Tag Archives: Kent

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

The Itch Dinner… 7 years and counting…

Well what started out as a bit of fun and a way to show how valuable social media advertising and engagement can be we are soon to be marking a bit of a milestone.

We hope we have not been irritating or contagious but believe it or not we have now come November 2016  been doing pop ups for seven years – hence the itch!

We felt a monthly dinner in our secret location would be a great way to demonstrate how we could build a following and develop an idea . So what better way to celebrate at our November dinners than with a special 7-Course tasting menu of dishes we love and we hope you too will savour.

The idea will be to serve this menu of tasting sized portions of some of our favourite dishes. We have developed the concept over the years and we think we have done a range of dinners in some pretty unusual locations as well! In the cellar of the cheese makers at Winterdale Shaw plus the top of Yalding Church roof and even in the private home of Dame Kelly Holmes.

We will kick the evening off with a dish we did some five years ago that we named “A taste of Catalonia” – Roasted Red Peppers  served with Marinated Anchovies and a slice of toasted Ciabatta.

Following this we will serve a freshly made risotto with roasted butternut  squash topped with crumbled goats cheese and toasted Kent cob nuts

Next we will serve a pan fried fillet of sea bass that will be served with a delicate ginger cream sauce. A flavour combination inspired by my friendship with chef But for over 40 years.

The main course will feature some beautiful Kentish Lamb Shoulder that we will slow cook as little individual hot pots and serve with some green beans. These we will garnish with a slice of crispy air dried ham and maybe another little surprise as well.

We then normally always serve our cheese following the main course in the French fashion and on this occasion we will serve our stalwart favourite Winterdale Shaw… the carbon neutral Cheddar from the top of Wrotham Hill.  Our now infamous Porridge Oat Biscuits and some homemade chutney as well.

We will then serve two desserts… firstly a firm favourite with Mrs HC is the Lemon Posset which we will serve with a Raspberry Compote topping and a warm butter shortbread.

Finally the “Damian Allsop”  Water Chocolate Mousse which we hope to serve with a tasting glass of vintage Maury a luscious sweet red wine from the region where we had our holiday home until this summer.

So seven courses to mark seven years of covert dining!

Dates: Friday 25th  & Saturday 26th November 2016

Venue: Hari’s Secret Location

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

Suggested Donation: £45 per person (service not included)

The Itch Dinner

Taste of Catalonia – Anchovy & Roasted Red Peppers

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Butternut Squash Risotto, Goats Cheese & Toasted Cob Nuts

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Pan Fried Sea Bass with a Ginger Cream Sauce

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Kentish Shoulder of Lamb Hot Pot, Green Beans, Bacon Crisp

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Winterdale Shaw, Porridge Oat Biscuits, Chutney

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Lemon Posset, Raspberry Compote, Butter Shortbread

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“Damian Allsop” Water Chocolate Mousse

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Coffee or Tea

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability 

Slope Off Friday…at Hari’s

Jules Serkin

We are excited to be hosting a special networking luncheon for Kent Businesses – this is the brainchild of Jules Serkin and Andrew Knott who arrange a monthly “Slope Off Friday” at a new venue each month.

Hari’s “Pop Up” is the November venue on Friday November 4th from 2pm (prompt) onward.  We have put together a simple three course lunch menu that will be served to just 14 guests who wish to do a bit of networking in a relaxed and fun way and kick their weekend off with a bang!

Beer Bread

The menu we have devised is as follows and it is competitively priced at £16.50 per person – Water will be provided but you will need to bring your own alcoholic drinks. (Glasses Provided)

Booking can only be made through our dedicated booking page with its “Covert Link”  and if you wish to attend this lunch you will need to request the link via the form below.

Homemade Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup served with Hari’s Own Beer Bread

or

Mushrooms on Toast

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Slow Cooked Pork Goulash served with Rice & Vegetables

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Oven Baked Sea Bass Fillet served with crushed New Potatoes & Vegetables with a herb beurre blanc

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Homemade Apple Crumble with Taywell Ice Cream

or

Winterdale Shaw Cheddar with Homemade Porridge Oat Crackers & Banana Jam

Coffee or Tea Included

Space is limited so please make sure you book early.

Menu Subject to market purchases and ingredient availability.

Please complete the following details and we will then send you a link to book your place.

