Tag Archives: Local Produce

From Nose to Tail…a veritable collection of local charcuterie…

It was a bitterly cold Thursday morning when I swept into Shipbourne Farmers market near Tonbridge to collect some ingredients for a home brew from Moodley’s Beer and Wine Kits. At the entrance was a table laden with some rather good looking Salami and cured meats plus a plethora of smoked fish… It was a bit of a shock to then discovered they had all been produced in Kent and were the brain child of former Chef Paolo Rigoli and his partner Dalton Hopper. These were the real deal and Paolo willingly kept slicing a piece from each to let me sample… charcuterie overload or what….

I purchased some to take home and try and duly demolished in double quick time and then ordered some more to use at my pop up dinners in February when we did a small board of charcuterie to start off our Fondue parties. Their Tuscan salami was an amazing product – made with red wine, fennel seeds and some bigger pieces of fat the resulting salami is a real gem. I duly purchased whole lot more in readiness for my March Beer dinners as well. Including their small snacking salami aptly called a beer stick that is designed to go with a glass of beer!

Then recently I arranged to go over and see their production set up… It was an eye-opener and good to see how two passionate young lads have for a fairly modest sum set up a true artisan business. They have assorted Porta-Kabins that are the production kitchens and then an old refrigerated unit that has been adapted to be their curing chamber.

Then another area for smoking of the fish. In just over six months of production this set up is already not able meet sufficiently the demand they have created from the selling via the Farmers Markets they go to along with a growing wholesale demand as well. Plans to put in another curing chamber will mean they can then increase production of the larger joints they wish to cure and store such as the Parma Ham style legs, Coppa and Lomo joints. The legs taking up to eighteen months to reach their optimum maturity. The smaller salamis and sausage style meats taking less time means they would have greater capacity to meet the demands.

For Paolo it has been a steep learning curve as he gets to grip with the legislation and demands of running a new business. Dalton still works full time in his front of house role at a nearby restaurant so supports where and when he can. It truly is good to see such passion and dedication to produce what is a very fine product and I urge you to seek out their products at one of the Farmers markets they attend namely Shipbourne, Aylesford, Elm Court and Tonbridge and then also Horniman Market in south London.

Take a look at their web site for more details on the range of products http://www.kentcateringltd.co.uk/

March onwards…

We love a good glass of beer and we thought what could be a great theme for our March dinner event would be to pair up once again with Yudhistra Moodley of Moodley’s Craft Beer & Wine Making (we last hosted a dinner with Moodleyshim in January 2012) and this time are offering something a bit different. We have always loved using his beer especially in our beer bread.

Yudhistra only brews his beers to  order now commercially but he is however now selling “The Simple Beer Kit” mostly through Farm Shops  and local farmers’ markets including Tunbridge Wells Town Hall, Tonbridge, Aylesford, Hildenborough, Lamberhurst, Shipbourne Horsmonden , West Malling & Robertsbridge and then his web site on the Internet. All so you can brew your own high quality home brew using brewing quality ingredients. You can follow him on twitter @moodleyslimited or on Facebook at Moodley’s Limited

We have teamed up with him for our dinners on Friday 13th & Saturday 14th March when we will be serving a simple beer themed supper to our guests. We will also for each pair of guests be providing a simple beer kit for you to take home and try brewing yourself. Yudhistra will also be on hand each night to answer any brewing questions you may have on how to make a successful brew.

musselsFollowing a welcome drink and beer themed nibble we will kick the evening off with a bowl of freshly cooked fresh mussels cooked in a home brew and served with our now somewhat infamous beer bread.

We will then go onto the main course dish a classic pork shoulder stew braised in beer with carrots and onions. We will serve this with a herby bulgur wheat and some purple sprouting broccoli – a good warming bit of comfort food

Decadent Chocolate TorteFinally we will then serve a classic chocolate cake made with a dark beer that will be served with a compote of blood oranges and some mascarpone cream.

Then with coffee and we will serve some petit fours.

