Saturday, 16 November 2013

Alyn Williams At The Westbury

Right time to write up another great meal out this time at Alyn Williams at the Westbury, having arrived I was stunned at how beautiful the dining room is.

We decided to go for the tasting menu and let the sommelier pick a glass of wine for each of us to match the early courses and a glass each to match the mains as my dining partner and myself had chosen to have 1 each of the main choices.

The meal started with great bread, caraway butter and lovely light canap├ęs 
including tempura peppers and airy cheese gougeres. 

 These where followed by our first course of –

Crab/Pot au feu/milk/Celery crisp,
This was full flavour, light, brilliantly fresh and vibrant.

Orkney scallop/Cuttlefish/Caraway/Mint 
came next and was mind blowing in its simplicity but packed an almighty punch.

The course that followed was not on the tasting menu but turned out to be one of my favorite dishes from the meal –

Heritage tomato/wasabi/radish
When a tomato taste as good as these did you don’t need to do a lot to them but the finesse the kitchen showed with this dish put any other tomato dish I have had in the shade.

Marinated quail/Smoked egg/Baked potato/Pickled red cabbage
Again brilliant flavours and clever use of textures to create a balanced and properly tasty dish.

Cured salmon/Peas/radish/Summer truffle
If not the best dish of the day a very very close second. Clean, bright and salmon cooked with great precision.

Next where the 2 main courses,

Devon ruby red sirloin and cheek/Turnips/Sand carrots/Croutons
Char grilled dry aged pork/River kennet crayfish/White asparagus

Beautifully cooked sirloin, tender melting cheeks and carrots with an incredible flavour.

But for me the pork was the highlight of the whole meal, sweet succulent loin and belly pork, crisp skin, perfect crayfish, butter roasted white asparagus and a light jus was just awesome.

Cornish cheesecake/Pineapple/Timur pepper/Cereal
This was our pre dessert and like the rest of the meal it was full of flavour, clever in the way it was presented.

Our final course –
Chocolate cake/masala/Mascarpone/Passion fruit
Simple In design and plating but it was wicked, warm and satisfying.

I have included the images of the wines we tasted all 4 where very nice but the Alberino stood out to me as something abit different and was very nice.

So to sum up the meal was awesome, Alyn was nice enough to come out and say hello and spend a few minutes chatting. He seemed at ease and very happy with the way life is going at the moment.
The service we received was top draw; the gentleman that served us was knowledgeable about the menus and Alyn’s style of cooking and was relaxed and looked like he really enjoyed his job.

Remember live to eat don’t eat to live

Sunday, 10 November 2013


I would like to start this with a thank you to Mark Poyton and his team at Alimentum for an incredible birthday lunch and also a sorry as this was back in march and I should have posted about it before now (sorry mate).

I was lucky enough to meet mark when I worked with him on his course for Kai we care back in 2011 and had wanted to go to Alimentum since then, I finally made it down to Cambridge for my birthday this year. As my wife has a couple of allergies I was in contact with Mark about this before our meal and when we arrived I couldn’t wait to see what we would be having.

I am not 100% sure of all the dishes we had as Mark cooked us what he had planned and I never saw a menu but will do my best to remember them, Mark had managed to work out a meal where lizzie and I had a nearly identical meal with only subtle changes to accommodate lizzies allergies.

Some dishes didn’t even make the camera as I couldn't wait to try them. just before we get to the pictures, Mark I'm sorry if the descriptions are wrong and if you can give me the menu descriptions i will put them right on here.

Salmon, broccoli, puffed rice & yogurt sorbet

Crisp, clean flavours a prelude to what was to come 

Heritage carrot salad

The absolute highlight of my meal, amazing carrots that showed what can be achieved with real skill with seasoning and bringing the best out an ingredient. It was served with a goats cheese ice cream, awesome on its own better with a mix of carrots.

Halibut, pumpkin seeds, butternut, savoy & trompette mushrooms

This was lizzie's favourite course, beautifully cooked fish with the seeds adding texture as well as flavour the trompettes adding an earthiness to the dish.

Beef and onions

Perfectly cooked beef with ragu of oxtail, bone marrow and onions cooked in a variety of ways including puree, roast onion and crispy fried onions. this was a plate full of flavour and skill balancing the huge flavour in the oxtail ragu and the richness of bone marrow the different taste and textures of the onions. To me this was a masterclass in putting a main course together, everything on the dish deserved to be there and nothing was there for show.

Pear & rhubarb 

A very elegant dish to finish the meal of pear and rhubarb both done a couple of ways, fresh pear, pear sorbet, poached rhubarb, rhubarb gel and i think brown butter powder. as with everything i ate that lunch it was beautifully presented, full of flavour and original.

Just to finish i would like to add that the service was bang on, the guys really do sell the restaurant and marks vision for it brilliantly. To say i enjoyed my meal is an understatement i will defiantly be going back in the evening at some point to do the full on tasting menu and i suggest if you have not been you get down there, it is defiantly worth a journey thats for sure.

Remember live to eat don't eat to live