N.B. DO NOT REQUEST THE LINK IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO BOOK AS SPACES ARE VERY LIMITED

Summers passing… our September events…

We thought with summer now becoming a distant memory our menu would reflect the change of seasons.  We felt it should perhaps include some of the bountiful produce still available and represent the seasons.

mackFollowing a welcome drink and assorted nibbles we felt to kick the meal off we would start with a dish inspired with Mackerel and gooseberries – a combination made in heaven as the fruit cuts wonderfully with the oiliness of the gooseberriesfish.

The main course will be a slow cooked shoulder of lamb with a Moroccan influenced spicing served with Cous  Cous and a bean salad dressed in a yogurt and mint dressing

This will be followed by our selection of cheeses served with the porridge oat biscuits that take some three days to make… then finally for dessert a fresh plum and almond cake served with mascarpone.plums

This will then be served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes specially imported from our french home.

Dates: Friday 23rd & Saturday 24th September 2016

Time: 7:30pm welcome drink 8:00pm Dinner served

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

Menu

Mackerel & Gooseberries – our interpretation

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Spicy Moroccan Lamb Shoulder served with a herb Cous Cous

Green Bean Salad with a yogurt & mint dressing

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Hari’s selection of cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits

& Homemade Banana Jam

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Plum & Almond Cake served with mascarpone cream

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Coffee or Tea served with petit fours

MENU SUBJECT TO MARKET PURCHASES

AND INGREDIENT AVAILABILITY 

To book your places please complete the following form and we will contact you within 24/48 hours to confirm your booking with a credit card number

Summer is here…Phew

summer holsWell it has been a very hectic month for us with some charity gigs and then a plethora of private functions… We are just about to complete our last one before heading off to France for our annual break. It will be twinned with sadness as we have now sold our French home so it will be the last time we will be staying there!

We have lots already planned for the Autumn season and we will soon be taking bookings for our September & October dates… So do watch this space where we will be publishing full details in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you all have a great summer holiday and come back rested and refreshed! We will!

Cheers

Hari Covert

 

Dinner on a hot lead roof…

roofWe did say never again but well our arm was twisted and it is all in a good cause!

We are hosting another dinner on the roof of Yalding Church… in fact we are inviting 20 couples to come along for a Paella themed supper and on the night there will be a further prize draw and three couple will be invited to partake of their dinner on the roof!yc2

To be able to partake of this event we are requiring you enter our prize draw by heading over to our fundraising page here

For every £1 donation your name will be placed in the virtual hat one time. So a £5 donation will mean it will be there five times… and so on

YCPS_logo_colIt will be a fun night and the whole raison d’etre is to help this charity raise much needed funds to continue its support of the upkeep of the fabric of this building and hub of the village community.

Just remember it could be dinner on a “hot lead roof” with a great view and some fascinating company so just get donating!

Flaming June…

Well with the weather warming up we are thinking about our June events and the menu we are going to produce. We have decided to reprieve some of our favourites and we hope you will like them…

We will serve a selection of seasonal nibbles to kick the evening off along with a suitable summery drink. We will then as the first course serve a South American inspired starter of a “Ceviche” a mix of smoked haddock and raw prawns that are marinated for a few hours in a citric marinade and then served shaped like a tartare with a celeriac remoulade (dressed in a mustard mayonnaise)

Main course will be a roasted fillet of beef served with a mixed wild mushroom sauce a rosti potato cake and our veritable “haricots verts” (green beans).

For our cheese course we will make it a selection of suitable cheeses served with our infamous Porridge Oat Biscuits and home-made Banana Jam.

To complete the meal we will serve Damian Allsops “Water” Chocolate Mousse. A really light and flavoursome chocolate mousse that allows the true flavour of the chocolate to shine through as it contains no cream!. Some local summer berries and also serve up a cold pressed iced coffee to help wash it all down.

It will hopefully be a warm and sultry night and we look forward to welcoming old and new guests to our secret venue (well to the newbies at least)

To Book please complete the booking form below and we will contact you normally with 24/48 hours to confirm your booking with a credit card number.

