Monday, 30 November 2015

Alright Treacle

"Alright Treacle?"..

Not just a typical greeting you might receive if you tapped on Danny Dyer's door to borrow some sugar. Naturally I was delighted to connect with Edinburgh based supper club, Alright Treacle. Totally blown away by their creative partnership and desire to offer an alternative dining experience for our city, I was quick to snap up my place at their table; sample the varied, visually stunning menu and chat with founder and kitchen goddess, Anna.

The Crew

The Alright Treacle team come in the form of dynamic duo, Anna Hamilton (R) and Lydia Honeybone (L). Anna did something of a "side-shuffle" from previous career choices and discovered her love for creating vibrant menus and a passion for the community dining experience. With no real formal training in the kitchen, she found her natural affinity and flair in menu design, culinary creation and hosting - all this with Lydia as her trusty right-hand gal.

Edinburgh is a fine canvas for such a concept. Alright Treacle do it all: private event catering, collaborations, special birthdays or hosting themed supper clubs at a quirky flat in the historic Old Town, otherwise known as Alright Treacle HQ.

Culinary Community

Setting a theme for any event is the perfect way to draw different crowds together and keeps the company and concept fresh. I found that hosting the supper club in a flat created an intimate, socialable and personal dining experience. There is something delightful about community dining.

Carefully selected menus and themes naturally attract a wide variety of different guests each with their own tastes and interests. This social "melting pot" is the perfect environment to spark conversation and keeps a natural flow to the entire evening. If that does not occur naturally it is almost impossible to generate. It is organic and cannot be forced. In truth, forcing it would really detract from the very element that makes it so fascinating.

I adore that each event is entirely individual, whether you want to relive retro dishes with a twist, enjoy chocolate in every course or get into the spirit of the festive season, Anna is bursting with ideas that will lure you in and ensure that you never want to leave.

As I chatted among guests I found a mix of loyal Alright Treacle veterans and newcomers which bound the evening together in an intricately woven social tapestry. Further time with Anna illuminated that through the group dining process new friendships blossomed. Over time, newbies would integrate themselves into the group allowing long-lasting friendships to be forged. This makes it quite different than rocking up to your favourite restaurant to eat, pay and leave.

At my event it became abundantly clear that Alright Treacle were as passionate about the GREET as they were about the MEAT. A veritable feast of gourmet cuisine, creative party panache and a hostess with the most.

I volunteered to attend "Meat Head" on a chilly October evening which the wise among you will deduce promised a meat feast with meat taking centre stage in every course, including dessert. Just thinking about it brought me out in the meat sweats. Not an evening for our veggie friends you might agree, but certainly a carnivore's heaven.

Time for a tipple

Why, it would seem rude to refuse, wouldn't it? On arrival we were greeted with an Elderflower and gin fizz cocktail. What a fine welcome! I think I could get to like it here. A few bubbles were all we needed to set us off on the right course.

Snack Attack

To kick things off Anna presented a home made bread fresh from the oven which had a hint of pancetta, cheddar and shallot, accompanied with fresh pesto.

I try not to eat bread too often, so this felt more like an occasional treat. Honestly, I would have enjoyed going to town on this alone, but I had to leave room for all that was to come.

Just For Starters

First plate of the evening was a venison carpaccio with parsnip puree and crisps, fig, parmesan, pistachios, pickled shallot rings, mustard frills and a pomegranate molasses dressing. I enjoyed the incorporation of seasonal produce into this visual masterpiece.

Such a tasty titbit to whet our appetites. Each one of Anna's dishes are a sumptuous work art.

Quite fitting that I captured each kodak moment before I devoured every morsel of these delectable delights.

The Main Event

For main, Anna served up beef cheek, blue cheese and walnut pie, rare filet, celeriac purée, chanterelles, poached pear, blackberries, pea shoots, buttered beef and all topped with porcini gravy. The meat was tender, the flavours alluring and complementary and guaranteed to bring pizazz to any palette.

Just Desserts

You know what they say about saving the best for last?

I never quite knew that bacon and cheesecake could be friends, but apparently they get along quite famously. The cheesecake was made using a hazelnut base with a salted caramel and bacon filling. This was topped with tart berry and served alongside a beetroot sorbet which offered a sharp contrast to the dish. A more daring dessert you will not find.

A brave attempt and an Alright Treacle première, but the table agreed that this bold move more than paid off. You could say that sometimes you can risk it for a biscuit (base).

Each course was sublime, with company to match. Sadly Alright Treacle are approaching their "last supper" for the moment as Anna embarks on fresh horizons in New Zealand with her beau. However, should she find herself back in "Auld Reekie" I would urge you to act swiftly to ensure that she has set aside a place just for you. I truly hope she continues to develop her creativity on different shores and that this will enable her to bring back fresh flavours and a concoction of new ideas on her glorious return.

Bon Voyage Alright Treacle, so nice to meat you...

How do I connect with Alright Treacle?
Facebook: Alright Treacle
Twitter: @alrighttreacles
Instagram: alrighttreacles

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