be a real equally thought provoking and hopefully get you all talking about food in a new light…

We might even have the odd bottle of HP Sauce to embellish it all and make it that bit more palatable… #justkidding

More details and Book Here

 

May Madness… Pot Luck again

Following on from the success of our dinner events back in January with what we called “Pot Luck” we are going to repeat the format at our May 13th dinner that will take place at the Crowborough Community Centre in their Gallery Café.

It will be a seasonal menu that will kick off with a welcome glass and some simple nibbles and then we will serve up a three course menu that will also involve an element of theatre!!! You will only find out the menu on the night! We will however aim to cater for any dietary needs like Vegetarian/Gluten Free wherever we can and as long as requested when making the booking.

We are requesting a £10 per person reservation fee when you book and then on the night a minimum donation of £10 per person – however if you feel it was worth more then please feel free to leave more in the table envelopes (cash preferred)

As with all our events you are invited to bring your own wines/drinks to have with the meal and we will provide glasses, ice buckets and water on the tables.

We hope you will come and join us for this “Covert” dining experience… just look at some of the comments left in our guestbook from our last visit to this venue…

To book your places just head over to our ticketing site here

We look forward to welcoming you all to our Pot Luck again event that will be a little bit of May Madness…

Gastro Boast…

About two years ago I was involved with a very enjoyable charity fundraising dinner over in Essex with a group of other chefs… It was a hugely successful evening and we managed to raise some significant monies for two smaller charities close to the lead organisers heart.

One of the chefs involved (there were five) was a hunk of man in name and stature by the name of Jack Boast. He was at that time working for the Galvin brothers at one of their central London places.

Jack has now moved out of London to the depths of the Essex countryside. He is now based in Chelmsford and he is now heading up one of the Galvins latest ventures a Gastro Pub called The Green Man in the village of Howe Street Nr Chelmsford.

This former derelict pub believed to date back to the 1300’s in parts has undergone a major refurbishment and extension that is thought to have cost circa £1 million.  What has resulted is a bright and airy building that can serve in excess of 200 diners on a busy day before they even start to open the extensive gardens in the summer months.

Jack has put together a menu of some tried and tested classics such as Fish and Chips or Sausage and Mash. But equally there is much more on offer from this talented guy. Locally reared pork, wood fired oven dishes to grills. There is much on offer to tempt…

We visited on what we thought was a busy Saturday lunchtime… Jack assured us it was relatively quiet this day but can get very hectic. The place was buzzing when we arrived and as we sat down at our table our friendly waitress and young staff were working full pace to serve all.

We were on our way to Colchester as we had tickets for the theatre that evening so this establishment fitted the bill perfectly as a stop off on the way up…

We tucked in to some really good grub… Mrs HC was in raptures with her bowl of Wild Mushroom Soup that was unctuous and full of flavour whilst I myself went with the roasted heritage beetroot that were served with mixed salad leaves and a creamy & generous garnish of crumbled local Goats Cheese. Tried and tested combination that got us both salivating for more!

Mrs HC on the set menu had chosen the smoked haddock fish cake topped with poached egg and some creamy leeks… perfectly balanced and well executed.

I myself went for Grilled Calves Liver and Bacon… this was a generous slab of liver that was perfectly grilled still pink and tender – some crispy rashers of streaky bacon and crispy fried fresh sage leaves all nestling on a compote of onions… just perfect with a little
bucket of triple cooked crispy coated fries with floury centres!!!

Dessert from Mrs HC’s set menu was shared with two spoons… a classic arctic roll of vanilla ice cream encased with a light sponge and gratinated Italian meringue and some segments of blood orange with candied peel.  A perfect finish…

We sat there thinking why had we not got something like this more local to us… Mr Boast stuck his head out and then showed me round quickly his domain… it was amazing to think they had just had a relatively quiet lunch service (it seemed busy to me) but were expecting to do in excess of 200 customers that night  – there was a real calm and focused intent from the kitchen and elsewhere around the place…

Something they can “Boast” about is they have got things pretty well right since opening and already have got a loyal following … we certainly are looking forward to going back… just wish they were this side of the Dartford crossing!!!

Galvin Green Man – Howe Street

 

Officially Quirky… our April Events…

qkWell we thought we would celebrate the recognition of being deemed “Officially Quirky” by hosting a quirky dinner featuring some unusual ingredients and flavour combinations.

Having met with the owner of “Quirky Kent” recently we felt it was only proper and fitting to offer the chance for all those lovers of things quirky the chance to sample a Hari Covert event of the same name!

So for two nights (Friday April 21st & Saturday April 22nd) we will serve up a four course supper at our secret venue for the all inclusive price of £30 per person.