Dates: Friday 10th & Saturday 11th June 2016

Time:  19:30 Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 20:00 Dinner Served

Suggested Donation: £40.00 Per Person (Service Not Included) 

Menu 

Ceviche of Smoked Haddock & Prawn with Celeriac Remoulade, served with corn bread 

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Roasted Fillet of Beef served with a Wild Mushroom & Cognac Sauce, Crispy Rosti Potato Cake, Haricots Verts

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Hari’s Selection of Cheeses served with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam

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Damian Allsops “Water” Chocolate Mousse, Summer Berries & Cold Pressed Coffee Milkshake

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Coffee & Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availabilty

Tapas, Meze, Light Bites… little morsels of loveliness

I have always enjoyed the idea of small plates of food that you can share so that you can sample what a kitchen has to offer and also a great way to share a meal. I have recently sampled a few meals like this in the last month or so. Firstly on a recent hook up with world renowned chocolatier Damian Allsop in Girona Spain we sampled some beautiful tapas in a back street establishment called Restaurant Curcuma. It was right in the city centre and had a modern simple decor but some great tasty and innovative tapas.

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Cod with Sobrassada Sausage
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Turmeric scented Croquetas

Highlight for me were the turmeric (the name of the restaurant) scented croquetas, crispy cased and soft unctuous centres and some steamed cod topped with roasted onions, honey and Sobrassada sausage. Innovative flavours simply presented and reasonably priced.

Then more recently we found ourselves back in the town of Whitstable at one our favourites – the infamous and highly popular Jo Jo’s Restaurant where they specialise in Mediterranean meze, – large sharing boards of assorted well sourced cold meats, cheese and small bowls of Hummus, Tzatziki etc as well as small plates of other ever changing specials and regular favourites. The cod or haddock goujons in a beer batter highlight the fresh fish that are ever so popular.

Crispy Pigs Ears...
Crispy Pigs Ears…

I also quietly ordered one of the blackboard specials of  the day… Crispy Pigs Ears with a Remoulade sauce. This was a very generous portion of crispy crumb coated slivers of porcine goodness that were to put it mildly rapidly devoured by even the youngest of our party ( a 4 year old) with gusto.

All that sharing ensured a very respectable and celebratory lunch was had by all.

Then most recently I was invited to a restaurant in the centre of Canterbury that was not on my radar or I had any idea of its existence. I was joining a friend who had been invited for a lunch at Deesons Restaurant where head chef Ross Barden was keen for us to try their newly launched “British Tapas” dishes in this quintessentially modern British restaurant.

The tapas idea here was both innovative and at time quite unexpected and as a whole worked well with some good skilful thought out dishes but then some not so well executed ones.

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We actually sampled the entire menu and were generally impressed but did feel the kitchen was trying just a shade too hard. Dishes that worked really well and were outstanding were a twice baked “Old Winchester” cheese soufflé with a carrot pureé that needed a little more seasoning and sweetness to cut against the savoury nature of the cheese. The Confit hen’s yolk with buttered leeks and crispy chicken skin soldiers was inspired. The Crispy Haggis with a poached egg and parsnip crisps was also flavoursome but technically the haggis was a tad dry from over frying/baking so needed the soft egg to add liquid!

Cider Braised Beef Shin with apple juice and ginger with mash and cabbage was a wonderful unctuous dish but again lacked in seasoning. The Spring Greens with wholegrain mustard worked beautifully as did the charred broccoli with cheese sauce and flaked almonds whilst  smoked mash potato was less popular than the the plain one – it did need more butter, cream and salt.

In fact the seasoning overall throughout the meal did raise the question did “Chef” smoke as a lot of the dishes seemed under seasoned. This is a common situation in many a kitchen and for me something that was drummed into me in my formative years how important it is to season the food correctly and also taste it.

We also sampled a couple of croquette style dishes that when compared to a “Spanish croquetas” sadly missed the mark. The Smoked Cod Kedgeree was a good idea but the large cake like croquette was just to big and clumsy, a good livid coloured curry mayonnaise was much needed to moisten it.

The Pork and Potato Croquette served with an an apple butter was also oversized and would have been better smaller and perhaps served as a threesome. The apple butter on the tapas version did not pack the same punch that it did when served with the a la carte main course of Pork Tenderloin along with Black Pudding crumb and candied walnuts and a cider jus (to die for)

So overall this was a highly enjoyable delve into how we can equally compete with our continental partners and it can well showcase our own culinary heritage.

Deeson’s is a a little gem and I look forward to a return visit as I think if Chef Ross can sort out the issues we encountered he will be a place to watch in amongst the plethora of those  uninspiring tourist eating establishments of Canterbury.

