Thursday 9 July 2015

Chablis & Geology at The Chancery - An evening of Vegetarian fine dining

Courgette flower tempura, smoked yoghurt and confit tomato 

Head to The Chancery for exquisite modern European fine dining...

At an evening themed "Chablis and Geology" held at The Chancery recently, guests were invited by sommelier and master of ceremonies, Douglas Blyde, to "explore the flavours in geology via handmade renditions of the unique, mineral-laden, chilled conduit of Chablis partnered with the pristine, specially-devised plates of young gun chef, Graham Long".

Having earlier informed them of my preference for the vegetarian meal, I was presented with this tantalising menu:

Courgette flower tempura smoked yoghurt and confit tomato 
2012 Garnier & fils, Grains Dorés
2014 Louis Moreau

Chablis 1er Cru
Warm salad of new season beans parmesan and summer truffle
2011 Jean-Marc Brocard, Montée de Tonnere
2012 Val de Mercy, Beauregards

Chablis Grand Cru
Vadouvan spiced spätzle with charred fennel, white peach and amaretti 
2012 William Fevre, Les Clos
2013 Samuel Billaud, Les Preuses

Mature Chablis
Selection of cheeses, Neal's Yard Dairy
2003 Domaine Pinson, Chablis Premier Cru Fôrets

Upon arrival, guests were greeted with appetizers of truffle arancini (and crab beignet) paired with Petit Chablis, before moving on to the private dining room.

My first course (main picture) arrived; freshly picked courgette flowers coated lightly in a tempura batter, fried to a crisp, golden brown, served with smoked balls of yoghurt and slow roasted tomatoes. Later over a phone interview, Chef Long explains that Greek-style yoghurt is smoked over wood chips, piped into round spheres then hung in muslin overnight, allowing the liquid to drain resulting in firm balls of smoked yoghurt.

Mini yellow and green globes dot the plate, and it turns out they are simply courgette pieces created using a mini melon baller. A refreshing take on courgettes, indeed, and an inspirational dish for all of us grower-types who will inevitably need as much motivation and encouragement as possible when the glut of courgettes is upon us.

Next, I'm presented with a warm salad of new season broad beans, fine beans, white beans, runner beans served with a deliciously salty miso and white bean puree and topped with a toasted parmesan and brioche crumble.

Between courses, our sommelier, Douglas, continued to impress us with his knowledge of Chablis, Kimmeridgean soil, minerality and the Left and Right banks in this fascinating wine region, gliding effortlessly along the grand dining table as he spoke. I found myself intrigued, fascinated by the soil on which the Chablis vineyards grew which was described as rich in fossils of Exogyra virgula, a small, "finger nail sized" oyster. This terroir, it turns out, is what gives Chablis wines it's mineralistic characteristics.

And finally, the Vadouvan spiced spätzle is served. White peaches are submerged in Sauternes using the compression process allowing the fruit to fully absorb the liquid. Spätzle dough pieces are fried with butter, marsala and Vadouvan spices. The fennel is charred.

Graham Long at The Chancery

“Great food starts with great produce and what is around you. That’s all that is needed to create something exceptional." - Graham Long

Chef Graham Long joined The Chancery as Head Chef in late 2014. His modern European, seasonal menus showcase the skills he has acquired over the years working at Pied à Terre in London and at St Betty in Hong Kong.

Salad of heirloom tomatoes
For those of us eagerly awaiting to harvest homegrown heirloom tomatoes this summer, Chef Long suggests serving in the simplest way possible to fully savour the flavours of the vine ripened tomatoes. Simply cut into bite sized pieces, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and season salt and pepper.

Noticing wild garlic on the menu, I ask Chef Long where it is sourced from and he speaks passionately about how a forager he works closely with, helps to replenish the kitchen with seasonal produce, picking coastal herbs like sea purslane and sea cabbage, wild flowers like Hawthorne with it's almond marzipan flavours and in the autumn, wild Alexanders which impart the taste of celery.

Even before I've hung up the phone, I'm already thinking to myself that I have to return for the 7 course vegetarian menu.

The Chancery is at No.9 CURSITOR ST. LONDON EC4A 1LL
The evening was hosted by Sopexa
Sommelier and Master of ceremonies : Douglas Blyde

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