Wild Garlic FlowersSo what is on the menu… well following from a welcome drink (we are dreaming up something Quirky) and some quirky seasonal nibbles on arrival we will kick the dinner off with a panna cotta… now I know you all think why start with dessert well we are turning it on its head and starting with a savoury one infused with the flavour of wild garlic and we will garnish with toasted Kent Cobnuts and some crispy Ikan Bilis the Asian dried salted anchovies I have imported especially from Singapore. This will be a interesting combination of flavours and textures.

For the main course we will then serve shredded pork cheeks that

Pork Cheek with "Mole" Sauce
Pork Cheek with “Mole” Sauce

will have been slow braised in a rich Mexican inspired Mole Sauce with just a hint of chocolate. Some freshly cooked Spätzli (pasta) and red cabbage will garnish what will be a flavour packed dish.

We will then serve what many consider to be a quirky way with the cheese course  (it is in fact the French way so very quirky by English standards) – just the one,but one of our

Winterdale Shaw - Picture @TWFoodie
Winterdale Shaw – Picture @TWFoodie

favourites… Winterdale Shaw Cheese from the top of Wrotham Hill, an unpasteurised carbon neutral cheddar. The milk comes from 200 yds down the road from the Friesan dairy herd and a 1000 gallons needs little heating using their solar panelled heat exchange pumps! Some 10 months later the cheeses matured in their flint lined cellars are ready for eating! Homemade Porridge Oat Biscuits and our homemade Banana Jam will be served with it.

Finally to complete the quirky nature of our dinner we felt it should be chocolate beer and sauerkraut… in a cake form… yes you heard right we combine chocolate, beer and pickled cabbage as a cake – we promise you it really does work!

Coffee & Tea (thinking of getting a Quirky Blend for the night) will complete the evening.

To reserve your places just head on over to our online box office 

Dates: 21st & 22nd April 2017

Time: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation: £30 per person (service not included)

Menu 

Wild Garlic Panna Cotta, Toasted Cob Nuts, Ikan Bilis

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Braised Pork Cheeks with a Chocolate Mole Sauce,

Spätzli & Red Cabbage

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Winterdale Shaw Cheddar, Porridge Oat Biscuits, Banana Jam

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Sauerkraut, Beer & Chocolate Cake

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Coffee, Tea & Petit Fours

Menu Subject to Market Purchases and Ingredients Availability. 

All loved up…

hearts1Well that date is fast approaching when couples habitually inhabit those tables of two’s in a restaurant and look lovingly into each other’s eyes across the dinner table!

You can tell I am a fan of this night of romantic love big time – Not!

It is generally hype to fill perhaps a quiet week night (a Tuesday this year) and dreaded by restaurants when it falls on a weekend night as they fill up in under capacity!

I have such strong memories of a “Valentine Night” in a restaurant I was working in when a couple came in for dinner who had obviously had a row and I think the guy was there under duress.

They ordered two” well done” fillet steaks and requested they be served with peas (we were upmarket and served a medley of vegetables)

confusciusI sent the waitress back with the message “Old Chinese Philosopher Confucius says Man who eats “Meat and Peas” on same plate is very unhygienic”

The waitress thought for moment and then giggled and said I can’t tell them that… I said please try!

Some restaurants get all creative with overpriced pun induced menus using not in season produce – e.g. Asparagus, Strawberries etc or pink coloured foods! I even tried one year doing a Valentine themed dinner here for my Supperclub and found it a tortuous night so vowed never again!

cooking2I am much more in favour of seeing you all cooking something special at home and perhaps pushing the boat out with a meal lovingly prepared for a loved one. It makes much more a statement than splashing out on a substandard meal in a restaurant.

So this would be my suggestion on a good seasonal menu

Ceviche of Smoked Haddock with a Celeriac Remoulade

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Chicken Bhuna (cooked in a Slow Cooker)

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Tangy Lemon Posset

with homemade Shortbread Biscuits

cookingYou will note I have provided links for all the recipes so why not give it a go and impress a loved one and cook them up this special treat… it will not break the bank and I am sure it will impress the other half!

Failing that why not come along later in the month for our February dinner event that we are calling “Game On as we will be featuring assorted Game dishes from Venison to Guinea Fowl.  You can book the dinners here on our dedicated ticketing site!

Alternatively if you what to learn how to prepare these or any other dishes there is always the Covert Cook School where we can help you build your confidence and assist those untapped wooing skills…

Far better than going out with all those other sad ones!!!

Game On… our February Menu

So it has been six years since our last “Game On” dinner when we dedicated the menu to a “Game” themed one.

We felt it was long overdue as winter months are a perfect time to enjoy this much forgotten and often not appreciated culinary treat. So this months menu will feature heavily three types of game.

