karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
[personal profile] karohemd
Last night I met up with [livejournal.com profile] skorpionuk and took her to Alimentum in Cambridge to introduce her to the wonders of their kitchen. I had mentioned I was going on twitter and as both chefs follow me, they asked me if we wanted them "to cook for us" (which usually involves a tasting menu with some extra treats and new dishes) and of course I said yes. We were also treated to a different glass of wine with each course which, considering we ended up having ten (11 counting coffee/petit fours), made us rather jolly indeed and Ed poured rather generously, too. :D
Mostly in between courses (we were concentrating too hard on the food), we chatted about life, the universe and everything (thankfully not really about work) and it was wonderful to catch up and get to know each other better.
Over three hours later we were done and in a taxi to first deliver [livejournal.com profile] skorpionuk at the station in time for her (almost) last train and then me at home. Having arrived home, I crashed out on the bed but couldn't sleep due to too much wine so caught up with a bit of telly and rehydrated.

So, many thanks to the kitchen and FOH teams at Alimentum and to [livejournal.com profile] skorpionuk for being a wonderful dining companion. We should do this more often. :o)

Sneak preview shot:
Venison



Butternut squash foam

The amuse bouche was a butternut squash foam with mustard cress. An almost fluffy soup, perfect for the season but very light. With that we had a sweet Sauvignon Blanc.

Beetroot and goat's cheese

The first course was various colours of pickled beetroot with goat's cheese and micro herbs. There were sweet and sour flavours, soft and crunchy textures, all balanced perfectly. The wine was Sauvignon Blanc, Torea Oystercatcher, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2010

Then came a course with two dishes (and a matched wine each) which we shared/swapped:
Wood pigeon

Wood pigeon breast, creamed liver, cep marmalade, seeds. Game and wild mushrooms are a favourite combination so this obviously worked well. The wine with this, a was stunningly oaky and smoky, perfect.
Pork Terrine

Pork terrine, black pudding, bacon and pineapple. The tangy pineapple replacing the usual apple made this for me as it's not as sweet. Needless to say, the flavours and textures harmonised perfectly again. As did the wine, a Old Blocks Reserve Pinotoge, Darling Cellars, Western Cape, South Africa, 2008. (I hope I didn't mix up those two).

We're moving on to seafood and fish:
Salmon, oyster, caviar

Oyster, smoked salmon, caviar, radish, apple. Raw oysters usually leave me cold and I don't get the attraction but in combination with the other elements in this dish I loved it as it, like the caviar added to the flavour. With it, we had an English white wine, a Solera, Fleurfields, Northampton, 2010.

Seabass, chickpeas, red pepper and anchovy

While all the food at Alimentum is excellent, I think they have a particular skill with fish. Always cooked perfectly, with crispy skin and soft flesh. This piece of sea bass was no exception, sitting on a savoury mix of chickpeas, red pepper, tomato and anchovy, a bit like a ratatouille. With it we had a red wine, Pinot Noir, Torea Oystercatcher, Marlborough, New Zealand, 2010, which might sound a bit unusual with fish but it went really well with the mediterranean flavours.

Halibut

Roasted halibut, butternut squash, cabbage and pumpkin seeds. I find it hard to describe this without repeating myself in terms of flavour and texture combinations. So good. As was the wine, a rather hefty Trumpeter Chardonnay, Mendoza, Argentina, 2007.

Venison

One of only three meat dishes on our menu was venison loin, potato terrine, sprout leaves, girolles, juniper. Lovely soft meat, a bit more subtle in flavour than the one on Monday, wonderfully warming. There was definitely a hint of Christmas about this but that could just be because that's when my family traditionally cooks venison. The wine was a Malbec ‘Reserve’ Felipe Rutini, Mendoza, Argentina, 2007.

To finish, two desserts, served at the same time as we were running out of time:
Chocolate

Chocolate brownie and mousse (stacked) and blood orange. This brownie would put up a good fight against the ones from Gower Cottage and the added tart blood orange flavours just made my dark choc tastebuds jump.
Blackcurrant

Blackcurrant, apple, vanilla and crumble. (By that time I'd had far too much time so the focus was completely off. Oops.) More dark fruity delights and textures.
The wines were Elysium Black Muscat, Andrew Quady, California, USA 2009 (what I like to call "alcoholic Ribena") and another surprise, Akashi-Tai Siraume Umeshu, plum Infused sake, Japan
We finished with coffee/mint tea and petit fours (bay leaf ganache and lime marshmellow) and then it was time to set off for the station.

What a treat, I will never get tired of this place.

I'm on a foodie roll at the moment because next week I'm going to Tuddenham Mill with two twitter friends I haven't actually met in real life yet. :o)

Date: 4/11/11 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fractalgeek.livejournal.com
Yum! Several wines there I recognise - in particular the Quadys: I'm a big fan, and have visited them.

Date: 5/11/11 12:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
You have to come up at some point. I'm sure they'll be happy to rustle up a vegetarian menu for [livejournal.com profile] queenortart.

Date: 5/11/11 12:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fractalgeek.livejournal.com
And there's always Roganic.

A recommendation for a cheap meal - try the Tonkatsu at Tsuru Tsuru sushi. It's exceptional.

Date: 5/11/11 01:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
I'll definitely go back to Roganic before they close but there are other things to discover, too.

Ooh, thanks, love that when it's done well.

Date: 5/11/11 03:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bateleur.livejournal.com
Yum! Do you know which fish it was on top of the chickpeas? That one looks great!

(And really good photos as usual.)

Date: 5/11/11 03:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karohemd.livejournal.com
Ah, oops, it was sea bass, will edit. (mouseover the photo would have worked)
Thanks! It was rather challenging where we were sitting, good thing I had my big camera with a fast lens. :o)

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