When I was invited along to Artisan to taste their October Seasonal Showcase menu*, I was very excited. Seven courses, all featuring the best ingredients in season this month. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to eat it all – I’m that person who orders a starter or a dessert, but very rarely both! Thankfully, the dishes were a good size and I left feeling full, but not like I needed to be rolled down the street to the car!
This month berries and game meats were two of the key tastes incorporated into the seasonal dishes. I tried duck and pheasant, plus venison – two dishes I can honestly say I’d deter from ordering in a restaurant, but I gave them a go and maybe my opinion has changed slightly since then…
We were welcomed with a glass of fizz and some seasonal canapes. I’d love to say I remember what they all are, but unfortunately I don’t! The little sausage roll one was my favourite though and the apple sauce dip really complimented the flavour.
Next up we had mushroom soup with a bread/cheese/ball thing. I’m feeling like I should’ve taken notes – though I did take a photo of the menu and that doesn’t even say what it was. I’ll try and find out. Either way it was good. The mushroom soup, despite being something I wouldn’t typically order had a good flavour and was just creamy enough. Can I say it looked cute too, I mean it was served in a mini teacup.
Course three featured Duck and Pheasant Rillettes with onion jam, celariac, pear and hazelnuts. The crisp pear sauce and hazelnuts worked well with the gamey flavour. I was a bit apprehensive about this course, but the flavours worked well and weren’t too strong. I thought game might be a bit too rich and I think duck is quite a rich meat too, so the light texture of the rillettes (bit like paté) was surprisingly nice.
Following that we had an Autumn Squash Salad with goats curd, beetroot and walnut. If this was a starter in a restaurant, I’d be very tempted to order it. The cheese flavour with beetroot and walnut worked really well. I don’t remember what that sauce was, but it was lovely!
The ‘main’ dish – if you can call it that when there’s seven, featured Venison, pancetta, cauliflower, blackberries, onion, mushroom and a red wine sauce. The meat was soft, tender and juicy. the blackberries added a tang to the plate and really complimented the venison. Again, this was something I’d never tried before and as much as I can appreciate a good steak, I tend to opt for lighter meat when I’m out; usually chicken!
Two desserts followed. First up, the pre-dessert, Buttermilk Pannacotta which I think I devoured in a matter of seconds. A light, creamy texture with zingy bilberries and a crunchy topping. I can take my time on the savoury dishes but I always have room for dessert it seems. The Dark Chocolate Pavé with black cherry sorbet and Pistachio ice cream was absolutely incredible. Dense, rich chocolate mixed with the lighter texture of the sorbet and ice cream was such a good combination. The honeycomb leaves added an extra crunchy texture and I think it may have been the highlight of the whole showcase for me!
I really enjoyed the tasting menu, each dish was clearly thought out by award-winning chef, Andrew Wilkinson and presented in a visually pleasing way. It’s no surprise then, as you walk into the restaurant, you see ‘where food is art’ on the doorway and its true; Artisan take pride in their presentation, taste and the overall experience. Staff are attentive, knowledgeable and really helpful – even running after your lens cap when it flies off the table! (oops)
Artisan host a seasonal showcase every month with seven courses coming in just short of £40 pp which is really good value given the taste and presentation of each dish. There’s also the option to have wine to accompany the dishes which is around £25 pp. The Mulled Cider Sorbet and Spiced Crème Brûlée next month sound pretty delicious..
If seven courses doesn’t really sound like your thing, they do a Sunday Lunch which is ranked in the top 25 in the UK. I’ll have to pop along and see how their yorkshire puddings compare to others…
I was very kindly invited along to review the seasonal showcase at Artisan this month. All photos are my own and I’m pretty glad I gave duck, pheasant and venison a go! Well done if you made it all the way to the end, I know there’s a lot of photos of food above!