We will kick the meal off with a Carpaccio of Venison, this is thinly sliced slivers of raw venison loin that we will marry to slices of pickled beetroot and some walnuts all dressed with a horseradish cream.

Next we will serve up a classic risotto that will have the addition of creamed sweetcorn that will then be topped with slivers of roasted wood pigeon breasts and roasted baby corn.  I am drooling just thinking of this!

The main course will be a breast of Guinea Fowl that will be studded with a force-meat of the legs mixed with Prunes. The breast will then be roasted off and served on top of a potato rosti and garnished with a red wine & prune sauce and some wilted spring onions. Then of course green beans will also feature.

To complete the meal we will then serve up a warm bread and butter pudding laced with chocolate and orange marmalade. We will keep it simple by serving it with some pouring cream – just a few extra calories.

Dates: Friday 24th  & Saturday 25th February 2017

Venue: Hari’s Secret Location

Time: 7:30pm Welcome 8:00pm Dinner Served

Suggested Donation: £40 per person (service not included)

Menu

Welcome drink and seasonal nibbles

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Venison & Beetroot Carpaccio

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Roasted Wood Pigeon & Sweet Corn Risotto

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Breast of Guinea Fowl, Prune & Spring Onion

Haricots Vert

Potato Rosti

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Chocolate & Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding

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Coffee, Tea & Petit Fours 

Menu Subject to Market Purchases & Ingredient Availability 

To book your places please click here

What makes a good meal?

Well this is a bit of a deep question to kick the year off and it is some time since I have blogged a post so why not start this New Year with something deep and meaningful!

We were fortunate to have spent the Xmas period in warmer climes on the Canary island of Tenerife.  We have fond memories of previous holidays and even a honeymoon on the Island and we certainly were looking forward to revisiting some old haunts and eating some of our favourite foods on the island.

One dish famous throughout the islands is Canarian Chicken served with Salt Crusted new potatoes. The chicken (thighs & drumsticks) is fried in oil till crisp served with Green (Coriander) and Red (Red Pepper) Mojo Sauces and accompanied by new potatoes that are simply boiled in very salty water until they develop a really white salty crust… simple, honest, and inexpensive food.

Our favourite for this dish was a place called Otello either in the village of Adeje or their more accessible place called imaginatively Otello 2 at the beach area of Playa Fanabe.  Well, we felt on this occasion the beach place failed to live up to expectations and lacked something… the chicken was a little dry and overcooked. The Mojo Sauces were good but lacked freshness, bread was stale and overall when compared to Pago Pago in St Margarida Nr Rosas on main land Spain (See review here) was positively substandard by comparison for roughly the same price!

Another favourite in the past had been an Argentinian Steak House called Rodeo in the area known as Torviscas.

This place is mammoth in every aspect,  a room of gargantuan proportions with a central buffet area laden with assorted salads. Waiting staff dressed in baggy Gaucho style trouser costumes circulated the room with assorted skewered meats or trolleys laden with roasted meats.  The concept is you can eat as much as you want for a one off price!

We have seen locals and tourists tucking in till they are so green with over indulgence they have literally passed out! This time we felt the place had lost its charm and again also lacked the quality of previous visits.  Meat a main constituent of the experience was often chewy and lacking in flavour. In fact overall the place ended up being the most expensive of our visit to the island and failed to deliver value or memories to cherish that it once had.

So what does make a good meal, for me first of all the food has to be memorable, the setting and ambience matched to this as well as service that is both professional and slick all help to add to the experience.

Our last meal on the island was in the village of Los Abrigos just south of the airport in a specialist fish restaurant.(One of many in the village) Grilled Prawns from the griddle plate and some Razor Clams with sunny views across the harbour with a waiter providing attentive, friendly and slick service at a fair price was the perfect finish.

Eating out relies on many factors to make it memorable… the food, the service and the setting are all contributing factors to the memory and I certainly hope we manage to deliver on all fronts with our pop up events. We put a great deal of effort into delivering good tasty food, friendly service and a relaxing ambience for a fair price.

I myself have experienced many a meal that lacked each of these factors and felt very frustrated that they often get the basics wrong.

So with this in mind we kick our 2017 events off with a “January Sale” where we are asking diners to pay a minimum of just £10 per person for three courses of freshly cooked food.  The twist to this is we are asking guests to contribute more if they feel it has been worth it…

We filled out these meals within thirty six hours of opening bookings and have even added an extra session (also sold out)…  Delivering the expectation is a challenge and one we cherish.

We do hope you will come and see what we have to offer during 2017, our raison d’etre has always been good food, good service and good value – simple you may think… come and see for yourself…

Booking for February Events – Game On – opens 9:00am Friday 20th January

Now Booking for Covert on the Mountain – Crowborough Community Centre – Saturday March 25th

An ideal Xmas gift ?

