Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Odette's Sunday Supper Club: Carrots

This is just a quick post about a meal we had a couple of weekends ago - the Sunday Supper Club at Odette's in Primrose Hill.  Originally I hadn't planned to write this up, so I didn't take my camera (and I have a slight aversion to taking photos of my meal when out) - I apologise for the quality of the photos I have here, as they were taken on a 'phone and are pretty awful. Sam had seen the evening advertised in an e-newsletter, and had booked it on a whim to surprise me.  The Supper Club takes place 4 times a year and each one has a theme - a seasonal ingredient which is the star of the show.  Previous evenings have focussed on truffles, peas, chocolate and rhubarb - this time it was carrots.

One of the nicest aspects of the evening was that chef Bryn Williams came out before each course to explain what we were going to be tasting, and to answer any questions we might have. Bryn was very friendly, quite informal and it was a lovely touch.

The first course sounded quite conventional but instead of rice, the risotto was formed from finely diced yellow and orange carrots (purple ones not being quite in season yet), was bound with a little carrot puree, and topped with some crispy bacon and a scatter of parmesan. This dish was fresh, tasty and incredibly more-ish. To quote Gregg Wallace, I could have eaten six of them. (Wine pairing: Cape Mountain Chenin Blanc 2011, South Africa)

The fish course was I think the star of the evening.  A take on escabeche, a lovely seared mackeral served with carrots three ways - a carrot salad, marinated/pickled carrots, and carrot puree.  I'm not a big oily fish fan usually as the flavour can be a bit much for me, but this was delicious and the carrots and vinegary flavours were lovely against the fish. (Wine pairing: H Riesling 2010 Prinz von Hessen, Germany)

The pork and carrot dish consisted of slow braised sweet and sticky pork cheeks which had been stewed with ginger beer, a small slab of pork belly, and crackling.  The pork was really the star of the show on this dish, the carrots slightly hidden in a ginger and carrot puree, and some baby carrots accompanying the meat.  The meat was moist, sticky and succulent, and I think next time we cook pork cheeks we might try the ginger beer idea, as we usually go with a straightforward slow cook in beer or red wine. (Wine pairing: St Chinian 2008 Domain du Verdier, Languedoc)

Dessert looked predictable on paper - carrot and walnut cake - but was served in a really interesting and innovative way.  A lovely slab of moist spiced carrot and walnut cake, a cream cheese and walnut pesto buttercream, a candied carrot and crystalised carrot frond.  This dessert was lovely, but I struggled a little with the cream cheese/walnut pesto combo as I kept getting a back flavour which tasted slightly garlicky.  I wasn't sure about this so we asked Bryn when he came back, and it turned out I had the wrong allium - there was a little onion in there to balance the flavours out. (Wine pairing: Rivealtes Amber Jean - Marc Lafage, Pyrenees)

We finished the meal with coffee and petit fours and had a brief chat with some of the other diners, some of whom had been to every Supper Club to date. It was a lovely evening; reasonably priced, delicious food, some lovely wine pairings and we look forward to returning to Odette's soon.

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