Food profile - Simon Rogan at the French tasting menu
- Credit: Paul Adams
Simon Rogan at the French whips up a menu that would win over any Euro sceptic, writes Janet Reeder
The chance to have the Michelin starred Simon Rogan cook for you at the Midland French in Manchester is something rather special, so when I was invited along with Cheshire Life editor Louise Taylor to a sample an eight course tasting menu at this renowned restaurant the answer was a decisive mais oui!
I decided to stay over at the Midland – racing for the train would only spoil what was destined to be a memorable experience – and changed into my posh frock in a large comfortable room on the fifth floor before heading down to the chic, contemporary environs of The French.
We sipped on a delightful alternative to our usual glass of champagne, an English sparkling rose and sampled a lone beetroot leaf amuse bouche dotted with a beetroot reduction of such intensity it was quite incredible.
Beetroot leaves made an appearance in the first of eight courses, accompanied by a fermented cabbage prawn puff, cured ham, a heavenly whipped broad bean and egg yolk. The egg had been slow cooked and often I find these horrible slimy things but this worked almost like a buttery sauce bringing everything on the plate together in one fabulous whole.
Matching wines accompanied every course with the Sequillo from Swartland on the west side of Cape Town a major highlight, packing loads of sunshine flavours that made the dish even more spectacular.
Abalone mushrooms with frozen oyster, lettuce heart in smoked beef broth and a vegetarian version in an onion broth. The fermented abalone mushroom was quite phenomenal as it was paired with the freezing cold oyster. We adored the clean oriental flavours as much as the stunning look of the dish.
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Special mention has to be made of the bread we had to start the meal and about halfway through the tasting menu. Whipped butter, salty on the tongue, crisp white rolls, then later an ale bread which came with a bone marrow infused butter which all had the wow factor the humble loaf does not usually possess.
Carroll’s potatoes smoke curds, broccoli tomato and marigold was complimented by a delicious tokkai. The meat version had a tomato base, aged veal on top and anchovy puree, it’s success dependent really on whether you can stomach the idea of veal.
A dish of delicately poached halibut complimented by a raw salmon roe finished with nasturtium butter looked almost too pretty to eat.
In contrast the Herdwick lamb loin with spinach and smoked cherry, goats cheese and sweet woodruff had the sort of robust flavours that had man appeal written all over it.
Iced artichoke, walnut and butterscotch sounds bizarre as a dessert but this was definitely a sweet treat and the preserved gooseberries with mint and meadowsweet were intense little bursts of summer that rounded everything off perfectly.
The tasting menu at The Midland French costs from £65.
The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, M60 2DS 0161 932 4198, www.the-french.co.uk