Anyway, now that our feet are firmly back on the ground, and there's no more wedmin to take up all our evenings, it's time to rejoin the local foodie loop. And what better way to start than an invitation to The White Spoon for a Cotswolds Bloggers event!
I've written about The White Spoon before; we had a wonderful dinner there not long after it had opened, and we still talk about that blackened beef. Though admittedly not quite as much as we talk about The Chap's incident with a razor clam at the launch party. He'll never live that one down (there was crunching involved).
I've been back since, having a suitably boozy a la carte lunch there a few months ago, but this was the first time trying their set lunch menu, albeit on a Friday night. There's a new Front of House, who gives us just as warm a welcome and shows us to our seats. It seemed a little odd that our bloggers group were split up into two separate tables, but hey ho.
Kelmscott pork chop with peas and broad beans was my choice for mains. There's something so comforting about a simple chop paired with other simple seasonal ingredients, in this case double podded broad beans and peas folded through a pea purée. For once there was no trickery in the cheffy shorthand menu, and sometimes that's all that you want. Excellent.
In contrast, The Chap's dish of goats cheese ravioli with pickled beetroot was a total surprise. One large ravioli packed with tangy cheese sat atop some slices of red and golden beetroot - yep, got this - with some wilted greens - yep, still with you - and covered with pickled beetroot foam... Say what? I don't think anyone was expecting it, but that magenta foam not only looked incredible but tasted it too; an instant hit of pickled beetroot as if by magic.
We were given a side of crushed swede and black pepper and some mind boggling aerated mash (£3.50 supplement each). In its fancy copper pan, it looked like the lump-less mash you'd usually see in a restaurant, but it really was so light that it was like eating a potato cloud. A new one for me. Both were a good accompaniment to the pork, the ravioli not so much, though it didn't stop anyone diving in.
The first dessert was lemon parfait and meringue. Blowtorched Italian meringue, crisp meringue shards and biscuit crumbs offered a range of textures, whilst the zingy parfait was the star of the show. A pick-me-up rather than an overindulgence, and perfect in this kind of weather.
The other, banana cake with ginger ice cream. Not the dense sickly sweet cake that is so often the case, but a super fluffy sponge topped with banana purée and caramelised banana slices. That's the thing about Chris White's cooking here at The White Spoon; he shies away from overly rich and heavy dishes, adopting a 'lighter' style of cooking which "showcases the diversity of ways in which ingredients can be prepared and enjoyed." And with their second birthday on the horizon, it's clearly working for them.
We finished the evening with Bristol Twenty coffee and petit fours. A decent cup of coffee, a bite size brownie, biscotti and marshmallow, for just a £3 supplement? I've spent more than that on a single espresso before, so you'd be a fool not to.
The White Spoon's set menu is a steal at £12 for two courses, or three for £15, and is available Wednesday to Saturday lunchtimes as well as before 7pm on Thursdays. It changes weekly in order to capture the best seasonal ingredients, which also means you can go regularly and never get bored - hurrah!
Big thanks to Chris, Purdey and their team for hosting us Cotswolds Bloggers; it's nice to be back.