Well with Christmas fast approaching we can announce some exciting plans for 2017 and this might well make an interesting Christmas gift for someone that appreciates their food…

We will be announcing our full line up of dinner dates for 2017 in a few days but a note for your diary will be our planned event for March 2017 that will be a much bigger dinner in a new location for us.

We will be taking secret dining to the town of Crowborough just south of Tunbridge Wells where for one night only on March 25th  we will be serving a four course dinner to guests in the Gallery Community Cafe a space within the Crowborough Community Centre that we will be renting for the evening.

The poster below explains a little more and our booking site for this event will open on Monday December 12th at 09:00am.

Reservation Tickets will only be on sale until Tuesday 28th February 2017 so make sure you reserve your places early to ensure you get in.

To book your places please go to our dedicated booking site for this event here

crowborough-poster

Ho Ho Ho – our Christmas Menu now booking…

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As the weather has turned a bit more chilly we thought we would now reveal what will be in store for our Christmas menu.

We have decided to make it a “non Turkey” celebration this year but will however be serving up a crispy Confit Duck Leg as the main course, one of our favourites…

The starter will be a re-working of the potato and black pudding terrine that was served up by Chef Visen at the recent Anno Gin dinner.

We will serve up a warmed slab of a Potato and Chorizo Terrine which we will be served with a smoked paprika  mayonnaise and some toasted salted almonds.santa1

Following the main course some Colston Basset Stilton cheese (a must for Christmas) will be our cheese course. To then finish our celebration  we will be serving a trio of miniature tarts which will include a mini mincemeat one laced with Anno Sloe Gin!!!

This will be a great way to get your Christmas celebrations underway… at the moment we have a private party on the Friday night so only the Saturday night will be available. Please do  book early to ensure you get your desired places.dec

Dates: Friday 16th  & Saturday 17th December 2016

Venue: Hari’s Secret Location

Time: 7:30pm Welcome 8:00pm Dinner Served

Suggested Donation: £40 per person (service not included)

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Ho Ho Ho Its Christmas…

Welcome Drink with Seasonal Nibbles

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Warm Potato & Chorizo Terrine, Smoked Paprika Mayonnaise, Salted Almonds.

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Crispy Confit Duck Leg, Braised Puy Lentils, Haricots Vert

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Colston Basset Stilton, Porridge Oat Biscuits, Banana Jam

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Trio of Mini Tarts

Glazed Lemon Curd
Mincemeat Crumble
Chocolate with Salted Peanut Brittle
all served with Clotted Cream

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Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Menu subject market purchases and ingredient availability

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“Cuckoo Cuckoo” its April…well nearly!

Well things are getting warmer and we seem to be enjoying longer daylight hours as the clocks are about to change… Spring really has sprung and we are keen to reflect that further in this next month’s menu and event.

cuckooAs the 14th April is deemed to be “St Tiburtius’ Day” when cuckoos start to sing we will be celebrating this event with a suitably seasonal menu!

Following a welcome drink on arrival – “a glass of sparkling perry with the addition of creme de cassis”  served along with some seasonal nibbles we will then as a first course be serving a classic wild garlic pestocombination of wild garlic pesto spiked risotto garnished with some sweet tasting crab meat. I really love making a risotto and the challenge is always to get it creamy and unctuous with a full flavour.

We will then move onto the main course of a pink roasted Rump of Lamb that will be served  with a piquant tomato and ginger sauce and a compote of spring onions. The vegetables served with this will be Green Beans (Haricot Verts) and duck fat baby roasted new potatoes.

Our cheese course next will reflect our market purchases and we will also serve our porridge oat biscuits infused with Ile de Re Sea Salt along with our homemade Banana Jam.

Finally we will complete the meal with our pudding… a Vanilla Panna Cotta, a lightly set cream that will be topped with a compote of fresh Rhubarb and then more than likely we will serve some warm fresh out the oven Butter Shortbread biscuits. A great combination and we hope a fitting end to this month’s meal.velo

Coffee this month will be courtesy of Velo Coffee Company  of
Bearsted – we will be showcasing their freshly roasted single origin coffee from Rwanda. More about that in another post!

Suggested Donation: £35.00 per person (Service not included)

Dates: Friday 15th & Saturday 16th April 2016

Arrival: 7:30pm – Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm – Served

Menu

Crab & Wild Garlic Risotto

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Roasted Chump of Lamb, Tomato & Ginger Sauce

Green Beans, Roasted Baby New Potatoes

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses, Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam

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Vanilla Panna Cotta with Poached Rhubarb Compote,

Warm Butter Shortbread

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Velo Coffee or Tea & Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

To reserve your places please complete the booking form below – we will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to confirm your booking.