Sipsmith Punch House

Those Sipsmith boys always come up with jolly good ideas. The Summer Cup that was, is now rebranded London Cup, and includes Borage instead of cucumber – perfect served long, with lemonade.   It’s pretty powerful at 29.5% so go easy on the pour. The base is their marvellous gin, infused with Earl Grey tea, lemon verbena and a mass of other botanicals.

Summer these days seems to come and go in a single weekend, but that aside, this cup can be served hot so the word ‘Summer’ probably pigeon-holed it.  Back in the day, ‘cups’ were multipurpose and whilst there would be always be a base alcohol (gin or sherry) the quality wasn’t great and so spice and fruit would be added to deal with the harshness and these would be served either cold or hot.

‘Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks’ is the earliest British publication to document cocktail recipes; it was written by William Terrington in 1869.  In it, there are recipes for punch, wine and sherry-based, mixed with herbs and fruit and spices. A large bottle of London Cup if you like, for a large group of friends, all served in a punchbowl with a suitable mixer (or not).  London’s Inns of Court and the City of Guilds are mentioned quite a lot and tended to be all-male gatherings, thankfully these days London Cup doesn’t discriminate.

So, I’ve given you the spiel, where can you try it?  Funny you should ask.  To mark its launch,  London-dwellers will have the chance to try this and a variety of wonderful drinks at The Sipsmith Punch House at the House of Barnabas in Greek Street .  Here you can try a gin-punch cocktail, one of six, in fact, all inspired by historical recipes.   I can definitely vouch for the French 75 Punch.

Each Sunday, the House will close to members and ticket holders, will have ninety minutes to experience this historic house and all it has to offer.  Worship to the God of Gin in the Church and take in all the quirky art scattered throughout this former home built in 1679.



Look out for the plane trees that feature in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities (you can see them here in the second photo, wedged between two buildings). It’s also where he penned this famous work.

Jared Brown, the Master Distiller, will talk you through the history of punch as well as give you a potted history of Sipsmith and all it has to offer.

Tickets cost £15 per session which includes your first tipple.  Know that all your hard earned cash will go straight to the House of Barnabas, a charity which helps someone get back into long lasting, paid work.

Sessions run from Sunday 6th June.

Psycle, London

Pumping tunes followed by a day of aching thighs, stomach, arms and other body parts, largely ignored for years.  It’s a price worth paying for a 45-minute spinning session at Psycle.  It’s getting better, though; I’m feeling fitter and I think I’m looking a little more toned than before.  I can certainly do 90% of a class without stopping and when I started it was around 40%. It’s a high intensity, low-impact, head-to-toe workout on a bike that doesn’t move anywhere.

Moveable parts on this fixed bike include saddle height and position, handlebar position and in the centre of the bike, a resistance button which when turned to the left releases resistance and turned to the right adds it.  There’s a brake which releases the tightened button as soon as it’s depressed.  You wear shoes, fitted with cleats, which allow the shoes to fix to the pedal when you need to stand and dig in to counteract the resistance.  Music is key here as you ride to the beat.   Each class has a soundtrack and I particularly like AD’s uniquely curated library. There are 28 instructors, all very different, and you can read about them and what you can expect from their classes here.

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Throughout the class, depending on the instructor, you’re frequently reminded to add resistance, remember why you’re in the class and pushed to your limit.  When you think it’s all over, you pick up hand weights and start working your upper body a little bit more.

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I really enjoyed the darkened room on the lower ground floor of the department store Selfridges, home to a 6-week pop-up with showers and lockers, in fact just about everything needed to mop up after a session.

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For it’s a mop that’s needed if you’re doing this class right.  Cowshed products are on hand to make you feel like a new woman post sweat phase, and there are dryers and straighteners for that just-stepped-out-of-the-salon look. The same for the other branches, although the products are different.

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Psycle have two permanent homes, one in Mortimer Street, just off Oxford Street and the other is in Canary Wharf.  Each have an Energy Kitchen, which makes up smoothies full of superfoods and healthy food to take away.