We think it will be a fun night with the added benefit of a take home beer kit with full instructions on how to make your own home brew, what could be better?

Arrival: 7:30pm Welcome Drink & Nibbles

Dinner: 8:00pm

Suggested Donation: £40 per person including for each pair a Moodleys Simple Beer Kit (retails at £30)

Service not included

Menu

Poached Fresh Mussels in Beer with Hari’s Beer Bread

****

Beer Braised Pork with Carrots & Onion

Herbed Bulgur Wheat

Purple Sprouting  Broccoli

****

Chocolate & Porter Cake, Blood Oranges & Mascarpone

****

Coffee & Petit Fours

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

The final “O come all ye Faithful”….

dec

Cancelled – sorry for any inconvenience

Our final supperclub event of 2014 is something a bit special for us… We have always wanted to do a “Pop Up” in central Tunbridge Wells and we can now announce we are coming to the town on Saturday December 20th.

We will be located in a space in Chapel Place (8a to be precise) where for one night only we will serve a special dinner. It will be a big challenge for us as we will have to transport a kitchen into the site and all the associated equipment.

We hope you will come along and support us and get yourselves intosanta1 the festive spirit…

We will kick the evening off with a welcome drink and some festive
nibbles then diners will sit down to a sumptuous four course dinner

Arrival:  7:30pm

Dinner:  Served 8:00pm Prompt

Suggested Donation £40.00 per person (service not included)

Bring your own Alcohol – we provided water and ice buckets

Menu

Homemade Pork, Apricot & Hazelnut Terrine

with a home-made Seasonal Relish

*****

Crispy Confit Duck Leg served on a

mixed bean & Spicy Chorizo Stew

*****

Hari’s Selection of Cheeses,

Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam

*****

Christmas Pudding Iced Parfait with a Red Berry compote and holly tuile biscuit served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

*****

Coffee or Hari’s Tea Blend with Festive Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

 

O Come, All ye faithful…

Well it will soon be that time of year again when we will all start getting festive and excited about the big celebrations of Christmas. As the title suggests we do hope to see some of our regulars and also welcome some new guests as well.

Here at “Covert Towers” we too will be trying to celebrate in style with our Hari Covert suppers on the following dates…

santa15th ,  12th , and 13th December 2014. This will give you plenty of choice to come and celebrate with us. We will be serving up the same menu at each dinner all you need to do is choose the preferred date and complete the booking form below!

We will be serving up a tasty and traditional four course menu that will reflect the festive season and we hope some imaginative combinations.

The evenings will kick off with a welcome drink along with some festive nibbles. We will then commence the dinner with a home-made terrine of pork studded with apricots and hazelnuts and served with a home-made seasonal relish  and simple salad garnish. We will also serve a vegetarian alternative of a warm Onion & Goats Cheese Tart.

santa2For the main course we will go slightly traditional and serve turkey…
I have to admit not always my favourite meat but we will do a slight twist and serve an individual turkey roulade. A turkey escalope stuffed with a light forcemeat and chopped chorizo to provide a slight kick, each roulade will be wrapped in air dried ham and we will serve them with a light sage cream sauce and seasonal vegetable garnish, maybe even the odd Brussels sprout as well. We will serve a salmon steak as the veggie alternative as well with a similar garnish but a wild garlic pesto cream sauce….

In true Hari fashion we will then serve a selection of cheeses with our much admired Porridge Oat biscuits and home-made Banana Jam.

decTo finish the meal we will then serve a slightly different version of a Christmas Pudding, namely a Christmas Pudding Parfait, a home- made iced parfait that will come served with a tart red fruit compote and then a holly shaped tuile biscuit.

Coffee or our own blend of tea will be served along with some mini stollen and Christmas biscuits maybe even a mini mince pie will complete the dinners.

