Last Thursday was a special evening at Alimentum, another guest night (the first was with Cyrus Todiwala in May). This time brothers Chris and James Tanner of Tanners in Plymouth and Barbican Kitchen in London were the guests and created a number of dishes with Team Alimentum providing the rest.
Proceedings started with an “orange and ginger cobbler” created by Alimentum cocktail guru Joe. This was just right for the weather and almost christmassy, it reminded me of the punch my gran used to make, in a good way. There were also nibbles provided by the Alimentum chefs.
The setup was the same as last time or the supper clubs, several large communal tables rather than individual ones with everyone being served at the same time. As each course was served, the chefs came to the tables and explained them which was a nice touch.
This beautiful amuse was prepared by Team Alimentum, a brilliant mix of tomato and herb flavours that did exactly what they were supposed to do, excite the palate for what was to come.
The starter came from the Tanners: Creedy carver duck liver parfait, plum, granola with toasted brioche. A very smooth, soft and sweetish parfait which was balanced nicely by the plum chutney and granola. The brioche was nice but Alimentum’s sage and onion bread worked even better with it.
The fish dish was from Alimentum: Plaice, langoustines, fennel, cucumber, seaweed sauce. I first had this at the August supperclub and it did not disappoint, light and very nicely balanced.
The main was provided by the Tanners: Loin of Bodmin Moor venison, tarka dal and salt baked turnip. Easily one of the best pieces of venison I’ve had, deeply flavoured, perfectly and evenly cooked, really tender. The sauce was immense, the tarka dal provided some spice and the turnip some crunch (although there could have been a few more slices, I thought) and some token greens.
Then Alimentum provided another flavour bomb: Confit egg yolk, Mont d’Or sauce, truffle and onion. Really strong individual flavours that worked together perfectly.
The first dessert came from Alimentum: BBQ orange, liquorice, mojito, ginger beer. This was nice and light, the orange parfait not overly sweet and what sweetness there was was balanced by the sharp mojito and ginger beer gels.
The last dessert was provided by the Tanners: Yoghurt pannacotta, caramel pineapple, chocolate soil. Soft, crunchy, tangy, sweet, chocolatey, great fun.
And finally, a portrait of the chefs, from left to right: James Tanner, Mark Poynton and Chris Tanner:
This was a wonderful evening, not just gorgeous food but also fine company. I was on my own but the communal table meant there was no shortage in conversation and the food was an excellent starting point. There were tales of interesting and bizarre dishes eaten across the world, travel (there was even a couple who had been to my home town for the china!) and so on.
The next guest chef is going to be the mighty Alyn Williams, on the 12th of October. Mark your calendars, this is one not to be missed. I had a fantastic meal during my birthday binge last year at his restaurant, well before it received its well deserved first Michelin star. I am sure his food will have progressed even further since then.