We are half way through our summer season of pop up restaurants at Rathfinny Wine Estate. We’ve welcomed many guests to our Winery Tasting Room to enjoy food created by some incredible chefs. Corks have been popped, eggs have been cracked and bellies have been filled.
The first chef to dazzle our guests was Chris Bailey from Brighton. With his Michelin starred background his more classical fayre both looked and tasted amazing. Where practically possible we ask the chefs to use local produce and local suppliers. We also use as many wines as we can from the UK and Chris’s dinner guests were met with Hambledon Classic Cuvee, the scallop was matched with Lyme Bay Shoreline from Cornwall and his Sussex lamb was paired with Gusbourne’s Pinot Noir.
The above dish from Chris was predominately about the rhubarb. Then you notice the small piece of locally foraged woodruff attached to the spoon handle. A small detail which ensures all of the guest’s senses are awakened and stimulated.
Next to make an entrance in our Tasting Room was Remi from Smoke and Salt. He tore himself away from his then yet to be opened restaurant in London. This time ‘classical’ wasn’t quite shown the door, but it was given the unique Smoke and Salt twist. Smoke and Salt aim to take everyone back to the heart of how things are prepared and cooked. When two whole lambs arrived and I was asked where a fire pit could be dug I knew things were going to be different!
The master at work.
Remi from Smoke and Salt ensured that the food on the plate looked good but the key was all about the flavour, the components and the melody played out on your tongue. Wines included Wiston Estate’s Blanc de Blanc and our very own Hobbs Hawth 2015.
The other wines, which included a delicate Albarino and a stunning gently oaked Rioja, were supplied by Artisvin from Eastbourne, again holding true to supporting local suppliers where we can.
The image above clearly illustrates what I personally feel these pop ups are all about. A table decked with delicious locally sourced seasonal food, matched with eclectic wines and most importantly, for me, an evening where everyone is there to share this memorable experience.
Recently we opened our kitchen doors and bleached our table cloths for Martin Carobott, we added some new Saarinen tulip table. Fresh from making the final in The Roux Scholarship and winning chef of the year in 2016 we knew this was yet again going to be a memorable evening for all involved.
The intricacy and depth of flavour in Martin’s food was simply breathtaking. A simple spray across a plate before the dish was prepped may have looked effective on the eye, but when consumed in its minuscule amount jaws dropped. This black and green garlic creation had been dried and prepped by Martin months in advance. This was just a mere backdrop to courses which included such elements as hay smoking, hot stones and even candy floss.
For Martin’s dinner we had Sussex sparkling wine from Albourne and 100% chardonnay still wine from Gusbourne. The non UK wines which included a memorable deep Sicilian blend with sumptuous length on the palate were supplied from Symposium in Lewes. The evening was finished with a South African sweet stunner from late harvested Sauvignon blanc.
The Mulderbosch 2010 late harvested Sauvignon blanc managed to taste even better than its deep golden hue and its honeyed nose (Ed – mouth watering just thinking about it again!)
So the big question is where do we go from here. The only way is up (baby). We’ve had three amazing chefs and their six dining experiences. http://rathfinnyestate.com/tours-and-events/ Follow the above link for information on the evenings, sign up to our newsletter and mailing list. We have more chefs to come, all with different backgrounds, skill sets and of course menus. We have so many more wines to share with you from the UK both sparkling and still. I for one can not wait. These are unique dining experiences in our Tasting Room looking over the Rathfinny vines. Spaces are limited so my advice is ensure you’re signed up to receive dates and times for the next set of Rathfinny Pop Ups.