We ask guests to arrive at 7:30pm and dinner will start at 8:00pm

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

Menu

Homemade Pork, Apricot & Hazelnut Terrine with a home-made Seasonal Relish

Vegetarian Alternative:

Warm Onion & Goats Cheese Tart with Salad Leaves

*****

Turkey Roulade with a chorizo stuffing, Roasted Potato & Parsnip Rosti and a Sage Cream Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables

Vegetarian Alternative:

Roasted Salmon Fillet, Roasted Potato & Parsnip Rosti and a Wild Garlic Pesto Cream Sauce, Seasonal Vegetables

*****

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

*****

Christmas Pudding Iced Parfait with a Red Berry compote and holly tuile biscuit served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

*****

Coffee or Hari’s Tea Blend with Festive Petit Fours

Menu subject to market purchases & ingredient availability

To Book your places please complete the Booking Form below. We will normally contact you within 24/48 Hours to confirm your booking with a Credit Card number.

Please also indicate how many of your party require the Vegetarian Alternative dishes.

Chocolate heaven…

Restaurant Mimo d’en Damian – Girona

Well it was blue skies and a warm autumn afternoon when I set off from my house in France and I basked in the glorious scenery as I whizzed down the motorway towards Spain. Once through the peage at Le Boulou you climb over the mountains before dropping into Spain and the commercial “duty free” shopping conurbation of La Jonqueria – it was all going swimmingly well and I was excited at the prospect of dinner on the opening night at Damian’s new venture.

It was then a wall of traffic in front of me and flashing indicators that bought me to a sudden halt and I then began to panic I might not reach Girona in time for dinner! Well a lorry had shed it’s load and police were busy trying to reopen the motorway… some 45 minutes later I was motoring and my expectation was rising yet again.

I arrived in Girona just as the sun was setting and the birds were all coming home to roost! The cacophony was deafening and as I wandered around the old town I found myself sitting on Independence Square with it’s plethora of restaurants and bars and a real buzz as the locals were beginning to unwind at the end of their working day.

My table was booked for 8:30pm early by Spanish standards for a dinner reservation and I was to be joined by some friends who had motored up from Barcelona. They were running a little late having got stuck in the commuter traffic of Barcelona but as I sat at my table waiting I perused the decor. Simple understated table decorations included a chocolate cube sculpture on each table, a wall mounted chocolate sculpture in the shape of a cocoa pod and then some wooden tree branches also covered in chocolate sculptured facsimiles of cocoa pods all added to the statement “it is all about the chocolate”.

Damian is a renowned chocolatier and holds the mantle of the fourth best in the world and was mentor to Jordi Roca of the local El Celler can Roca.  He has, with his partner Anna, her sister and her husband formed a partnership that has seen the rebirth of Restaurant Mimolet as Mimo d’en Damian. Located near the cathedral in the old part of the city it is a perfect location for Damian to showcase his creations with a small boutique shop and a modern understated simple decor within the restaurant.

So my guests arrived and settled and then the meal commenced… the menu is divided between fundamentally two choices of menu. The Plantation Menu – a degustation menu of either five or eight courses that reflects the varying chocolates that Damian likes to work perfectly illustrates the natures of their provenance. The use of a different chocolate in some form or another at each course is very much a feature.

The other menu choice on offer is named “La Finca”  a menu that provides a simple 3 choice three course menu that with seasonal influences of home inspired dishes often without chocolate except for the dessert!!! Then for groups of four or more Damian has also introduced a menu titled “LA  XOCOLATADA“. This is a selection of a lot of the dishes reflected in the other two menus.  Complemented by a simple main course of roasted chicken ballontine with garnish and to complete the sharing meal effectively a chocolate fondue served with assorted accompaniments to dip and dunk accordingly! The ethos is the re-invention of the sharing of a meal.

So we plumped for the Plantation eight course degustation (one wimped out with the 5 courses) and we decided to go that extra bit with the wines included chosen by the restaurant for an amazing 45 Euros per person. (more about that later)

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First up was what was described as snacks and were presented on a wooden board with a balloon whisk. Little miniature croquettes with capers, little coca biscuits (a local cracker) topped with a smooth velvety pumpkin mousse topped with chopped walnuts and then nestling in the whisk where what were described as Sweet corn Crisps – looking like giant onion rings these crisp little confections just melted in the mouth… all went perfectly with the lovely chilled glass of Cava that appeared in front of us.

