Winter Warmer

The party season is always an interesting time in the restaurant kitchen. On the one hand, nature gives us a challenging palette to work with. Finding intelligent ways to utilise ingredients collected and preserved earlier in the year to augment the superb but rather limited range of fruit and vegetables currently available is all part of the fun, as is bringing out the best in this season’s incredible game along with some of the heartier cuts from our local farm suppliers.

At the same time we have to mindful of the fact that, as well as craving richness and indulgence right now, diners often also desire familiarity. With that in mind we recently put together a shamelessly Christmas-themed menu for a special wine-tasting event in the restaurant this month. But, we figured, why not have a little fun with it, turning the traditional roast dinner on its head and running wild with the festive theme? ’Tis the season to be jolly, after all. And so it came to pass that diners feasted on a starter of Turkey Dinner Terrine and a main course of savoury Mince Pie, along with courses of home-smoked salmon and other seasonal treats.

But perhaps most interesting of all was the dessert devised for the occasion: the allium Yuletide Log. It’s a heartwarming little showstopper, featuring a roasting hazelnut, smoke-infused chocolate truffle coal, and crispy chocolate log (encasing a creamy chestnut mousse), all set around a fire-red sloe sorbet. For a final flourish glowing brandy ‘flames’ are spooned around and pop rocks added for a crackling fire sensory effect. Looks cute, tastes great. So much so we’ve decided to make this a fixture on our December menu.

Come and get it while it’s hot…

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