Tag Archives: pop-up

Review: Dinewithi, Bristol

Many years ago – and for many happy years – I worked for the legendary Venue magazine (now sadly RIP) and contributed lots and lots of words to its famous/infamous food pages. It was during this time that I first became aware of chef Tim Owen, who has stints at both the Star and Dove and The Oxford under his belt, but has been working independently running his Dinewithi pop-up ventures for quite a while now. Anyway, Tim recently got in touch with me and said hello again. And I was delighted to hear from him. And I was even more delighted to be invited to his most recent Supper Club, which he hosted at the lovely Totterdown Canteen last Saturday. And I’m absolutely delighted – not to mention lucky – that I took him up on his invitation, because it turned out to be an experience that I won’t forget for a very long time to come.

Tim is one of those characterful, opinionated, tenacious chefs that, in these “keep corporate/toe the (maximum profit) line” days, are fast becoming a lesser-spotted breed; confident but not conceited, headstrong without being belligerent about it. And he’s clearly a very popular man – on the evening we visited, his £30pp BYO event was packed to capacity; party atmosphere? Bring. It. On!

Having taken to our table, opened the first of the many bottles of wine we’d transported with us from Bath and started to soak up the gently buzzing vibe that thrummed all around us, the first treat (of many to come) hit the table in the form of mini pissaladière – tantalisingly moreish little bites that brought sweet caramelised onions and salty anchovies together in perfect harmony on crisp toast, and offered a taste of southern France to Totterdown. I could have eaten three of these, or six, or more… but then again, I’m glad I didn’t because we were skipping back across the channel for a hearty Cullen Skink: a creamy, dreamy combination of smoked fish and tender chunks of potatoes in a silky, quietly complex stock/broth served with sourdough bread courtesy of Baked of Totterdown, which arrived slathered in a vibrant, lemon-infused garlic butter that added a zingy blast of citrus to the depth charge of flavours in the bowl. Talking of depth charge of flavours…

Next up on our Dinewithi discovery: 24-hour Somerset lamb shoulder as succulent and tender as lamb can possibly get, flaunting those intrinsically sweet, slightly fruity characteristics that are only pushed to the fore when the meat is sourced this well, and cooked this properly. To accompany our meaty feast, a generous pillow of crushed white bean, parmesan and savoy cabbage mash that bought yet more luxurious texture and grounding earth notes to an already boldly authoritative dish, while a splash of piquant Chimichurri (which I always think of as the bolder foodie’s version of sauce vierge) turned the whole combination into a loud, proud celebration of all that is good about really, really good food.

Halfway through this dish, it occurred to me that Tim had, in the nicest possible way, shaken me out of the kind of soporific, “I’m used to eating out” slump that food writers can so easily slip into. He’d confidently lured me out of complacency and taken me on an exciting excursion back to a place that reminded me why and how chefs can be this exciting. On one level, Tim’s food is about as down-to-earth and accessible as real eating gets. But when a properly passionate, properly brave, properly talented chef takes those down-to-earth, accessible ingredients and turns them into magic on several plates, a very special kind of alchemy happens. And the enchantment didn’t end there.

For dessert, there was caramelised zest lemon posset served with chocolate orange florentine – think of traditional lemon posset served with a shortbread biscuit, then throw that thought out of your mind altogether and think again; this was a properly indulgent pudding, satisfyingly creamy but not over-excessively so (as is often the case, with posset,) while the addition of that nutty, orange-infused, distinctively textured nibble was pure genius.

And actually, in summary, that’s how I’d describe Tim: pure genius in the form of an inspired chef with a uniquely charismatic personality. Tim: your good old days haven’t happened yet; keep doing what you’re doing, and the best is yet to come.

Keep up with Tim/Dinewithi on Twitter ‪@dinewithi‬

The Gourmet Picture Co bring a uniquely uplifting parcel of festive fun to Bath

The Gourmet Picture Company –- creators of unique culinary cinema experiences – have set up camp in Bath to present us with an eclectic programme of classic Christmas movies from The Holiday to The Hangover by way of It’s A Wonderful Life alongside popular cult films such as Sideways, Top Gun and Pretty Woman, screened in a magnificent movie theatre marquee on the western fields of Victoria Park (by the golf course entrance/Marlborough Tavern pub.)

But there’s much more to this festive shebang than a cinematic experience alone. Each screening is combined with sumptuous set menus curated by two of the country’’s best-loved chefs, Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge – when Rick’s menus end on Sunday 24 December, Tom’s take off from Wednesday 27 December and run all the way through until New Year’s Eve.

