karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
Scanning twitter on Thursday I spotted Ben Pope, head chef at The Punter (@ThePunterChef) mentioning that they were having a "Big Game and Big Reds Night" on Friday. Feeling a need to indulge after a busy week, I sent a tweet to book a spot.
The event was held at the barn, the Punter's function room. First we were plied with champagne and there was some excellent wild boar ham to nibble on, too.

I'm not a wine expert so I suggest you head over to Tom Lewis' wine blog where you'll find his expert opinion on the wines and how they matched with the food.

The first course was a selection of deep-fried bites, wonderfully runny and rich scotch quail eggs and soft and flavourful salt cod fritters. These were nicely matched by a Mersault. A nice way of starting the meal. Our table was two people short so there was some extra for all of us, alhough at least I was careful not to eat to much right at the start as there was much more to come.

The next course was "Kentucky Fried Wild Duck legs" and "BBQ breast". The legs were beautifully soft and the slightly spicy and crunchy coating worked really well. The perfectly cooked slices of breast were slathered in a sticky BBQ sauce with some extra on the side. Duck is one of my favourite meats so I really enjoyed this but the best was yet to come. The Pinot Noir we had with it was a good match, too.

The third course was boned and rolled saddle of hare, pearl barley risotto with porcini, kale and cobnuts. This was marvellous. The meat had a very strong game flavour (too strong for some on our table) but I reveled in it. The last time I had hare was probably 20 years ago. The pearl barley risotto was cooked to the point, wonderfully creamy with the strong flavour of porcini mushrooms and another good wine match was a Barolo.

Then the piece de resistance: a whole leg of muntjak deer (cute little hoof still attached), slow cooked in a flavourful but not too spicy curry sauce served with rice, Indian style pickles and chutneys. I took the opportunity to carve the beast which was quite easy despite only having my own cutlery to do it as the meat was basically falling apart. There was also a skewer of pieces of liver which was unfortunately a bit of a letdown as it was overcooked. However, that was the only bit of the evening that wasn't quite up to scratch. The wine match, a Costiere de Nimes, was also excellent.

Concluding the menu were bits of nutty chocolate brownies and blue cheese on charcoal biscuits with a beautiful Semillon (a sweet white wine).

Afterwards the chefs came out to much deserved applause and talked a bit about the food and the suppliers. Mentioning suppliers, the wines were supplied and presented by Jascots Wines who source their wines mainly from smaller winemakers.

So yes, an excellent evening. Considering the amount of food and wine (we had a bottle for five people for each course), fifty pounds per head was an acceptable price.

The full menu and two photos are under the cut )

September 2017

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