We’re a bit late with this post but better late than never! In October we celebrated our 5th birthday. Never did we think when we held our first event in 2011 that we’d still be holding events and that the lovely folk of Leeds and beyond would still want to come!
Our celebratory event’s theme was Korean (our favourite food of the moment) paired with beer by Mikkeller, one of our favourite brewers. And because it was a celebration, we opened our doors for two nights! Each guest received three bottles to pair with the meal as they wished. These were Oktoberpretzel – a German style beer brewed with pretzels, 1000 IBU – a bitter, highly hopped Belgian beer, and Sort Kaffe, a coffee infused porter.
We started off the evening with glasses of Blå Spøgels, a tart blueberry lambic which was very reminiscent of a kir royale, only a beery version. This was paired with our canapes, the first were rice and seaweed rolls – a Korean version of sushi, using steak and an assortment of vegetables. Pretty virtuous to contrast with the next canape, roasted pork belly lettuce wraps. This was soft pork belly, slow roasted in Korean bean paste broth. The pork was enveloped in a crunchy lettuce leaf and smeared with more umami bean paste, lovely!
For our first starter, our guests were treated to Korean fried chicken with a twist, served up as a slider rather than the traditional wings. Crispy fried thighs coated in spicy, sweet sauce served in miniature brioche buns.
This was followed by the best hangover dish ever – kimchi fried rice! We served up our take in pretty little frying pans. Steamed rice was cooked up with loads of veggies, chilli flakes and a ton of spicy, stinky kimchi! Topped with a runny egg and paired with a kimchi bloody mary, this was sterling stuff!
For mains, our first dish was braised beef short ribs with pickles. Beef ribs were marinated for 24 hours in soy, chillies, ginger and pear (to name a few of the ingredients) and then slowly braised for five hours until meltingly tender. To accompany these were a duo of pickles, a sweet pickled onion and a spicy quick kholrabi “kimchi”.
Crab was our next course, but not just any old crab, deep fried softshell crab to be precise! Our crispy offering was coated in moreish spicy bean paste and served with a creamy mayo dip and tangy, pickled mooli, yum!
After a short rest, our pre dessert was a small serving of black sesame ice cream, a cooling sweet and savoury combination to cleanse the palate before dessert.
Speaking of dessert, this was a deliciously tart passionfruit posset – Korean style. Each tangy posset was topped with a syrup of Korean ‘Citron Tea’. Citron tea is bit like marmalade, with a lemony tea flavour. I’ve no idea whether the Koreans eat it or drink it! But it made a lovely, sharp topping for the creamy possets. These came with crumbly, sweet and salty seaweed shortbread.
To accompany tea and coffee, our petit fours were divisive and very much split the crowd. I made glutinous rice balls coated in matcha, a traditional sweet . They were mildy sweet and bitter as Koreans aren’t known to have a very sweet tooth. These certainly pushed the boundaries. One guest described them as “horrific”…compliments indeed!
All in all a lovely evening was had, over the past five years we’ve learnt a lot and we’re still learning. Every event throws up something new – such as cooking Korean food for a guest who didn’t eat spice, eek! Thanks to all of our guests who have dined with us and we’re looking foward to seeing many more. Next up is our Middle Eastern lunch, using Sirocco as our inspiration. We’ll be publishing the menu shortly, so keep your eyes peeled!