Wild Wild West Evening with Dean Edwards & James Tanner
In their recent Wild Wild West series on ITV’s Lorraine, Dean Edwards & James Tanner toured the West Country on a mission to seek out the very best ingredients our region has to offer. Along the way the duo documented their adventures and put together some rather tasty recipes inspired by the food they encountered. From pasties to freshly caught mackerel, Dean & James put their own unique twist on traditional South West fare and seemed to have a whole lot of fun in the process!
When we were invited along to their Wild West popup evening at The Barbican Kitchen last week, we couldn’t wait to experience these recipes firsthand. The evening – which we hear is one of many exciting collaborations to come – was comprised of three courses showcasing spectacular ingredients from the counties of Devon and Cornwall.
The Best Bread in Devon?
Before our meal we nibbled away on a basket of bread from nearby Jacka Bakery. We’ve come across Jacka’s amazing loaves on many occasions – including our recent visit to the Michelin Starred Treby Arms – so we knew we were in for a treat when our waitress revealed their origin. It may sound strange, but if you haven’t tried their bread yet you’re missing out! Their loaves are perfectly crusty on the outside and lovely and soft on the inside. They also go amazingly well with a little olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Blowtorched Cornish Mackerel
The evening got off to an extremely strong start with a starter of blowtorched mackerel with cucumber & apple elements. We both felt that the dish really showcased the brilliance of Cornish seafood, as it took a humble ingredient and elevated it to something rather special. The mackerel was perfectly cooked and the accompanying cider dressing complimented it well. Overall, the flavours were delicate and not at all ‘fishy’.
It was also great to have the opportunity to watch the chefs plate up prior to the meal. The kitchen was absolutely buzzing and Dean & James seemed to take it all in their stride. Meanwhile, we thought it was brilliant that Chris Tanner was on hand with his mobile phone to grab a couple of shots for social media! It looks like the world of food blogging might be rubbing off on the professionals…
Treacle Glazed Westcountry Pork Belly
The main event of treacle glazed pork belly, native lobster and cauliflower was just as impressive. Each plate contained an ample slice of pork belly that was soft and melted in the mouth. These were served along with strips of crunchy crackling and tender pieces of Brixham Lobster that were beautifully cooked. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t think to pair these two ingredients together; but I have to agree that there are few other ingredients that truly showcase the quality of fare that the West County has to offer.
Clotted Cream Parfait
To finish, we enjoyed a dessert inspired by the most Devonshire of ingredients: clotted cream. We watched eagerly as Dean and Chris plated up the dishes, which were comprised of creamy parfait, brightly coloured raspberries and shards of pistachio meringue. Apparently, Chris made a very similar dish for a rather large crowd over in Singapore, but for the Wild West evening they added their own fun West Country twist. As expected, the parfait proved to be very tasty. The sharpness of the raspberries cut through the sweetness of the clotted cream and the meringue pieces were just delicious.
The Barbican Kitchen never fails to impress us. During the Wild West Evening the staff are warm and attentive and the location – on Plymouth’s historic barbican – is just lovely. Dean & James were on hand throughout the evening to explain the inspiration for each course and the food that they produced on the night was fantastic. We certainly felt that they did the West Country proud and we look forward to seeing what exciting things are to come in their future collaborations!