I love the idea that you pay-per-class.  There’s no hemorrhaging membership to sign up to and the more credits you buy the cheaper it becomes.   One single class will set you back £20 but if you buy 50 for £775, it costs £15.50 and they’ll last a year.  I opted for the 10 class package last time I bought some credit and it was a do-able £180 and the classes last for 6 months.

You don’t realise how much effort you put into the class until you leave and look at your reflection in a mirror. My face usually resembles a large blueberry, over time it changes its hue back to my natural pink but you’ll find the more you do, the better you get used to it.

The Selfridges pop up has ended.

Review: Made of Dough Pop Up, W12

If you live in south London then you’re probably familiar with Made of Dough pizzas. They’re new to Little Feast in Shepherd’s Bush and for a short time only, they’ve assumed a semi-permanent place, until 15th May.

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In their permanent home, they serve pizzas from a converted shipping container in Pop Brixton.

In Shepherd’s Bush it’s a railway arch and a covered, heated outdoor seating area, kept incredibly hot by the mobile pizza oven.

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The menu kicks off with three drinks and I can wholeheartedly recommend the Blood Orange Sangria.  Boozy, sharp and a hint of basil makes this a rather lovely aperitif.

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Five pizzas include the classic Margherita (£6.50); Chorizo (£10); artichoke (£9); Truffle (£11) and a Serrano (£12).

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All the ingredients are sourced from Campania and Andalusia. The dough flour is milled in Naples, the Mozzarella, from Campania, is driven across Europe twice a week and the chorizo and piquillo peppers come from Andalusia via Spanish importer Brindisa.

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The dough is fermented in 2 ways for a minimum of 60 hours, giving it a depth of flavour and helping aid digestion.

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Tapenades, to dip the wonderful dough crust in include olive and anchovy tapenade (£3); a spicy romesco (£3) and a Basil aioli (£3).

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There are a couple of side dishes which include a radicchio, orange and hazelnut salad (£5) and a wild green salad (£4)

Fans of Nutella will love the dessert, conchiglia a Nutella (£5) a thinner pizza dough rolled and shaped into a long crescent

The bill for three of us, including Sangria, was a pretty reasonable £51.50, without service.

Closed Monday and Tuesday
Wednesday to Friday (6pm to 11pm)
Saturday (midday to 11pm)
Sunday (midday to 8pm)

For bookings call 0203 490 0750 or email rsvp@incipio-events.com

Glorious 12 – Whisky & Game Pop Up

Sandwiched between the chaos of Great Eastern Street and all it throws at you on a Friday night (from drunk revellers to laughing gas inhalers), a warehouse space in New Yard Inn was transformed into a Whisky and Game Bar.  A night hosted by The Scottish Malt Whisky Society and The Wild Game Company this was an opportunity for whisky and game lovers to sample the Glorious 12.

Glorious 12th Pop Up
Before you get excited, this pop up has ended, but it was so good I just had to write about it, apologies in advance for being a wicked tease. For four days only, diners feasted on woodcock, grouse, rabbit, roe deer, hare, venison, partridge, pigeon, wild pig ribs and mallard.  With the dishes, 12 single cask whiskies had been carefully paired.  Once diners were registered on the guest list, everyone was temporarily tattooed with a stag.
Stag Head's Stamp
Kitchen Space
Small plates were in fact, clay pigeon shots and paired with the drams which had been carefully selected from the Scottish Malt Whisky Society’s bottles.
Tapas 'plate'
All the wild game on the menu was from The Wild Game Company.  London foodies will be familiar with the name – these guys won the Young British Foodies Street Award for 2012/13 and have a regular market stall at Whitecross and Kerb.  Andy Waugh is a chef and the man behind the company.
Andy, The Wild Game Co
The Scottish Malt Whisky Society is a members club that bottles hundreds of single cask whisky each year.  Membership allows you entry to their clubs in both London and Scotland, a membership box (which includes a tasting notes book, membership pin and three half bottles of whisky) and access to the world’s widest selection of exceptional single cask whisky.
Scotch Malt Whisky Society Gift Box
The only guns that were on site were those spewing corks, randomly, as gunslingers (in the loosest of terms) hoped to secure a year’s membership to the Society by firing at cardboard cut outs. But like all fairground games, there’s always a catch, a dodgy gun, the amount of targets you have to hit to win, or in my case a little too tipsy from the four drams (some of which I didn’t finish) to hit anything but the ceiling.
Glorious 12 Pop Up Win a Year's Membership
At the two sittings, diners would be treated to talks by Scottish Malt Whisky Society Brand Ambassador John McCheyne

