Having been someone that in the past had been extremely controlling and restrictive in my eating the thought of an evening dining out with a menu that someone else decides would have brought me out in a cold sweat and just wouldn’t have happened, oh how things have changed.
A favourite for Sunday brunch, we were yet to eat at C Sons Shrewsbury when the lights go down, but having heard so many positive reviews about their evening tasting menu, we felt it was about time we swapped the americano’s for cocktails and a lazy Sunday into a fun Friday night feast.
From the start I was expecting big things, as let’s be honest this was the place whose sausages turned a meat eater out of me after years of being Vegetarian and make an infamous lemon curd that dreams are made of.
Arriving and greeted by big smiles and friendly hugs we were shown to our table and a drinks list presented, on it four cocktails that change each week and with every season, chosen to complement the dishes that they accompany, you’ve heard of wine pairing before, well this is just as tailored, but with a little garnish!
When we were ready an eager nod was given towards the bar and the anticipated feast began.
Each course was presented with a full description of the exquisite dish we were to taste
First course; Salt Beef Broth.
I have been a big fan of meat broth since making Hemsley and Hemsleys and cannot stress enough how delicious a bowl of boiled bones is, yet this has something more, a lot more, it has beautifully tender chunks of salted beef that simply melt in your mouth. It is seasoned in a way that complement the saltness of the beef and keeps it light and fresh and whilst slurping away at each spoonful you hope that it will be a never ending bowl.
Sadly it is, but then what follows is a dish that since the release of the “Made in Shropshire” cookbook in which this recipe appears, I have been looking forward to try.
Second course: Coley Ceviche.
Honestly in the past the prospect of raw cured fish would have had me sucking my cheeks in, however this was delicious, the subtle fishiness of the Coley was delicate and brought to life by the sharpness of the pickles and the wasabi that gave it a good punch.
As every new course arrived if possible it was more beautiful and delightful then the one before.
Third course: Pork Belly, miso lentils and braised celeriac.
My favourite dish so far, oh wow, those lentils, so tasty just by themselves, but pair them with the pork and what a combination. As with the salt beef the pork was mouth meltingly moorish and so delicate and simply seasoned so that you just get the full flavour of it. As I said earlier, having been a reformed vegetarian I have tried every type of lentil dish you could imagine and yes this one was accompanied by meat, but the lentils by themselves would be a veggies dream, if only more places could make more of simple flavours in vegetarian cooking.
However back to the meat and this has certainly put pork back on the menu in our house and is something to aspire to, if only I could get the recipe (hint!).
Forth Course; Chicken Shawarma with Flatbreads.
Firstly, any dish with dukkah makes for a very happy eater and combined with the rest of the ingredients created a truly beautiful middle eastern inspired dish. Having been blown away by the pork, I was now finding that this was competition, the home-made flat bread was light and fluffy yet with a char-grilled crisp, the peppers were so sweet they tasted like they had been caramelised in sunshine and the spices and garlic of the chicken were so incredibly flavoursome, complimented by the freshness of the creamy citrus yoghurt, the only downside of this dish was working out the best possible way to eat it to make the most out of how the flavours work together, so after tasting each element individually, they all went into the flat bread together and then into a very happy mouth.
Now here I pause to have a confession, Mr H having finished his plate before me sat opposite eyes longingly watching the last remains of this course disappearing, hoping I would be unable to finish the forth and final savoury dish, now for this man I would do anything, I would give the world, however it would seem everything except share the last mouthful of this sensational dish and so I gobbled it up (sorry darling).
Thankfully before the guilt had time to creep in, it was time for dessert and as two plates of pure indulgent luxurious temptation were placed down in front of us, it seemed unlikely that the bar could be raised even higher from the previous 4 courses, oh how wrong we were.
Course 5: Chocolate and Apricot torte with Neals Yard creme fraiche … & Lemon yum with home-made ginger biscuit.
Oh good grief, the torte was divinely chocolatey, the buttery crunch of the base with the light texture of the creme fraiche was stunning, this one was definitely my favourite dish, without a doubt … but then Mr H passed over the second dessert, this is a recipe that brought back all the wonderful memories of mums baking, taking me back to scooping away the layer of lemon curd from the lemon meringue pie, but (sorry mum) much silkier, sweeter and delicate, I know what you are thinking its basically a jar of lemon curd, oh how you would be wrong, it is a little jar of lemon heaven.
The entire experience at C Sons was one of utter pleasure, their taster menu demonstrates their high level of expertise and knowledge of flavours, textures and how to create the most delicious dishes, inspired from around the world, but with local ingredients. This was easily one of the best meals I have ever had in my life and since Friday I have not stopped raving about it to everyone that I have come into contact with.
It was truly an exceptional night in happy and informal surroundings but with the very highest quality of food and I cannot wait to try more … mmm I wonder if there will be a table free this Friday!!!
Happy Eating, A x