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Taste sensation: A passion of mine

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Food is most definitely a passion of mine, through my terrible indecisiveness means I often spend ages poring over mouthwatering menus, leaving my dining partner decidedly bored – not to mention hungry. I’m the same with shopping; I always find the dress of my dreams in the first shop but have to visit a further 20 boutiques just to be sure I’ve exhausted all options. So when I heard that my lovely local pub The Black Horse in Dry Drayton was introducing a six-course tasting menu, with a ‘let the chef surprise you’ element, I knew it would be perfect. Also, knowing the Brazilian chef Marcello Silveira would be conjuring up the dishes, I was sure they’d be positive works of art. Marcello’s chef CV includes stints at the Michelin-starred Midsummer House and The Three Horseshoes at Abbots Ripton, and he describes his food as ‘local cuisine with a modern twist’.

 

Description: phuket_fine_dining

 

Arriving on a chilly night, we were warmly welcomed with a hug from the owners Gary and Denise Glover, who have become much-loved in the village, treating their loyal regulars almost as an extension of their own family. Sparkling and still water had been thoughtfully provided on our table as perfect palate cleansers. The tasting began with Hand Dived King Scallops and Confit of Somersham Pork Belly, served with a glass of French chardonnay, which balanced well with the dish without overpowering the flavours. The pork belly was gloriously crispy on top and the scallops seared to perfection, served with a sweet purée and topped with tasty pea shoots.

Next came Wild Mushrooms with Truffle and Micro Herbs, which was rich and decadent, served on toasted ciabatta with a chilled glass of Chenin. The mushrooms, which included Chanterelle, Oyster, Cep, Trompettes and Chestnut varieties, were dark and glossy, drizzled with balsamic and the richness lifted by mixed leaves that had a zingy mustardy dressing.


The fish course of Aldeburgh Stone Bass was a talking point as chef has paired this with a red wine – a French Mont Rocher 2010. Having it drilled into me that reds complement game and red meat, while whites go with fish and poultry, it seemed an odd pairing. But as the fish was served with mussels and kidney beans in a rich jus that had a little chilli heat to it, the smooth flavour of the red did work. The main was a new one for me – Muntjac – served with potato, spinach, quirky courgette balls and a delicious purée that tasted of vanilla and parsnip, plus a Cabernet Sauvignon. The meat was so pink and tender it melted in the mouth.

Our taster menu finalé came in the shape of a creamy Chocolate Mousse served in tall glass with coconut sprinkles, which silenced both of us it was so scrumptious, then the obligatory cheeseboard with a glass of port. The generous fromage serving included the delightfully pongy Stinking Bishop, a brie-style Norfolk White Lady and my favourite, the semi-hard Cornish Yarg. As we drained our port glasses ready to leave, we realised we’d been dining for three hours, yet the time had flown, so it had been a fabulous foodie evening.

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