John McCheyne, Brand Ambassador, Scottish Malt Whisky Society

and on the night we visit a chat about meat cuts and courses held at Thom Hunt’s  7th Rise Woodland Adventures company in Truro. Everything from skinning your own beastie, to making your own knife, foraging, cooking in the wild, shooting and bushcraft. I think the Vixen skin he has so delicately draped around his neck was one of his works-of-art.

Thom Hunt, Forager

The Scottish Malt Whisky Society is a members club that bottles hundreds of single cask whisky each year.  Membership allows you entry to their clubs in both London and Scotland, a membership gift box (which includes a tasting notes book, membership pin and three half bottles of whisky) and access to the world’s widest selection of exceptional single cask whisky and the ‘Unfiltered’ whisky magazine.

Diners chose from one of three menus.

Tapas Menu

I chose from Menu Two – A Walk On The Wild Side
Placemat, Glorious 12
Roe Deer Striploin with Frites and béarnaise, paired with 35.120 (58.1%) 12 years – Sugar and spice and all things nice.  A malt that is matured in sherry casks, the flavours cutting through the roe deer and adding sweetness to the Bearnaise sauce. The Roe Deer was cooked perfectly and the chips were deliciously crisp.
Roe Deer
The Grouse, Brioche and Fig came with dram 7.96 (55.1%) 21 years  – Subtle Quality in a Lady’s Handbag.  Old fashioned perfumes, along with fruit cake, lipstick and leather spring to mind.  Add water and the smell changes to geraniums and Twister ice lolly.
Grouse, Brioche & Fig
Smoked Rabbit, Sweet Pickled Cucumber, Spring Onion and Ciabatta was served with dram 66.57 Asian Delight (59.1%) 10 years. The light smoke flavour from the whisky became sweet when supped with a mouthful of rabbit, turning fresh and then savoury at the finish.
Smoked Rabbit
Dram 76.120 (58.9%) 10 years – Sweetie shop wish list was poured with with the Honey-Roasted Woodcock and Samphire as the tasting notes suggested.  Young whiskies pair really well with strongly flavoured game meats to bring out the qualities in both.
Roasted Woodcock
My guest John loves a tipple and chose Menu Three – Brace Yourself, here’s his take on the food.
The Pigeon, Apple, Chorizo and Balsamic Syrup was slightly sweet along with a slight game taste and was lovely and tender.  The spicy smokiness of the chorizo acted to further enhance the sweetness of the pigeon.  All in all, a lovely dish to start.   It was served with Dram 59.51 (51.5%) 30 years – A refined Cocktail.  This rich 30-year-old whisky worked really well with the spiced-up game.
Pigeon, Apple, Chorizo and Balsamic Syrup
Wild Pig Ribs With Radish Salad was next up and they were lovely and crispy on the outside, but just came off the bone at the slightest touch.     This dish came with a dram of Galleon attacked by pirates 3.225 (57.2%) 16 years.
Wild Pig Ribs
I have never had wild mallard before, but I will certainly be having it again.  It has a more pronounced flavour than ordinary duck and is no less tender.   It was served with a sweet onion chutney that worked amazingly well and paired with A whispering dram 9.91 (53%) 23 years.  A classic style of whisky, floral and perfumed, which helped the duck.
Mallard
Finally, a cured meat selection which included salami and dried sausage. I am not usually a fan of venison but the way it interacted with the peppercorns and spices within the mix was something I have never tried before and can thoroughly recommend it. The sharpness of the peppercorns cut through the game flavour of the venison wonderfully. There was also juniper berries present which leant a nice sweet finish to the dish.  The plate was paired with 53.198 Beware of the monster (61.4%) 6 years.  An early peaty whisky, tamed by adding water, an excellent pairing with punchy dark meats.
Cured Game Meats
 
Menu One – Toe In The Water included hare, venison rogan josh, buttermilk partridge and smoked salmon – again all paired with drams from the Society.
Click on the links for more information on joining the Scottish Malt Whisky Society or where Andy and The Wild Game Co pitch up, visit his website.  I hear he’s opening a new restaurant in Soho soon, so do keep your eyes peeled for that.
I was a guest of the SMWS.