If the word “marquee” sends a chill through your bones, then rest assured that the GPC have created a venue that most definitely doesn’t feel like a temporary tarpaulin. It’s decked-out to create the ultimate in Christmas cosiness, including heating that makes the blankets laid out on the plush red sofas redundant (they’re lovely to snuggle up in anyway, though), a full-on bar and – yes! – proper loos that aren’t even remotely related to the dreaded campsite bathroom experience. Food is freshly prepared on site and served at your seat in high-end incarnations of the familiar airline tray format, and both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options are available.

We attended the GPC’s big Bath reveal on the opening night (ah, Casablanca!) and tucked into Rick Stein’s prawn cocktail (get those huge, plump prawns!) followed by a creamy, dreamy Meen Kulambu (aka cod curry), served with pilau rice and warm, fresh naan bread. There was popcorn and chocolate coins awaiting our arrival, and homemade ice-cream for pud… and the whole experience was properly, utterly lovely. How fab is that? But be warned: the GPC will be breaking camp after the last screening on New Year’s Eve, and tickets for both matinees and evening screenings are selling out fast; jingle all the way to booking your snuggle-up seats today.

Christmas comes to SouthGate

Christmas has come to SouthGate… in a suitably spectacular fashion.

This very evening (Thursday 16 November) there’ll be free candy canes and mulled wine, a Big Lights Switch On and guaranteed snow – yes, snow! – to herald the arrival of Christmas at Bath’s most all-inclusive shopping and merrymaking zone. But the fun only starts here!

Regardless of the weather forecast, snow will fall every hour on St Lawrence Street North and South for the duration of the festive season, while breathtakingly pretty icicle chandeliers light our way along and through all SouthGate routes (and, of course, around a veritable forest of very well-dressed trees.). Heck, there’s even a Kissmas selfie love seat to keep the snappers happy!

Meanwhile, the restaurants and bars in and around SouthGate are hosting myriad party menus this party season. Having checked out the Christmas Menus and events at the Cosy Club, Graze, Comptoir Libanais, Absurd Bird and Giraffe (in fact, we’re off to review Giraffe any moment now, so keep an eye out for the results), we’re wondering how many Christmas feasts it’s okay to indulge in between now and December 25th itself. And while we’re contemplating such a possibility we’ll be chilling out at Frosty’s Bar, which has popped up at the epicentre of the SouthGate action offering an alfresco seating area complete with cosy blankets and serving mulled wine, festive cocktails, soothing hot chocolate, freshly-baked mince pies and many more seasonal treats.

Lights, cameras, action: the SouthGate Christmas scene is most definitely set – and we’re all invited to the party.

Rick Stein and Tom Kerridge to headline menus at pop-up culinary cinema in Bath

Following the sell-out success of previous events held at Cliveden House in Buckinghamshire, Chewton Glen hotel in Hampshire and the Old Town Hall in Marlow, The Gourmet Picture Company –- creators of unique culinary cinema experiences – will descend on Bath’s Victoria Park this festive season with an eclectic programme of classic and Christmas movies combined with specially created menus from two of the country’’s best-loved chefs, Tom Kerridge and Rick Stein.

The magnificent movie theatre marquee – decked-out to create the ultimate in Christmas cosiness, complete with the Gourmet Picture Company’’s plush, iconic red sofas – will take up residence from December until early January, showing both evening screenings and afternoon matinees from a programme curated from a list of movie favourites provided by the people of Bath, to include festive flicks, family friendly jolly-ups and other classics. Meanwhile, to further guarantee that this is no ordinary night out at the movies…

From Thursday 14 December to Christmas Eve, audiences will enjoy their chosen movie alongside a seasonal menu created by Rick Stein. From Wednesday 27 December to Sunday 7 January, the menu comes courtesy of Tom Kerridge. Audience members will be served drinks and food at their tables, followed by home-made ice-cream created from the team at the Hand and Flowers. How fabulous is that? But be warned – tickets (which go on sale in late November) are set to sell-out fast; to find more about priority tickets and the Gourmet Picture Company visit www.gourmetpicturecompany.co.uk

(Image courtesy of the Gourmet Picture Company)

4-course menu created by award-winning chef Hywel Jones at Bath College, Thursday 16 November

On Thursday 16 November, Bath College is partnering with the five-star Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa for an evening of foodie delights, offering diners a unique chance to sample dishes created by Lucknam Park’s award-winning chef Hywel Jones.