Bread then arrived. It was intriguing and Damian explained had taken much experimentation to perfect. Fundamentally an olive oil bread that used cocoa butter these little rolls had a lovely crispy exterior and a very stringy moreish texture within…

The first course up was the described as the Santa Pau Bean Soup, a dry plate duly arrived with an arrangement of diced carrots and beans in the bottom – a sliver of dried bread that Damian describes as using a cocoa ferment in its making process and a spherical scoop of bacon ice cream before a dark chocolate coloured broth was poured into the bowl. Intense depth of flavours and balanced seasoning combinations ensured this was a great start to the meal, the ice cream melted to provide a creamy edge to the soup and the delicate bread softened within the broth – masterful.

Next came the Cep Royal, Onion Foam and a garnish of camomile and cacao soil, a shallow glass bowl had a dark warm set mousse in its base with that distinct earthy boletus flavour of the wild mushroom, a delicate light sweet flavoured onion foam had been squirted onto this and all garnished with a crunchy decoration of cocoa nibs. Textural and flavourful combinations that were truly magnificent and equally memorable. Flavours zinged in the mouth and lingered with every spoonful!

Our next course was described as White Fish, Saffron veloute, fennel & orange on the menu. We were served two fresh shell on prawns that were perfectly cooked. The sauce had a delicate aerated texture and had the addition of cacao butter to provide a richness to the dish. It was a accomplished but for me perhaps the weakest dish of the night and perhaps still a work in progress, nonetheless still very enjoyable.

Next came the main course and one I looked forward to as I am a massive fan of the “Pork Cheek”. It is something of a local favourite in the region and often found on menus both in Spanish Cataluña and French Catalan eateries. Damian interpretation was for me totally inspired. The presentation was simple but effective the pork cheek had been cooked perfectly and then shredded and formed into what effectively looked like a chocolate brownie.The garnish of unctuous smooth potato puree and then a masterful finely shredded acidic yet sweet addition of bright pink red cabbage provided the necessary foil for the richness of the meat… This was truly magnificent and for me the revelation of forming the shredded meat into a brownie shaped form on the plate was inspired and the addition of the classic mole sauce using Michel Cluizels “Los Ancones” 68% chocolate just delivered the whole dish to stellar heights. The Brueberry Negre wine from Monsant was the perfect choice to go with dish as well… I loved it

A short pause to allow us to digest the richness for the main dish was then broken by the arrival of the final stretch of the meal! The fact that Damian is formerly a pastry chef meant we were then in for a treat as he presented the three desserts on his menu.

Firstly as a palate cleanser he served up what he describes as a Grapefruit and Basil Sandwich. It was a slab of pink grapefruit sorbet of such a lovely intense flavour sandwiched between two thin pieces of crispy meringue that had the addition of basil within. Simply placed on a plate with an undercarriage of Jordi Rocas milk chocolate “Rocalat” effectively milk chocolate shavings as used within the local infamous “Roca” ice cream parlour. God this was good and got us all excited as what else was going to be served up.

Next came what the menu described as Original Beans Virunga 70% – Forastero Beans from the Congo, a lactic free Cremosa of Cru Virunga served with Olive Oil financier, sea water and blackcurrant crisps. This was pure artistry in the visual sense as well as the eating sense. The Cremosa or mousse like chocolate quenelle in the centre of the plate was surrounded by two little olive oil cakes with the addition of little round discs of crispy sea water and then a wafer thin scroll of blackcurrant that melted in the mouth and provided an amazing combination to the fruity flavour of the chocolate. The salty flavour of the sea water crisps were revolutionary.

I know Damian has recently developed a chocolate ganache that also uses the sea water sourced from a natural marine park off the coast of Ibiza. It was another level from the previous dessert and got me thinking how do you follow this!