Castello Cheese Pop Up, Shoreditch

Fancy a bit of Smorging? Well it’s probably one of the most fun things cheese lovers will ever do fully clothed and if you love food and friends then you’ll embrace Smorging. It’s the word Castello, the Danish cheese brand, have conjured up to explain how you can enjoy their the art of cheese with a group of friends.

Smorging

For the curious who want to try their cheeses that aren’t available yet in the UK but are favourites of Michelin starred restaurants such as Noma, head over to their pop up in Shoreditch.

It’s here you can sample Castello Höhlenkäse (matured in limestone caves, 35 metres underground), Classic and Unika (Noma’s number one choice of cheese) and with it all the things needed to pair up the product and enjoy it at its best.

Cutting the deli cheese

Castello Cheese

A short residency on Commercial Street opens their range of more than thirty different varieties to sample and buy as well as impressive cheese knives, cloches and everything that will make a cheese party go with a bang.

Castello Pop Up Shop, Shoreditch

Stefan Gates (you know the presenter who likes cooking in some of the most dangerous places in the world) is a Castello Ambassador and when I visit, gave the assembled group a quick talk about the history of cheese.

Stefan Gates, Costello Pop Up

The food and wine tasting expert Matt Day has paired the cheese with a variety of crackers and breads, Tiptree chutneys and jams, along with extra toppings.

Matt Day

With that, there are beers, ciders and wines he also suggests to try with the cheese which busts the myth that red wine is the only wine to drink with cheese. It’s incredible how when the cheese is paired with the right drink, it takes the taste to a totally different level and Matt’s keen to point out that it’s all about balancing flavours.

Raspberry beer, Castello Pop Up Shop

Castello has done all the hard work for you, you just need to buy what they suggest, if you like what you sample.

Here are the pairings on offer.

My favourite was the Castello Creamy White with Truffles. Matt suggests a generous slither of the cheese is added to a thin almond cracker, given a drizzle of Tiptree Scottish Heather Honey and topped off with a raw mushroom slice. A hit of Veuve Cliquot Demi Sec and you are in taste heaven.

Castello tastings Shoreditch Castello Pop Up

The others include the Castello Marquis, which is a milky and buttery cheese with hints of tropical fruit and green peppers. Matt suggests a slither cops a Kent & Fraser Lemon Butter Shortbread and topped with Tiptree Lemon Curd. A wheat beer such as Hoegaarden is a great pairing with the slightly sweet yet sour notes of the cheese and curd.

Taste selection, Castello Pop Up

Castello Aged Havarti was added to a melba toast. Tiptree Acacia Honey drizzled over the cheese and a slice of Parma Ham crowns it. Serve with an Italian Nebbiolo, Barbaresco Corsini is the wine being sold at the Pop Up.

Chilled cabinet, Castello Pop Up

There are two pairing options for the popular Extra Mature Tickler Cheddar. Tickler is placed on a slice of crusty white bread, dolloped with Tiptree Blackcurrant Jelly, a slither of rare cold beef and washed down with a Spanish Tempranillo, Cune Reserva Rioja. The second option is Brown Bread with Tiptree Onion Relish, finished with a pickled onion. IPA, Green King IPA is the beer of choice for this one.

Castello Creamy WhiteThe Castello Creamy White is a versatile cheese and Matt has paired two options for this too. Carrs Water Biscuits act as the light base for this creamy white, thin rind, mould cheese and when the Tiptree Crab Apple Jelly is added along with a halved white grape the mouth is set alight with flavour.

To that, add a glass of really dry German Riesling, Dr L Riesling is sold at the pop up and you have a great flavour experience. The second uses the much maligned cream cracker, topped with the cheese and a generous dollop of Tiptree Hot Gooseberry Chutney and a sliver of fresh pear it’s time for another party in your mouth. A light cider such as Sheppy’s Falstaff helps to wash it all down.

