Bank Holiday weekends at the seaside, evenings and weekends pottering in the garden or allotment, and the start of Summer holiday season have all made their mark on our menu for May…
With the gift of extended weekends and the sun obeying its new, later bedtime, we’re spending more and more time outdoors in May – blurring the boundary between kitchen and garden, and enjoying “home comforts” further from home than we’ve dared to venture in months.
There’s the return of field-to-fork cooking with minimal interference – gardens are erupting with the fizz of new growth: courgettes, asparagus, chicory, broad beans.
We’ve taken them all, brought out their best with a little apple white balsamic, and recreated a seasonal garden on the plate for our Spring Vegetable salad; pale golden sweetcorn pana cotta and flashes of intense, dehydrated sweetcorn with cumin and fennel seed mimicking the temperament of the year’s first sun.
From the farms we get Spring Lamb, still young and naturally mild in flavour, allowing us to layer flavours without losing the more delicate notes – serving slow-roast lamb belly with pearl barley stewed in lamb stock with added fat from the animal, absorbing the flavours and juices until ripe to burst.
We haven’t seen the last of our farms’ beef yet, though: May’s menu starts with an almost-refreshing tartare of fillet steak – salted as a natural preservative allowing us to enjoy it raw this late in the season, as well as intensifying its natural flavour and texture – served with radishes, wild mushrooms (welcome back, hen of the woods) and mushroom ketchup.
Our first Summer holiday souvenir comes courtesy of the front of house team, who recently visited one of our favourite wine producers, Rioja Vega, in Spain. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. Hake being Spain’s national fish, it has a natural affinity with brown crab butter sauce brightened with the winery’s white Rioja.
Memories of Bank Holidays spent in Northern seaside towns are well represented: cod cheek prepared with all the hallmarks of traditional scampi: impossibly crisp batter; pureed & French-style sauteed “mushy” peas, and tartare foam bringing the balance of sharp vinegar and calming dill.
There’s a herbaceous creamy-sharp contrast (and more than a passing resemblance to that East Coast seaside classic the Lemon Top; a Mr Whippy cone topped with lemon sorbet) in Lemon Verbena Parfait with white tea custard. A refreshing, aromatic spritz between the big flavours of duck, samphire, chocolate and cherry, and the final course of carrot cake with warm notes of spice and walnut, and cream cheese ice cream.
We could go on and on about this menu at great length, but in all honesty, there’s a sun-washed patio beckoning, and you never know how long the offer will be there for…
We look forward to seeing you throughout May!