Sometimes in this industry, you come across talented chefs flying under the radar. But in these particular circumstances, the talent came to us.
Lily O’Donoghue has worked as a professional chef for around eight years, gaining experience everywhere from country house hotels to Michelin starred kitchens. She contacted the Devon Foodie to invite us along to her pop-up at Twenty Seven by Jamie Rogers, in Kingsbridge. Jamie allowed Lily to use his restaurant space for the evening; offering guests an entirely new experience. For her part, Lily chose to bring together an all-female kitchen and front of house team to showcase her unique take on an Asian-inspired tasting menu.
Homemade Bread & Celeriac & Sesame Soup
To whet our appetites at the start of the meal, we were served a crisp tartlet of broccoli and Stilton. This was closely followed by a first course of Celeriac & Sesame Soup accompanied by homemade breads. Lily is particularly good at baking bread and both the onion & thyme and the brioche loaves were very moorish.
Wild Garlic, Jersey Royal & Mushroom (main image)
The second course of our Asian-inspired tasting menu was our favourite. A singular smoked jersey royal potato was placed on a decorative plate, along with elements of mushroom and sauces that perfectly complemented the dish. The dish particularly stood out due to its unique presentation, however, our only complaint was that there was only one potato. A couple more would have been an excellent way to mop up the rest of those delicious sauces.
Salt Cod & Summer Veg
Dish two of the evening contained perfectly cooked medallions of tasty cod with dices of fresh vegetable. This was served with a velvety yet slightly sharp sauce.
Duck Beetroot & Chervil Root
A reoccurring theme with Lily’s dishes are her excellently executed sauces and this main dish was no exception. The duck meat was cooked beautifully and the silky sauce paired particularly well with it.
Blueberry, Apple & Shisho
The first of three sweeter dishes came in the form of a light blueberry mouse inside a crisp shell of meringue, topped with blueberries and frozen apple and shisho (which belongs to the mint family). Overall this was a nicely balanced dish, as the mouse itself was not overly sweet, but the meringue was pleasantly sweet and the frozen apple and shisho added a slight tartness.
Miso Rice & Ginger
We’re fans of a good soufflé, so we were happy when this course arrived at the table. However, the jury is still out on this particular course. The soufflé was beautifully cooked and the ginger ice cream was tasty, but the saltiness of the miso didn’t quite work alongside the rest.
Our tasting course was brought to a conclusion with a small selection of well made petit fours, including matcha tea and a hazelnut
Our thoughts on Lily O’Donoghue’s pop-up
Lily and her all-female team really did themselves proud during the evening service. We have no doubt that Lily will go on to be a great chef, especially if her sauces and her breadmaking skills are anything to go by. Lily is both talented and open to constructive criticism in order to further enhance and hone her skills. With a few minor tweaks here and there, she’s going to be one to watch!