Wednesday

Slow Food UK charity evening at Corrigan's Mayfair


A rather special email invitation popped into my inbox from one of my favourite chef’s restaurants - Richard Corrigan. He was hosting an evening of celebrating forgotten foods, all in aid of a charity called ‘Slow Food’ at his Mayfair restaurant, of the same name. You can find out more on their website but a little insight is that they help support local producers and to counter the rise of fast foods – globally. They have also helped to support local communities in over 150 countries helping farmers/growers gain a fair price for their produce.

I immediately booked for the two of us.

Arriving at Corrigan’s we were greeted at the bar and served an aperitif where we were given nibbles and then shown to our seats.

Once seated, there was a small talk from the organiser and director of Slow Foods UK before we were taken through the upcoming feast. What I didn’t realise was each chef, some of whom are my absolute favourites, were there in person. For some reason, possibly due to then length of the menu, I thought they had only put the menus together. They individually spoke about their dishes with such passion it made us all even more eager to start.


First up was the fabulous, and a chef whom i've always had a crush on, Valentine Warner’s starter of ‘Berkshire pig with mackerel mayonnaise (Tonnato style). Leaning on the supper of Angela Hartnett for a quick explanation of what Tonnato style actually was (a creamy tangy sauce, usually made with anchovies). It arrived extremely pink which was something Valentine warned us of before, however he explained that seriously good pork can be served rare… it was awesome and extremely tender. The mackerel sauce was a perfect umami hit, tangy, salty and not over powering but complemented the meat.


Next up was one of my favourite chefs of the moment Emily Watkins, whom is the proud owner of a GBM 2014 medal for her ‘Normandy Beach’ fish course. She served ‘smoked bath chaps, jersey royals, broad beans, radish remoulade’ this happened to be one of our stand out dishes of the evening, although all were incredibly delicious it just had the wow factor, the flavours were spot on and the little side potato salad of sorts was really refreshing and totally more-ish.


The first fish course followed which was an incredible Hampshire grown watercress and smoked haddock risotto by the highly acclaimed Angela Hartnett. The risotto rice cooked to perfection and was such a great green colour due to it being only cooked with watercress (no watered down stock if I understood correctly). The flaked fish, as ever with Angela’s dishes, was faultless. 


A second fish course (they’re spoiling us now…) by Shaun Hill whom seems to have the Midas touch with stars wherever he goes, currently at The Walnut Tree, in Wales, since 2008. This was a bourride with einkorn flour (a UK grown flour) bread. The bourride (a type of fish stew) had a lovely flavour to it which was slightly curry-esque, a great creamy texture and looking round the room we were all mopping this up with our perfectly round, light, crisp rolls. The red mullet, cooked to precision, had a slight crisp skin and nice iridescent flesh.  


The main man of the evening Richard Corrigan stepped up for the meat course serving North Ronaldsay lamb, sweetbreads, prune and artichoke. The lamb loin (?!), served pink was tender and deliciously sweet. There was another cut of lamb shown rolled which, again, was simply scrummy especially when paired with the prune and artichoke. One of my favourite things at the moment is sweetbreads and these still had a good bounce and creaminess to them.



Atul Kotchhar sadly couldn’t be with us on the evening however he sent his head chef from Benares to cook our first dessert which was really refreshing after what has been a pretty epic feast. It was a very pretty ‘Bhapa Doi with rose, cobnut burfi’. The bhapa doi, a type of steamed yoghurt, was served with a sweet and tangy fruit compote.  The cobnut (a UK grown hazelnut) ‘burfi’ is an Indian sweet, it brought another flavour element and was quite unusual, but in a good way!



Ross Lewis finished off our meal with a set cream cheese, soda bread mousse and a whiskey and lemon glaze, pin head stone-ground Irish oatmeal crunch and milk ice cream. The milk ice cream was one thing that stood out as I wasn’t expecting to like it, at all! It was so refreshing I could have had a tub of this stuff and left a happy customer. The main element of the dessert was similar to a cheesecake however exceptionally light and fluffy. The oatmeal crunch packed a punch in both flavour and texture.

We were presented with coffees and macaroons which we asked to take home.


It was an exceptional evening; one I imagine will always stick in our minds. On leaving we said a quick thank you to Chef Corrigan whom is such a charming man and headed home. Full, happy and wanting to support local producers as much as possible.


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