The Castello Pineapple Halo (of which I wasn’t a massive fan until it had been added to a cracker and given some jam) is one of the soft cheeses coated in chunks of pineapple, papaya and almonds. Spread on an all-butter shortbread biscuit and given a dollop of Tiptree Timperley Early Rhubarb and Vanilla Jam and a fresh strawberry and you have a perfect dessert. The Italian Moscata, Luigi Einauid Moscato D’Asti was a perfect glass of Piedmont delicious, juicy and refreshing.

Pineapple Halo, Castello

For the Danish Blue, Matt added a blue cheese biscuit into the mix and added Tiptree Quince Jelly, crowned with an apple crisp which was washed down with the Dessert wine, Castelnau de Suduiraut which was bursting full of apricot and peaches and worked just perfectly with the cracker flavour mix.

Castello Blue

There’s even a sliced ‘burger cheese’ delicious with Quince Jelly.

Burger Blue Castello Cheese

Cheese Knives, Castello Pop Up

The prices are easy-on-the-pocket, cheaper than the supermarket for those wishing to buy cheese. The staff have been fully trained to immerse the guest into what they hope will be a 360° cheese experience like no other. As a rough guide the champagne pairing will set you back £9.75; the Moscato £5.75; the Riesling £5.00; a fruit beer with Creamy Blue and dark chocolate £4.70.

Creamy Blue suggestions, Castello Pop Up

For seven weeks the venue will act as a home for cheese-based events which will include live Q&A sessions with Stefan, and a wine-matching session with Matt Day.

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday they open their cheese bar which allows the taster to experience the perfect pairing.

Work nearby? Why not grab a taster lunch for a fiver?

Build your own hamper with some of the glorious products on sale and get it send to someone you love, or yourself, in the UK.

Castello soft cheese, Shoreditch Pop Up

I loved the experience and if you like cheese and wine, then I think you will too.

Everything you need to know about Castello and more is on their excellent website, which includes information on the sessions and how to book.

Castello Pop Up, 132 Commercial Street, London E1 6NQ

Tastes of Summer: Black Vanilla Gelato

It’s about that time of year when sun, a fair amount of rain, strawberries and sexy Spaniards hit SW19.  To celebrate the tennis season, the gelato brand ‘Black Vanilla’ kick off a month-long Wimbledon pop-up at Harvey Nichols where the founder, Susan Stretch will showcase some of her amazing creations.  Looking longingly at the list of flavours (I think she’s selling herself short) I believe she’s created tastes of the Summer season think Ascot, Wimbledon, Henley, Goodwood and Lords and then throw in a spot of Polo at Hurlingham and Windsor and some tennis at the Queen’s Club.
 
Susan’s ice-cream is made using only the finest ingredients and she uses zero additives.  The brand was born in 2010 after she became frustrated at the lack of good quality, additive-free ice-creams on offer for her own children. She gave up her day job and dedicated her time to bringing high quality gelato to the market.  Since her first shop in the heart of Greenwich, she’s expanding her brand on the high street and creating a retail range.
 
I’m a huge fan of gelato and have written about how it’s made by the company Venchi in an earlier blog so had no hesitation in writing up what Susan’s achieving in the world of ice cream
 
Susan Stretch, Black Vanilla
 
If you visit, you can expect to try chocolate ‘tennis’ balls dusted with green coconut hidden within, your choice of gelato filling.
 
Coconut tennis balls
 
No Summer picnic is complete without a generous helping of scones, jam and clotted cream so obviously there’s an homage to the tasty treat in the ‘Cream Tea’.  Home made crushed scones are hidden in a wild strawberry and cream gelato.
 
Strawberry scone gelato
 
When I get to sample the goods, I’ll be heading for the sorbetto featuring two of my favourite ingredients, Sipsmith gin and tonic, followed closely by a Pimm’s.  Two hundred thousand glasses of the No 1 cup are sipped during the Championships and the iconic summer drink can now be eaten in the form of a refreshing sorbetto.
 
