Sunday, 28 January 2018

A private dining experience with La Belle Assiette


I know the phrase is often over used, but I can't believe how quickly this month has gone! It only seems like yesterday that Holly was trying to organise a date for Pam, Vicki, Kat, Georgie, Fiona and I to have dinner at hers. We'd settled on a date in mid-January and received a very exciting message from Holly to say that La Belle Assiette had got in touch with her to ask if she'd like to try their private dining experience; having a chef to your house to cook you a four course meal.

UM, YES PLEASE.

This was last Sunday, and could not have come at a better time. I'd broken my dry January streak, and was hungover and in need of a lot of food. Cue, La Belle Assiette who'd sent an Italian chef to cook us four courses of pure deliciousness.

I've only had one private chef experience before, and that was a sushi making experience so very interactive. This was pure indulgence, very very decadent. It's definitely a great way to have people over and not worry about timings and cooking and plating up etc. An ideal way to celebrate a special birthday. We could just chill out and let Giorgio do his thing.

Of course, the whole evening was made so much more glamorous as it took place in Holly's incredible house, and I couldn't wait to catch up with everyone.



Whilst we were chatting away, Giorgio brought over some warm focaccia and encouraged us to help ourselves. Well, I didn’t need telling twice. Three hunks in and a glass of prosecco later, I was feeling a lot less hungover and even more excited about the four courses to come...

As you all know by now I’ve been trying to reduce my meat consumption for environmental reasons (bla bla), so I was really intrigued to taste the menu. Italian food is up there for me and an absolute favourite (I blogged waaay back about Rome being one of the best places I’ve been to). The veggie options on the menu did not disappoint. It was amazing. So tasty - I didn’t feel like I missed out at all, contrary to other veggie options I’ve experienced, where you feel like you’ve been given the second best option.

Giorgio explained this food was from Veneto region, and I started with:

Wild mushrooms on a soft polenta bramata
Dried broad-bean croquettes (amazing).



The non-veggie started looked amazing too, with cuttlefish and sardines (I might have had a cheeky mouthful or two...).

Primo Piatto

I’d forgotten it was four courses and so presumed this MASSIVE risotto was our main course. Wow. This was incredible. I had risotto vialone nano with radicchio de treviso and carnia mezzano stravecchio cheese. The non-veggie was garlic chilli, crab and clams, which sounded amazing.


As I say, I thought this was the main (probably due to chatting away and not paying full attention- sorry Giorgio!) - the portion sizes were absolutely admirable. I would have this again in a heartbeat, it was so full of flavour, which I think can often be hard with cheesy dishes. It was rich, but not so rich that I felt too full.

Palette cleanser

Sgroppino: lemon sorbet and prosecco

This was fresh, light and nicely whipped.



Secondo piatto

I then had a fennel gratin for main. Now, this was interesting as I would never ever have chosen this, but it’s opened my eyes for sure. The best I can describe this is like a 'lighter' version of a veggie lasagne? The fennel was layered with a cheesy sauce and baked, with crispy breadcrumbs on top. The runner bean side and tomato stew was lovely, too. The non-veggie option was salted cod- and again looked very good.





Dessert



Now. I need to be honest here. I really dislike sponge based desserts. The thought of sticky toffee pudding makes me feel queasy and so when I found out that tiramisu was the dish of the day for us, I was like ‘ah’.

WELL. Let me say how sorry I am I even doubted this. It was one of the nicest desserts I’ve ever had. Ever. A huge wafer basket with super thin spongy layers and a generous dollop of a sweet, cream sauce- it was divine. Despite being so full, I managed to work fit in somewhere - and I am so glad I did.


Holly - thank you so much for an amazing evening, it was so nice to catch up with the girls and wow, La Belle Assiette, thank you for providing the most decadent Sunday evening I’ll have in a long, long while - I would highly recommend.


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