I love a good tasting menu.
There is something so intensely pleasurable about stunningly plated dishes serving the absolute finest the chef has to offer. I think it’s something about the lack of decision making (and food envy), as well as having a group of people collectively enjoying the same dishes together that I absolutely love.
We were up north for a celebration and had a table at The Raby Hunt booked. I was already pretty excited (the Raby Hunt is the only michelin-starred restaurant in the North East), but was almost giddy with excitement after reading Jay Rayner’s review. This level of giddiness and excitement is, I’m guessing, what football fans must feel like when their team scores. I was ecstatic.
Every single course was exquisite. We opted for the 11-course menu, starting with the raw scallop and grapefruit, which was served with a little ponzu. This was followed by dehydrated artichoke skin, topped with some kind of offal – the centre was cold, and it had been slow-cooked – on paper, none of this should have made sense, but the combination of temperatures, flavours and textures was unreal.
The attention to detail was so great, especially in the 62° Lindisfarne Oyster – not just the temperature it was cooked at, but the garnish of English wasabi, too. I can’t wait to (eventually) bring my Japanese relatives here, to see what they make of traditional ingredients and flavours used in this way.
The next two dishes were among my favourite – the razor clams with almond and celeriac, as well as the raw beef with caviar were unlike any I’d had before. It’s worth noting that if you’re not a fan of raw things, this might not be the place for you (but then again, neither is my blog, so jog on).
Even the dishes that seemed like they might be placeholders had the ability to surprise, like the sea bream with smoked cod roe and spinach, or the spring salad – it all tasted even better than it looked (and it looked pretty damn good).
Based on the very brief descriptions of the desserts on the menu, I was both bewildered and apprehensive. Black olive, chocolate and sheep’s yoghurt is not usually what I find in the dessert menu. But of course, nothing about the meal was usual – it was a triumph. Chocolatey, rich, and served with orange oil, it was perfect.
The licorice and lime, too, was astounding – I hate licorice usually, but the thin wafer of caramelised licorice and fennel with the lime cream completely won me over.
The Yuzu chocolates were the perfect end to the best meal I have had this year. Seriously. Please go, it’s amazing.