Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Stevie’s Wonderland: The Dock Kitchen

Dock Kitchen
In the short-lived gasp of thaw between the two recent crippling cold snaps the BSG and I ventured out on our first gourmet foray west-side, just a short skip over the canal in W10.
Not suckers for awards (you wouldn’t have caught me in front of Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday; life’s far too short, and the Oscars, well, I switch off after the red carpet) we were leafing through the OFM awards issue earlier this autumn and were delighted to read about hot young chef Stevie Parle and his restaurant, The Dock Kitchen, situated right above Tom Dixon’s showroom and decked out in tons of the designer’s covetable must-haves. If I can find a handbag big enough I’ll be back and unscrewing one of the copper pendant lamps before you can say ‘Habitat’.
Anyhoo, it was a complete delight, cosy, aglow with candles and packed. I think I may have just mentioned before my inability to come to a decision… Well, here one is somewhat relieved of the burden of choice as they theme the menu around a particular event (Christmas), place (Sri Lanka maybe) or foodstuff (new season olive oil) and turn out simple yet refined dishes extolling the produce rather than looking like something that’d win ladies day at Ascot. Think of what you’d cook for the person you love the most in the hands of an expert, and that’s kind of close to what it’s like.
We started with shaved fennel and pomegranate salad, simply dressed with evergreen olive oil and lemon juice, the pomegranate pips twinkling bauble-like in the glow: a virtuous start to the Dock Kitchen’s take on Christmas feasting. Next up, a chestnut and chorizo soup of the richest brown, exuding aromas of smoke and Spain. Thick, rich and textured, a shallow bowl of this went a long way and definitely it was one for savouring rather than slurping with abandon.
The main event was roast goose with stewed lentils, tomatoes and spring greens. The BSG then dropped the bombshell that he’d never had goose before, so suddenly the stakes were raised. We weren’t disappointed. Beautifully cooked and seasoned, this bird tasted as if it may have even enjoyed the cooking process. Succulent, lightly laced with brandy and resonating with herbs, it had clearly taken a Christmassy, pre-furnace bath and it paired so perfectly with the accompaniments I momentarily wondered whether roast potatoes were indeed necessary on Christmas Day (I know, but I’d been driven to the edge of reason.)
We shared a plate of walnuts and a tranche of buttery yellow Stilton (delicious but unnecessary considering what was to follow). It truly was becoming a dress rehearsal for 25th December – loosen belts time! Panettone bread and butter pudding with custard seemed the only polite way to draw the feast to a close – after all, we did have an impressive walk home...sweet home!
Happy Christmas one and all.
Raymond Briggs Father Christmas 2

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