For a week this summer, we had the company of some exciting talents in wild food and drink.
They brought with them their experience from establishments such as Noma, Maemo, L’Enclume, White Lyan and The Ledbury. Also their own businesses promoting progrssive cuisine, Buck and Birch, and Fallachan dining.
These chefs, with our friend and forager Mark Williams, collaborated on a memorable meal that articulated the time of year and the offerings of this place. This is what we ate.
Starter, cured meat platters to share.
Antipasti alla Islay, an Islay charcuterie – haggis salami, Greylag goose ham, Serrano roe deer ham, pickled dandelion capers from Buck and Birch stocks, and fermented cherry blossom.
Octomore sourdough, a natural ferment of super-heavily peated Octomore malts. To creator, chef Craig Grozier, ‘The Octomore bread is, I think, basically, the smell of the distillery. The smell of Octomore malts is amazing eaten warm with pollock butter. Basically, smoked pollock caught on Wednesday off Port Ellen, smashed into butter.’
Drink, served on a shell
A palette cleanser before the fish course, created by Ally Kelsey, venue manager at White Lyan, Hoxton, and his sometime colleague there (our lady in London) Abi Clephane.
A mixture of The Botanist and fig leaf cordial, pineapple weed, and sea succulents coriander grass and scurvey grass, plus apple cider for a bit of sharpness. With pepper dulse and sea salt sprinkles.
By way of introduction to the original serve, Abi comments, ‘It’s just down in one like an oyster but you’re gonna spill it down yourself because that’s what scallops are all about.’
By James Forrest and Mark Williams
Hand-dived scallops, five seaweeds (including sea noodles, sea lettuce, sea spaghetti, pepper dulse), Dashi broth (from funghi, pollock, seaweeds), sea sandwort and sea campion flowers to garnish. You can choose to eat the scallops raw, or to submerge them in the broth to lightly poach.
According to Mark, ‘It’s a celebration of a celebration of the plants of Islay and the scallops of Islay. After the trip on the fishing boat yesterday where we caught the scallops, and some fish, we’d gone across a headland and there were some amazing coastal succulent plants growing out of cliffs…’
(Craig Grozier) Wild garlic and tansy focaccia. ‘Wild garlic that’s been fermenting for about a year.’