Deeson’s British Restaurant
25-26 Sun Street
Canterbury
Kent
CT1 2HX

Fiesta de la paella at Scallywag Café – Tunbridge Wells…

Looks as good as it tastes!
Looks as good as it tastes!

Well our May dinners will be a bit of a Spanish Fiesta with us cooking an authentic Paella freshly before your very eyes in central Tunbridge Wells.

The plan is over two nights we will be  based at the Scallywag Café where we will taking over the premises on the Friday 20th & Saturday 21st May on each evening.

We will serve up a simple selection of Tapas to kick the evening off and then serve up a classic one pan Paella comprising of Chicken, Chorizo and Prawns (Vegetarian option is also available)

To finish it all there will be a simple Almond Tart Served with Taywell’s Honeycomb Ice Cream.

20150906_150957There will be a selection of drinks available for purchase direct from Scallywag Café and owner John is also planning some live Iberian themed musical entertainment to get you all in your own sombrero stomping mood!

To book the event you can do so via our dedicated page the Billetto ticketing web site here.

No bookings can be made directly with Scallywag Café or via the Hari Covert web site they can only be made via the Billetto ticket site.

We have limited spaces each night so please do book early to ensure you get the places your require.

Dates: Friday 20th & Saturday 21st May

Venue: Scallywag Café, 45 Mount Ephriam , Tunbridge Wells, TN4 8AA

Time: 7:30pm for 8:00pm

Menu

Assorted Tapas –

Gazpacho Shots, Deep Fried Croquetas, Pan Catalan, Tortilla Bites, Manchego & Honey

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Freshly Cooked Paella –

A mixture of Chicken, Chorizo & Prawns cooked with peppers, green beans & Mussels

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Pastas de Almendra with Taywell Honeycomb Ice Cream

(Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability)

Wines & Drinks can be purchased on the night direct from Scallywag Café

Live Entertainment – format to be confirmed.

Booking closes: 18th May 2016 at 5pm

On “yer bike” coffee…

We are showcasing a fledgling company with our next dinner when it comes to our coffee service at the end of the meal.

The brain child of Maidstone Boys Grammar School  6th Former Dan Westby, he has been a big fan of coffee for a number of years. After much internet searching along with a loan from the bank of “Mum & Dad” he set himself  up with a coffee bean roasting machine.

Dan has thought through the whole business he has set up from the very clever name to the whole structure and set up. Velo Coffee is designed to be sustainable by selling their roasted beans at local farmers market in Bearsted each month to then being hand delivered by bike as that is Dan’s second passion.

So after much research and some clever branding Velo Coffee was born and Dan now sources his bean choice with the help of his customers and effectively small batch roasts to order the coffee to ensure the maximum freshness.

His current choice of bean is from Rwanda , and precisely Gashonga a small region close to the Congo and Burundi.

This “Red Bourbon” Variety is hand-picked  by smallholders at 1600 plus meters above sea level in ideal growing conditions that is then fermented and dried at the “Gashonga Station”.  He describes them as having a Chocolate & Brown Sugar flavour with a citrus acidity and a syrupy mouth feel.

Dan will normally buy 30kg of the chosen green beans  that he will then roast to order in batches of 250g at a time – a process he will do at last minute before delivery by bike to ensure they are at their optimal freshness. He will then also grind the beans for the desired method of brew. A finer grind for the filter method and a coarser grind for a Cafetiere or “French press”

The smell is evocative as the beans roast in circa 12 minutes and Dan brewed me a fresh cup on my visit to his set up that illustrated well the citrus notes of the light roasted bean that when drank black and without sugar was a perfect way to appreciate his passion.

He has promised to be on hand each night to talk about his business and the way it operates from his monthly stall at Bearsted farmers market to the subscription service that he offers to local residents where he delivers a freshly roasted pack by bike or for those further afield he will also send by Royal Mail.

For someone so young it is an enterprise to be admired and what is so evident is the passion he shows for the product – the care and attention to detail from the branding to processes involved is to be commended. I trust you will come and support him at our next dinner.

Velo Coffee Co – www.velocoffeeco.co.uk

Facebook – velocoffeeco  

Twitter – @velocoffeeco

Instagram  @velocoffeeco