Pimm's No 1 Cup gelato
 
And to simply celebrate the English Summer, you can sample a delicate rose-water gelato with crystallised English rose Petals. If you fancy a refreshing blend of summer flavours you can try the green apple, wheatgrass & cucumber sorbetto.  No Championships would be complete without champagne and strawberries and Black Vanilla’s wild strawberry & champagne sorbetto is a nod to the 28,000 kg of strawberries and the 25,000 bottles of Champers they sell each year.
 
Before she launches on June 12th on the Fifth Floor I caught up with Susan and asked her a few questions about the brand.
 
What sets Black Vanilla apart from the competition?
 
We try to be innovative with classic flavours, sourcing high quality ingredients to give our signature flavours a bit of a twist, such as Venezuelan Chocolate and Wild Strawberries and Cream. We have exceptionally talented gelato chefs who work tirelessly to make sure the balance of flavours are just right, as well as creating unconventional flavours such as Gin and Tonic Sorbetto and Strawberries and Champagne, to create that ‘wow’ factor!
 
What’s the secret to great gelato and sorbetto?
 
Gelato starts with a normal ice cream fior de latte base, but it’s churned slower and frozen at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream. The slow churning incorporates less air so the gelato is more dense. The higher freezing temp means the gelato stays silkier and softer and we use a higher proportion of whole milk to cream (and no eggs) so the main flavour ingredient shines through. Sorbets are dairy and fat-free, and made with fresh fruit. They are churned like ice cream to give them a soft, snowy texture.
 
Why is it important to source the products yourself and where do you go to find them?
 
It is important for us to source ingredients ourselves, to make sure a high quality for the final product. In our signature range we use single origin Venezuelan chocolate, wild strawberries for our Wild Strawberries & Cream gelato, as well as Himalayan salt for our salted caramel gelato.  For our more traditional flavours in store, we use the finest pistachios from the Bronte region of Sicily, and hazelnuts from Piedmont, which all ensure maximum taste in our products.
 
Tell me about the range going into Harvey Nichols?  Where did you get your inspiration?
 
Our signature range will be going into Harvey Nichols, and our pop-up flavours were inspired by quintessential British summer flavours, and found ingenious ways to incorporate them into gelatos and sorbettos – Rose Water Gelato with Crystallised English Rose Petals, Wild Strawberries and Champagne Sorbetto, Cream Tea Gelato, Sipsmith Gin and Tonic Sorbetto, Wheatgrass Apple and Cucumber Sorbetto, Pimms Sorbetto.
 
Do you think you can make great gelato outside Italy?
 
We use Carpigiani gelato machines (the Rolls-Royce of gelato making equipment) to make our product, and source the finest ingredients to make our gelato as authentic as those found in an Italian gelateria. Although we believe in locally sourced ingredients and aim to source as many of our ingredients from local suppliers as possible, we do use some products such as hazelnuts and pistachios from Italy, as these give our gelatos the best flavours possible.
 
How important is it that you work closely with your neighbours?
 
We love all things local, and are proud to say we are born and bred in Royal Greenwich. We collaborated with Meantime Brewery who are neighbours of ours, and we created a limited edition Chocolate Porter gelato with Black Cherries and a Raspberry Wheat Beer sorbetto.
 
Are you planning outlets beyond Harvey Nichols?
 
We have 2 locations in South East London – Royal Greenwich and Blackheath Village, and we are very excited to be in Harvey Nichols with our Wimbledon pop-up and edible tennis balls, and we will also be launching our 120ml signature flavours throughout the country this summer. We also love to get involved in street food events, where our gelato chefs get to have ultimate creativity, making weird and wonderful flavours, and we’re excited to be involved with the Hampton Court Music Festival, where we get to showcase our gelato!
 
If you can’t wait until 23rd June you can sample Black Vanilla’s gelato and sorbetto at any of their two stores – 5 College Approach, Greenwich or 32 Tranquil Vale, Blackheath.  For more information visit their website.