Well only Damian could follow it with yet another chocolate dessert and this was showcasing a chocolate I know Damian is very passionate about. Listed as Pacari Raw 70% it is a chocolate he imports himself direct from the plantation. He served it slightly warm in a glass plate bowl aerated using a nitrogen dioxide siphon, garnished with chopped pieces of raisin biscuits and a delicate jasmine tea sorbet to cleanse the mouth between each mouthful  it was inspired and whilst simple to look at has taken many months of tweaking and re working to achieve such a memorable finish to what had been a stunningly good meal.

Coffee served with a trio selection of the water ganache chocolates Damian is famous for completed the meal – spherical white chocolate & raspberry truffles and a dark chocolate and mint truffle came served on little white spoons and a oval salted peanut chocolate completed the trio.

At the 45 Euros per person including the wines it was amazing value for money and well worth the trip. In fact I can not recommend the region and the city enough, it has such a diversity and the arrival of Damian within the city has rekindled his love affair with the area and means even more can now experience the passion he has for chocolate. The small boutique within the restaurant means you can purchase his chocolates directly and the meeting room adjacent will also be used for private parties and tutored tastings. I felt privileged to have been there on their opening night and I know my friends from Barcelona were equally impressed.

I cannot wait to return again in February when I will be back in the area… just go and check out the flights to the area , book a ticket and get yourself there to sample what has been the best meal experience I have had in a while.

I wish the team the best of luck and hope they survive and prosper in a competitive market as well as testing times in Spain – when you get there just tell them Hari sent you!

Mimo d’en Damian, Pou Rodo. num 12, 17004 Girona

Tel +34 972 202 124   email : restaurant@mimodamian.cat

www.mimodamian.cat

Apple Homage…our October dinners

Well as Autumn fast approaches this months dinner will focus on the humble apple as a key ingredient at each course.

We will kick the meal off with a glass of Kir Normande… A glass of chilled cider with the addition of creme de cassis and some seasonal apple themed nibbles!

The first course will be a homemade brawn of Kentish Apples, Cooked Potatoes and Smoked Haddock set in an Apple Jelly. We will serve this with a light horseradish cream and some crisp Melba toasts. It will be a light start to what will be a fairly hefty dinner.

Next will be a slowly braised pork cheek, cooked in apple juice the tart and slightly sweet flavour helps cut into the richness of the meat and we will serve this alongside a slow cooked and crispy piece of pork belly. We will serve some roasted apple to cut the richness of both meats and the mustard grain creamed potatoes and our ubiquitous serving of green beans will complete the main course.

We will then serve a couple of our favourite cheeses – namely the local cheddar from Winterdale Shaw plus a personal favourite the Stichleton, this is the blue veined cheese from Nottinghamshire made in the traditional way of Stilton from unpasteurised milk. All served with our porridge oat biscuits and our home-made Banana Jam, plus of course some fresh crisp apple as well!

Finally we will serve a Apple, Pine Nut and Cinnamon Torte with a garnish of Salted Caramel sauce and a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream. We will also serve a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes with this as we will have restocked our cellars of our local French wine!

To complete the dinner we will then serve either coffee or tea with an appropriate petit four. I will have the week before the dinners also been down in Spain (Girona) attending the opening of “master chocolatier” Damian Allsop’s new chocolate restaurant and shop so might have imported some special goodies! You will all have to wait and see!

We request a suggested donation of £35 per person (service not included) Guests requested to arrive at 7:30pm with dinner served at 8:00pm promptly.

