Been eating in
London. Jumped on the train for a jolly in the city with chef chum Michael O Hare aka Man Behind the Curtain in Leeds. Bonkers he is, hopping on the train with a supermarket carrier bag containing five cans of G&T for the journey. He’s also sporting a bright pink jacket and snakeskin walking stick.
Destination is Bubbledogs in Charlotte Street, Soho. A hot dog and champagne ‘in’ place. We don’t have the dogs, instead we head to the Kitchen Table at the rear which is where four chefs cook a ten-course meal in front of you. Chef at work is James Knapett who worked at Noma and plenty of other places. Standout dishes were a slow-cooked egg with truffle over it and some crispy chicken skin with bacon jam and mascarpone.
We ate a ten-course meal washed down with a couple of bottles and riesling only to decide that we couldn’t go without a hot dog. Foolhardy for sure. Maybe they work when you’re starving but hot dog and blue cheese dog after the above… plain foolish.
Sweden. The day after Bubbledogs with my brother. We stayed at the impressive Grand Hotel which has amazing rooms and a one and a two-star Michelin restaurant in the building. The restaurants are the best thing. Chef is Mathias Dahlgren and we were impressed by Matbaren, a modern, informal bistro where you can enjoy one or more medium-sized dishes and accompanying wines by the glass, either served at a table or up at a large bar counter. Based on the very best of fresh seasonal produce, the menu changes on a daily basis.
A standout plate was a Korean soft bun with pork and chillies, lovely soft long-cooked pork shoulder, so good. Main reason for the Swedish trip was to go to Frantzen, one of the top 20 restaurants in the world. Lots of Japanese influences which is up my street at the moment. Standout dish hotpot of lobster with truffle consome and cabbage unbelievably good. It’s a tiny place, about 16 covers and chefs cook right in front of you.
The best meal of the stay was a visit to two-star Oaxen Korg, pictured below. They got two stars within 16 months which says it all. Unique ingredients, wild herbs, ultimate tastes. Loads of skill, they cure their own sausages and attention to detail is everything.
Standout dish was local shrimp crisped up in a barbecue and venison with a venison blood sauce. We had 16 courses! Memorable. oaxen.com
So the trip was memorable in terms of seeing the best of what is going on but not relaxing – one day I’ll get back to lazing on a beach but I don’t know when! We headed back from Sweden, landed and nipped in to Meat Liquor (one in Leeds now, hopefully in Newcastle next?). I love the chicken wings with blue cheese, the blue cheese they use doesn’t overpower, it’s punchy and delicious.
I rave about Swallow Fish, don’t forget the oysters, and I am also keen to head to the Lobster Shack at North Berwick this summer. I hear it’s a cool little spot, eat your lobster, or moules, listen to the crashing waves and even get takeaway champagne. lobstershack.co.uk
Oyster. We always have an oyster dish on menu and the latest is a dish we create with the Lindisfarne oyster in mind which is slow-cooked at 62°C , it is poached but the raw flavour is intensified so it is twice as flavoursome. We serve it with a dill and horseradish oil and a pickled cucumber granite, some charred cucumber and compressed finish with tiny bit of dill and some burnt cucumber skin, the best oyster dish we’ve done.
Try it at home. A great recipe made for enjoying outside in the sunshine. Raw oyster served with picked cucumber, it is a twist on the old school shallots and red wine dressing.
Here’s how you do it. Dice a cucumber into decent sized cubes, removing the watery seeded bit and keeping the skin on if you like. Make a pickling juice with 150ml white wine vinegar and 75g sugar. Heat them until sugar dissolves and add a pinch of salt. Get a kilner jar and half fill with the diced cucumber. Cool the liquid then add to the jar. You can leave it anything from two days to two weeks.
To serve, drain the cucumber and cut it finely. Put it under the fresh oyster then sprinkle with dill. Drink it with a bottle of the brilliant Henners sparkling white wine… perfect for warm summer evenings.
We’re excited by a new addition to our wine list, the lovely St Emilion Cantenac Grand Cru. Clos Cantenac is a small but seductive 6 hectares property with carefully planted vines on an exceptional “terroir” of deep gravel, sand and clay making a deep, smoky wine. Try it for yourself. aduv.co.uk
In the diary
A pop-up with chef Mauro Colagreco of Mirazur, in Menton, France happening at Hedone in London. He’s a genius. Argentine-born Colagreco become the first ever non-French chef to be named “revelation of the year” in the influential Gault Millau guide. He will be doing a Med-themed pop-up, can’t wait.
Bib gourmand witH harriett Close
I am a girl who likes a bucket and spade day with an ice-cream too. Mummy and Daddy take me to the Northumberland coast often where there is SO much sand for me to roll in. We went to Seahouses and Daddy likes a shop called Swallow Fish; It’s a bit pongy, what is a kipper? I thought it was a puppy in my favourite book but people eat them?
Daddy says this is the best place to buy cod and lobster, I love spiky lobsters but I am a bit scared of them with their snippy claws. Anyway, Daddy cooked me some yummy cod and little trees called asparagus. Nice.