By Adam Byatt, http://www.trinityrestaurant.co.uk/
It’s with childlike anticipation that I enter each year never quite knowing what eye-opening food experiences, restaurant discoveries and magical ingredients will enlighten my year.
2011 has been exceptional, which is an odd thing as I’m no spring chicken and one would imagine that having seen so much already it would be tricky to be inspired. I actually think that years give us the knowledge required to become exposed to such thrills, as well as just disguising grey as distinguished.
My cooking method of the year has to be salt baking. The simplicity of egg whites and salt combined creates a crust that draws moisture, protects and adds depth of flavour. We have successfully applied this to beetroot, celeriac and other roots as well as the more traditional Sea Bass and Bream.
Food Festivals are two a penny now, but last year we strategically only participated in Pylewell Park and Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival. Both where fantastic on all levels and we can’t wait to do it all again in 2012!
I have been watching with professional interest and admiration at the way Polpo and its siblings have opened and grown. I have eaten at most of them and I think Spuntino has to be one of my favourite places to just catch up and eat. I had a Muscavado Cheesecake there that would put most of the top ten to shame. More of the same I say.
When it comes to ingredients, there are many but my highlights would have to be the beef from the Long Horn Heifer. We selected this animal for our Beef Fortnight. It was simply the best all round beef I have cooked with. We also forged what I hope will be a long term relationship with Clarence Court; their eggs are in a different league. The foraged pears we used in September where a revelation alongside Kent cobnuts.
Most recently we started using the first Grade A mussels to be produced in English waters, sourced from the Fowey River from Flying Fish; simply incredible, consistent and so plump, and finally we began using fresh DOP mozzarella from The Ham & Cheese Company back in June and have not taken it off the menu since, I love it.
Drinks wise, wheat beers have been high on my tipple list. I have frequented The Experimental Cocktail Club and am a big fan of the ethos, drinks and mark up…but seriously, great place. I also drank at Schumann’s bar in Munich, one of THE original cocktail bars; it more than lived up to its reputation.
With the ‘Chef’s Cellar’ taking off in the way it has, I have been lucky enough to taste more serious wine this year than ever before and I had the honour of a sip of Haut Brion 1989. I’ve tasted a stonking 2004 Barolo – Roberto Voerzio, Rocche dell’Annunziata Torriglione, silky ripe red fruit with a touch of spice.
A great 2007 Cote Rotie by Jamet that I strongly recommend with roast Red Grouse (which were also great this year by the way). Last but not least- a mineral and delicate 2004 Meursault-Blagny from Domaine Matrot; that happens to be the birth year of my son…subsequently a bottle has found its way to his future birthday trove! I also had the pleasure of sampling 25 vintages of Chateau Angelus in Magnum, which was incredible, and for me 2000 and 1989 both stood proud.
Chateau Gloria 2003 has to be the discovery of the year; great value for money, drinks splendidly and lends itself to my food really well, so much so that I bought a case for home. We also sell this by the glass through our newly acquired (and much loved) Enomatic machine.
My Dishes of 2011, in order:
Check out some of the previous posts written by Adam Byatt to feature here on B Times –