DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS: A BLOW OUT AT BENTLEY'S
On Monday, the evening of the latest DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS, someone asked me why we organise these increasingly popular suppers.
I had to think for a moment, but in the end suggested that, in these days when every new restaurant has to come with a concept (think pop-up, think underground, think nuevo tapas) that it comes as a blessed relief just to sit down for a great meal with lots of interesting people with no other agenda than to have a bloody good time.
Judging by the e-mails, Facebook messages and Twitter DM's I received from the more well mannered of our guests after Monday's event, I think it is fair to say that everybody who attended the latest DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS had a very good time indeed. This is primarily thanks to the good folks of Bentley's, Richard Corrigan's excellent seafood restaurant on Swallow Street.
Head chef, Brendan Fyles, had taken the opportunity to go well above and beyond the call of duty and far exceeded my expectations for the £40 a head budget I set him, providing a meal which showed just how good a restaurant Bentley's is.
The meal began, as people arrived, with freshly shucked oysters served with Porterhouse Oyster Stout. These were accompanied by two superb canapes of Foie Gras with Apple Chutney and Deep Fried Chilli Shrimp. By the time we actually went to table, people were already nodding approvingly and continued their happy murmurs as the first course arrived.
HP and I like to make DWDH an famly style affair. It is easier on the kitchens and it promotes interaction, so important when we make sure that there are always a large number of new people at each event. So, when huge plates were placed on the table each carrying Sally Barnes smoked salmon,smoked tuna, smoked eel, smoked mackerel, soda bread, blinis and potted shrimp, the sight of everybody tucking in with gusto and passing the plates around was particularly pleasing.
Even more pleasing was yet another act of generosity on the apart of Head Chef, Brendan when he sent out plates of smoked herring roe on toast, coated with a silky bernaise sauce. Stunning.
A similar "wow" factor was gained by the arrival the two main courses. The first, a fish pie showed just how wonderful such a classic British dish can be when made well. Plumped out with haddock, scallops, salmon and prawns, it was layered with a bechamel sauce flavoured with the skins of smoked haddock and topped with a thick, buttery mashed potato. Just as delicious were large bowls of beef cheeks cooked down in more of the oyster stout. Astonishingly tender, they were probably my dish of the night.
It was a close call, however as no sooner had our main course plates been cleared than dessert arrived in the form of trays of rich sticky toffee pudding, served with jars of Roddas Clotted Cream and a thick toffee sauce.
I was having a dry night as I had to drive to the airport. Everyone else was very appreciative of the wines supplied by Nepenthe and Wines Unearthed, which were explained to everyone by the splendid Robert Macintosh.
At the end of the evening, Mr Corrigan made an appearance, to everybody's delight. But, more importantly so did Brendan to receive the round of applause his skills and generosity so richly deserved. An added round of applause went to events manager, Jane Sturgess, restaurant manager, King and his whole serving team who were faultless.
As people left, they stopped to collect the now legendary DWDH goody bags and a huge vote of thanks has to go out to Mathilde Delville who sourced the amazing contents of this event's offering. If you are wondering why the photographs on this post are a notch above our usual blurry DH snaps, they too are the result of her efforts
Each time we hold an event people tell me that it has been even better than the last. I don't know about that, they have all been fun for me. I am merely appreciative that so many wonderful chefs and restaurant staff have been so generous in supporting the single Dos Hermanos aim of helping Britain learn how to feast again. Long may it continue.
Dos Hermanos would like to thank the following without whom this event would not have been possible
PORTERHOUSE OYSTER STOUT
EASY TASTY MAGIC RANGE - TASTE No5 UMAMI PASTE
NUDO OLIVE OILS
FIRE & KNIVES MAGAZINE
CASILLERO DEL DIABLO
MARMITE CEREAL BARS
DIVINE DARK CHOCOLATE
JORDANS CEREAL BARS
PULP FRUIT POUCHES
Dont forget, if you would like the chance to attend a future DINE WITH DOS HERMANOS event, please check out our Facebook group