Dates: Friday 10th (Breakfast Friends – Exclusive Night) Now Fully Booked 

& Saturday 11th October 2014 – Spaces still available


“Apple Homage”

Welcome Drink served with Seasonal Canapé’s

++++

Kentish Apple, Potato & Smoked Haddock Brawn

Horseradish Cream & Melba Toast

++++

Apple Juice Braised Pork Cheeks & Crispy Roasted Pork Belly

Roasted Apples, Grain Mustard Creamed Potatoes

Green Beans

++++

Winterdale Shaw Cheddar Cheese & Stichleton

Hari’s Porridge Oat Biscuits & Homemade Banana Jam

++++

Apple, Pine Nut & Cinnamon Torte served with Salted Caramel Sauce

and Vanilla Ice Cream

Served with a glass of Muscat de Rivesaltes

++++

Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

N.B. Menu Subject to Market Purchases and Ingredient Availability 

To book please complete the form below or click this Breakfast Friends link for their exclusive Friday night.

 

September Menus… Hari’s Favourites

UPDATE…

JUST 2 Spaces left  for 20th September …Please spread the word…

Well we are back home and all is looking good. We have decided to do four nights in September over two weekends this month as it has been over nine months since we did dinners in our own home and we have something rather different now. We have decided to do a simple choice set menu on each weekend that will give diners a chance to sample some of our favourite dishes. On September 5th and 6th the Menu will be as follows. Choice can be made on the night which is something new for us!

Arrival 7:30pm Dinner served at 8:00pm

Gravad Lax with a Sweet German Mustard Sauce 

Onion & Goats Cheese Tart with a Salad Leaf Garnish

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Spicy Moroccan Lamb Tajine with Cous Cous

Smoked Cod Fish Cakes, Wilted Spinach and a Lemon Butter Sauce

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Chocolate “Nutella” Torte with a Red Berry Compote

Hari’s Cheese Selection with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam

Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Suggested Donation £30 per person (service not included)


 

September 19th and 20th the menu will be as follows:-

 

Wild Mushroom Risotto

Pork & Apricot Terrine with Rocket & Pine Nut  Salad

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Poached Chicken Breast with Spinach, Feta & Sun dried Tomato Stuffing, Herb Butter Sauce. Lemon Bulgar Wheat

Roasted Salmon Fillet with Chorizo, Green Beans & New Potatoes

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Flourless Orange & Hazelnut Torte with Marmalade Cream

Hari’s Cheese Selection with Porridge Oat Biscuits & Banana Jam

Coffee or Tea with Petit Fours

Suggested Donation £30 per person (service not included)

NB: All Menus Subject to

Market Purchases and Ingredient Availability

Please complete the booking form below to secure your places. Please note we will normally contact you within 24 to 48 hours to confirm your booking.

 

More tea vicar…

Well following our disappointment with the Bell Inn at Ticehurst the next day was as I previously described was the difference between “Chalk and Cheese”

The day started with my Swiss friends managing firstly at getting lost with their Sat Nav and arriving somewhat late for a hastily arranged private tea tasting… It was one of my friends who is something of a tea fanatic and I thought what could be more unique than arrange a private tea tasting courtesy of master tea blender Alex Probyn of Shoreham based tea company Blends for Friends.

Alex has grown his business at a phenomenal rate over the last few years and what intially was a tea blending for individual customers is now by something of a monolithic giant in bespoke tea companies. He blends brews for clients around the globe from 5 star hotels to even other tea companies.

We arrived late but Alex warmly greeted us all and we got stuck into a quick (by Alex’s standards) tutorial on the differing types of tea.

Well a good hour later after a tutored tasting and a very informative tour of his set up we left with some great tea blends and more importantly I left with a supply of specially blended tea ready for the Vicars Picnic scheduled for August 30th in Yalding!

The Vicars Picnic Blend is a mix of three teas… Indian Assam, Sri Lankan Dimbula and a Chinese Yunnan… it is a fruity flavour in the style of an English Breakfast Tea that will go well with the planned scones, jam and clotted cream!

photo 1 (4)
The “Vicars Picnic” Tea Blend

The tea will be also on sale in retail packs to take home as well so you can have a lasting memory of the day!

Pickering’s Choice… Saturday 19th July

Chef Peter PickeringWe have decided for our first official dinner in our restored home to host a special dinner on Saturday 19th July. (if demand sufficient then we will also do Friday 18th July)

We have invited a guest chef to launch our new venue and we will be joined by Peter Pickering a 27 year old chef who is a young lad to watch. I have known Peter since 2009 when I was appointed his mentor at Oxford Brookes University in his final year of study before he graduated in May 2010.

