Terre a Terre, Brighton
A post in another thread reminded me of this. My boyfriend took me to Brighton for the weekend last year, to celebrate my birthday. The highlight of the trip was a visit to Terre a Terre — http://www.terreaterre.co.uk/_pages/0...
Here's what I wrote about it at the time.
It was amazing. I mean really, really amazing. I couldn't work out what some of the things we were eating _were_ (normal for me with meat, very very unusual with vegetables). We must have been there for nearly three hours, and spent a good deal of that time just discussing the food.
We shared a selection of appetisers:
* Black olives marinaded with balsamic vinegar, pomegranate, and something else which I forget. I really liked the slight sweetness of these. doop wasn't so keen.
* Artichoke hearts with tarragon and caperberries. The artichoke hearts were a lot firmer than the ones you normally get, which made a nice change.
* Smoked sundried tomatoes. These were just fantastic. And doop bought me a jar to take home with me (will be opened at this month's dinner party).
* Quails' eggs with cumin salt. Boiled quails' eggs with a mix of coarse-ground cumin and salt to dip them in. Eggs and cumin go together awfully well.
My main course was Wotzyuzu Ithai Gnocchi — "Potato gnocchi poached in Asian citrus liquor and wokked with bok choy, choi sum and star shitaki, doused with mushroom ketchup, served with smudges of soy pea miso sake blitz and roast cashew satay, tempura Sechuan spice cress and ginger hair, accompanied by a green tea and thai basil shooter with wotzyuzu dressed micro leaves." Now I know that looks like a bit of a mouthful, and when I looked at the menu I rather wished they'd provided summaries, but when the food came I could see why they'd described it in such detail. It's really not the sort of thing you _can_ summarise. There's so much going on on each plate, but it all fits together. I once said that if I was rich I'd live on appetisers; this sort of food is exactly what I was thinking of. The dish wasn't perfect. There was a bit too much tempura for my taste, and the green tea and thai basil shooter was a bit boring. But overall I liked it a lot.
doop's main course was Moorish Yammy Mammy — "Smoked tomato, caper and sultana verde Pate a Brik, accompanied by argan oil and almond skordalia, with spice pack yam waffle and falafel whip, nasturtium, fenugreek and pomegranate bead salad gastrique, with a cardamom, cinnamon bark, saffron and gigantis butterbean tagine." It looked good. He fed me some bits, but I can't remember which ones.
doop also had dessert, which was along the same lines as the main courses; several elements all working together. He chose Jasmine Nashi — "Warm Nashi pear poached with plum and mirin liqueur, sitting in Asian apricot citrus puree, served with scented sushi and poached apricot, liquorice nori roll and deep-fried pureed anise rice pattie served with sweet jasmine tea." I tasted the tea, which was much, much stronger than I've ever had jasmine tea before, and also sweetened, but it worked.
Terre a Terre is only about 5-10 minutes' walk from Brighton station, and Brighton station is only about an hour from London. It is worth the journey.
Kake, that's some description, got to give them credit for ambition and flowery prose!! I'll aim to get there on my next visit to Soho-on-Sea.
One ingredient in there that I adore is the Japanese citrus fruit Yuzu, a kind of a cross between a lemon and a lime if you will. I love the stuff either fresh (I used to pay $3 each from the Japanese supermarket when I was living in NYC) or else in bottled form (available from Arigato or Rice Wine Shop on Brewer Street) or else in the form of a paste called Yuzu Kosho which pairs really well dabbed on fish, either raw or cooked (may be available in London, I need to revisit the various Japanese grocers). My advice is to look out for yuzu in any guise.