Hywel is stepping out of his eponymously-named, Michelin-starred kitchen to work with hospitality and catering students at Bath College who, under his guidance, will prepare a delicious four-course menu. The evening will be supported by Chris Kidd, Restaurant Manager at Lucknam Park, who will keep a close eye on front of house.

Bath College is excited to be working with Lucknam Park as part of the Bath Hotel and Restaurant School, set up to link students at the college with leaders in the south west hospitality and catering industry. A number of students have progressed to work at the hotel and spa after finishing their course, including Bath College alumni Stephen Cunningham, Natalie Knight, Leon Parsons and Connor Gale. “I see the students at Bath College as possible future employees and we need to make sure they are inspired to work for Lucknam Park when they graduate,” says Chris Kidd. “Also, it’s important for me to put something back into the industry. I always hear how there is a skills shortage in hospitality, and I believe we’re partly responsible for improving this and developing young people.” “Working with Hywel and Chris is always a thrill for the students,” says Ryan Hanson, Deputy Head for Hospitality and Catering at Bath College. “It’s a great opportunity to be involved at the sharp end with top professionals and feel the pressure that comes with carrying a Michelin star. The experience will also represent a chance for them to be inspired, and to demonstrate their mettle, skills and abilities. Who knows, they too may end up working at Lucknam Park!”

So, piggies: this is your chance to grab a unique opportunity to sample a taste of Hywel’s Michelin-starred, stylish ways with locally sourced produce and meet tomorrow’s kitchen superstars today… for the unbeatable price of just £50pp. For further information and, of course, to make that all-important booking, email shrubberyrestaurant@bathcollege.ac.uk or call 01225 328502 today.

The Bath Magazine recently went ‘Behind the Menu’ with Hywel Jones himself – read all about it here.

Photo credit: Philip Edwards

Flock Inn festival at Hartley Farm, Saturday 16 September

See the summer out in style at Hartley Farm’s unique, one night only pop-up pub The Flock Inn on Saturday 16 September.

Take cover in the farm’s giant tipi for an evening of general merriment including live music from The Greasy Slicks, Bite The Buffalo, Jake Meeking and Stone Cold Fiction (all presented in collaboration with RMT Music) as you refuel with grub freshly prepared onsite and cooked on the farm’s Big Green Egg barbecue and refresh yourself at the festival bar. Tickets cost just £25pp to include entertainment, food and a drink on arrival. Want to turn the event into a staycation experience? There are limited camping pitches available at £10 per pitch for a tent or camper van.

To make that all-important booking, click here, email peri@hartley-farm.co.uk or call 01225 864984 today. Party on, Piggies!

Ash Saman pop-up, Yurt Lush (Bristol), Sunday 2 July

Yurt Lush: the unique, super-cool, Bristol-based foodie ‘experience’ co-founded in 2012 by Michelin-starred chef Josh Eggleton (patron of the highly-acclaimed Pony and Trap, Chew Magna) and local farmer Luke Hasell. Ash Saman: the unique, super-cool, Bath-based chef who boasts stints at Chequers, Casamia, Clivedon House Hotel and the Glassboat on his extensive CV. Put ’em together and what have you got? A Very Good Reason to take the short hike from Bath to Bristol on the evening of Sunday 2 July, when Ash will be hosting his very own pop-up menu event in those gert lush yurts (conveniently situated close to Bristol Temple Meads railway station).

If you follow Ash on Twitter (and if you don’t, you really should: @ChefAshSaman) you’ll already be au fait with the kind of dishes that he specialises in – twisty, turny, super-imaginative and always beautifully presented, with more than hint of surprise, wow-factor and the odd “what the heck is that?” moment sprinkled across his more experimental creations. Extraordinary? That’s Ash!

At the time of writing, Ash is developing dishes such as white gazpacho with frozen olive oil / cured hake, leek, dill / salmon, matcha, wasabi / lamb, carrot, goats’ cheese / lemon, tarragon … and white chocolate with burnt celery root (yes, really) for his Bristol pop-up menu, which costs just £49 for the whole array. But the menu may change slightly due to availability of produce closer to the time… and, of course, Ash’s inspirational flashes.

To book your place at this Very Special Feast, email saman.ash@yahoo.com or ping him a DM on Twitter. But however you make contact, do it fast – tickets are sure to sell out very quickly indeed. See you there, Piggies? We can’t wait!