He has since gone on to work in some prestigious places from the 5 star Milestone Hotel in London to the Broadcasting Centre for the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to the opening of “Dinner by Heston Blumenthal” with Ashley Palmer Watts, The Café Royal relaunch in late 2012  and then more recently the Chiltern Firehouse the new André Balazs Hotel in late 2013 working alongside Chef Nuno Mendes. A truly impressive pedigree.

I have asked Peter to put together a menu to relaunch the new Hari venue and we will be hosting a five course menu that will reflect his experiences in some pretty amazing restaurants. I will be acting as his commis chef and it will be as much a learning experience for me with modern techniques and imaginative flavour combinations! Very exciting!

Peter’s menu will be as follows:

Menu

Grilled little gem salad, Nuns of Caen, marinated button mushrooms, soy and sherry dressing

*****

Seared Cornish mackerel, poached rhubarb, pickled shallots, borage

*****

Cotswold white chicken, confit heart, onion and horseradish, spring greens

*****

Chocolate mousse, passion fruit jelly, milk and lemon thyme

*****

Hari’s Selection of Farmhouse Cheeses with Porridge Oat Biscuits

*****

Coffee with Homemade Shortbread

Menu subject to market purchases and ingredient availability

Arrival 7:30pm – Welcome Drink & Canapés

Dinner 8:00pm – prompt

Suggested Donation £50 person – service not included

If you wish to attend then please complete the following booking form. It will be a single table seating 14 persons in total and we will be allocating places on a first come first served basis.

We look forward to seeing what we hope will be some new and old customers!

Not ringing my bell…

The Bell Inn – Ticehurst – Well I had a quick lunch here a couple of weeks ago with Mrs HC as we wanted a place close to a B&B that some friends visiting us were staying in. We only had some light bites but were quite impressed so we booked a table for dinner on this basis.

So the appointed day arrived and we rendezvoused with them for a pre dinner drinks while we perused the menu. The place had guests but was certainly in no way rammed with diners but service was a little slow and on reflection a little more formal than it had been for the lunch we had consumed.

Starters chosen ranged from a Spinach Soup that had a good vibrant colour and came garnished with supposedly soft poached egg in it (the egg alas was over cooked) A salad of smoked duck was also a bit of a disappointment. Some thin slices of duck were buried under a large mound of salad and for the price charged I felt all a bit of a rip off! My crab salad was ok with some nice fresh white crab meat and then topped with some mayonnaise and a mound of slaw – all pretty basic and at nearly £9 not mind blowing in culinary terms just the price.

Our main course choices ranged from a Fillet Steak listed on the menu as “Cow” that caused much confusion with the foreign contingent of the party who were not familiar with the terminology. Two had the Cod dish that was well executed and my choice was a confit pork belly that to put it mildly was awful. I was in an awkward situation in that to complain would have been a bit churlish as the friends were likely to be picking up the tab (not that I was expecting them to) and it could have put a dampener on the evening. My pork belly was so undercooked and tough to eat. It was just poorly executed but I persevered. It could have been so much better.

Finally we decided on a couple of cheese plates and one of the party had a dessert “Chocolate Chocolate Chocolate” It was OK but again nothing spectacular. The cheeses were alas fridge cold a good Kentish Blue a Lincolnshire Poacher Cheddar (Why not the more local Winterdale Shaw?) and a soft unnamed one by the staff that was ripe but for me a shade too mild tasting. An over acidic chutney and some good biscuits.

It was in no way mind blowing and staff were to put it mildly a touch patronising in the way they served us. I certainly felt less comfortable and overall thought the food had a pretension to it in comparison to what we were served for lunch and was all just a big disappointment. It certainly has not made me think I want to rush back and when I compare it to where we then ate the next night it could be described as chalk and cheese. More on that in my next post!