Food & Wine Pros
A cocktail pairing dinner at The Seahorse
One of the main events at the Dartmouth Food Festival this weekend was a dinner at Mitch Tonks Seahorse restaurant cooked by London chef Mark Hix. The unusual factor though was that every dish was matched with a cocktail.
That might sound a bit of an overkill in terms of alcohol but in fact it worked really well as the cocktails were all served in small liqueur glasses. Only the introductory cocktail - a Gin Mare gin and tonic served with black pepper and a slice of mango was a normal-sized serve.
The pairing that worked best, I thought, was a Shipwreck Sour made with Julian Temperley’s cider brandy and pomona, apple syrup and a ‘HIx Fix’ cherry served with Peter Hannan’s slow-cooked bacon ribs and apple sauce - a similar dish to the one we had at the recent Cloudy Bay dinner. It went slightly less well with the accompanying ‘chateau steak’ with which we sneaked a glass of La Massa Carla VI Sangiovese.
I also thought the C2 Café liqueur - a blend of coldpressed espresso and cognac - was brilliant with the rich dark Peruvian Gold chocolate mousse.
The twin shots of tequila and ‘Jospered’ corn and pineapple was an interesting idea with the ‘Hix Cure’ smoked salmon (which is apparently smoked on Selfridges roof) but I didn’t think it quite came off. Maybe it would have been better with the bacon. I liked the ‘dirty martini’ that was served with the first course better with this dish. Smoked salmon and vodka go really well.
The martini did however slightly overpower the ‘shaved pennybuns’ (raw ceps) with Berkswell cheese and lambs lettuce drizzled with rapeseed oil, despite the addition of a dash of mushroom juice to the cocktail. A bit strong for a delicate ingredient like ceps, I think.
All in all though it was a fun set of pairings though for which they charged a comparatively modest £20 extra, half of which went to charity. It shows that cocktails do have a place on the dinner table though perhaps not in combination with wine . . . ;-)
The cocktails were devised by Strange Hill.
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