Harrods food hall, perched at a marble counter, watching Tom Kerridge cook a selection of his most acclaimed dishes under your very nose. It’s not just your dream come true, it’s his too. Tom tells us about visiting the food halls as a child and gazing around in wonder, and now the public are doing the same, but it’s Kerridge himself everyone hopes to catch a glimpse of.
I’m lucky enough to see the two Michelin-starred chef in action at the grill as he celebrates the launch of his new book Tom’s Table: My Favourite Everyday Recipes by preparing a three course set menu with wine and beer pairing.
The menu includes favourites from his books and two restaurants, The Hand & Flowers and The Coach. To start, a dish from the Hand & Flowers. A jewel of feather-light duck-liver parfait rests on sticky, tangy orange chutney and spreads over a slice of brioche like silk.
Fortunately I am on good enough terms with my neighbour to also try some of the famous Crispy pig’s head, on the menu at The Coach, which is a soft, textured, meaty croquette with sweet date sauce that surpasses all expectations.
For main it has to be the venison chilli with puffed rice and dark chocolate from Tom’s Table (paired with a stunning Malbec). The dish is a wonderful fusion of deep velvety flavours, enhanced only by a side of golden, crunchy-yet-fluffy triple-cooked chips that has everyone holding out their empty bowls to Kerridge Oliver-style, begging for more.
Dessert is chocolate & ale mousse with salted caramel & frosted pecans, coupled with a bottle of Old Engine Oil black ale. The whole affair is intensely dark and syrupy, with the marrying flavours of chocolate, ale, caramel and nut forming an extremely rich but wholly welcome denouement to the meal.
It would be easy for any chef to be carried away under such circumstances, with the entirety of the Harrods kitchens and a pick of his best sous chefs at his disposal. Yet not once do you forget that you are part of Tom’s very own Table as he carefully crafts a beef fillet or meticulously fashions an orb of purée onto your plate, all the while sharing a laugh with his team or his captivated customers.
The grandeur of the food hall and Kerridge’s relaxed kitchen presence makes for a winning combination. What could be better than the charm of a pub environment in England’s most exclusive dining room?
Catch Kerridge continue as Chef of the Season at Harrods and taste his contemporary take on a Christmas menu in the Food Hall from Thursday 12th November. Click here for Tom’s beer can chicken recipe
Words – Rosie Cassels