21 Nov 2010

A seat at Charlie and Evelyn's Table

When it comes to food, never (well, maybe sometimes) be afraid to try something new. On Saturday night I attended a dinner with a difference. Edinburgh’s first private dining club has been running for nearly a year, and since all of the weekend events are sold out until 2011, I feel lucky to have gotten a seat (thanks to a cake obsessed friend with her pulse on any eccentric foodie events going in Edinburgh).

This is Charlie and Evelyn’s Table, run by husband and wife team Chris and Rachel. Charlie and Evelyn are Chris’ grandparents. They are the ones who bought the table at which the guests dine and Chris and Rachel have named their food-loving venture in their honour.

I love the concept of two people who love to cook wanting to share their passion with others. Even more I love how they don’t let the lack of a grand kitchen or restaurant seating stop them from getting their dreams off the ground.

I always look to restaurants to inspire my own cooking. This was an opportunity to see how Chris and Rachel would interpret seasonal cooking in Scotland (and look for ideas I could nick).

There were wee canapés served on homemade oat biscuits and a little mug of mushroom heavy soup, which made me think of how versatile simple foods can be.

Later there came the potato and cabbage pancakes to accompany the pheasant (November is pheasant season in Scotland), and my mind swirled with ways to give that refined edge to my own rustic style of cooking.
Some may think it odd to go to dinner in a stranger’s home and sit at a table with even more strangers. At the start, it was. But by the time the main course was served the conversation was flowing easily.

Because the room was subtly lit, taking photos was difficult so it was decided I would turn the main light on momentarily. This brought on a good natured chorus of “aaaahhh” and “my eyes,” which broke the ice a little further.

The dessert was a melting chocolate risotto. Melting. Chocolate Risotto. Served with this was a shot of melted white chocolate goodness, to pour over the melting chocolate risotto. I don’t know what country this comes from. I don’t care. All I know is I never used to like risotto and now I think it is marvellous.
It was a unique and memorable evening. I had gone there hoping to be inspired and I certainly was. I also got a chance to peruse their collection of cookbooks and have added a new title to my wish list. I shall have to have a word with Santa…

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