The Chef’s Table by Electrolux at The Big Feastival 2013

 

Young, talented, Spanish and holders of a Michelin star, I’m shocked I’ve not heard about Peter and Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias who hail from Westbury-on-Trym.   Then again, living in the capital I’m spoilt for choice, but having met them and tasted their food at The Chef’s Table at The Big Feastival a herd of wild horses won’t stop me from visiting.

The Chef's Table

I’m meant to be eating, not doing any grilling of my own but I’m fascinated by these two chefs, and I’m sat right next to the pass, so can’t help myself.  An intimate group are guests of the Swedish household and professional appliances company Electrolux, who also happen to be the headline sponsor of The Big Feastival and we’re told a great support to these two young chefs.

So it’s payback time which is lucky for us.  The boys worked in their parents’ Italian trattoria when they were kids.  Peter attends catering college, Jonray studies graphic design.  They both come together and decide a brotherly business partnership is the way forward and take over the running of the family business.  So good is the food, the restaurant is given a Michelin star.   With food inspired by their childhood, we’re taken on family picnics, indulged in Italian summers and given a reminder of the best of the seasonal British larder in a whistlestop-tasting-tour.

Peter & Jonray Sanchez-Iglesias

We start with what’s billed on the menu as ‘Quiche Lorraine’, probably one of the best I’ve ever eaten.   The chefs aren’t over-enthusiastic with their words to describe their dishes and three, maybe four words feature on both this menu and their menu at Casamia.  It’s all part of the experience and more importantly the surprise element.  These boys want you to use all your senses to make the most of what they’re conjuring up in their kitchen.  We’re told that this is a quintessential beach favourite of the Sanchez-Iglesias family and I have to agree was one of ours.  Of course, the ease of preparation, simple ingredients and its immediate portability makes it a total picnic winner.   An incredibly crispy cocktail-sized pastry case, is filled with a Keen’s Cheddar-rich foam and finished with Serrano ham and snipped chives.  Nothing like any picnic Lorraine’s I’ve experienced and no sand in sight, or more importantly in my mouth.

Quiche Lorraine

This comes in a picnic basket filled with hay.

Quiche Lorraine in picnic basket

We’re introduced to Jon Sebastien the sommelier who’s been spared from Casamia for the day to make sure that the food is well paired and he’s chosen wines from the Chilean producer Concha y Toro.

Jon Sebastien Sommellier

The ‘Mozzarella, tomatoes’ are a bowl of beauty, crowned with a bright slice of sunshine , an air-dried tomato, cut razor-thin and as transparent and as a beautiful as a stained glass window.  The mozzarella wasn’t a ball as I’d expected but had been re-invented, passed through a foam gun (the boys are fans of Heston B).   Heritage tomatoes were dressed with an intense tomato gravy, dehydrated olive ‘gravel’ and British basil.

Flavoured oils

Finished off with basil oil the juice left in the bowl had the makings of a Jackson Pollack.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad IMG_8329

Heritage tomatoes

With our taste buds popping we’re treated to ‘Duck, Carrot, Fennel’ what arrives are slices of Creedy Carver duck, glazed in honey, rolled in fennel seeds and with delicately peeled yellow and orange Heritage carrots, with an intense carrot puree, shaved fennel bulb and a jus reduction.

Creedy Carvery Duck Duck dish Duck close up

Obviously, it’s all about the finite detail with these chefs and I’ve just had a snapshot of what’s on offer, turn up one of their plates or bowls and you’ll see a local potter realised their canteen design.

Bowl

‘Peaches and Cream’ arrive in a small lidded bowl with a layers of delicious peach granita, unctuous thyme-infused custard and a raspberry coulis.

Peaches and Cream

Peaches and Cream

We learn about the Electrolux Chef Academy and meet the three winners from this year’s competition. They’ll spend a year in a fully-funded work placement in three of the country’s top Michelin star restaurants. Viktorija Bernataviciute from Northampton College, Jonah Kellar from City College Plymouth and Giuseppe Giorgio Finocchio from Westminster Kingsway College will work with Tom Kitchin, Simon Hulstone and Jonray and Peter, on a rotational basis.

 

Chefs

It was a great opportunity to try some fantastic food and learn more about the work Electrolux do to nurture and promote young talent.