Meet Shona, our WeFiFo food blogger based in London. We sent Shona on a night of culinary splendour with professional chef Ronnie Murray and iconic events company Camm & Hooper at the beautiful Six Storeys venue in London.
I get excited when seasons start, food seasons that is. Right now, I’m excited for asparagus and jersey royals, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out Camm and Hooper were hosting a six course dinner with cocktail pairing, all of it containing asparagus, including the drinks, at Six Storeys.
After climbing all six storeys, the sight of Kevin, the head booze engineer, was extremely welcome. We started with infused strawberry and basil vodka jelly with Moët. It is clear that they take their cocktails very seriously and, throughout the night, Kevin took us through each drink and how he arrived at the final list. This is a man very devoted to his job. Ronnie, the executive chef, popped down with a cheeky extra canapé of asparagus tips, wrapped in his own recipe smoked salmon.
We climb one final flight to the study, a gorgeous room with great views, although it was quite chilly. Our next drink was my favourite of the night, a Martini made with asparagus, red pepper and blueberry infused vodka. It had a beautiful, sweet warmth from the red pepper and an earthiness we’d see in all the drinks from the asparagus.
Ronnie talked through each dish as it was served and, I have to say, the team were brilliant all night, very funny, all round great hosts.
We started with scrumpy fried asparagus with a saffron mayo, dusted in nori salt. So good, lovely light, crunchy batter and rich, velvety mayo. If there was more, I’d totally have eaten them.
The soup course was served chilled with a splash of chervil cream which we were encouraged to mix in before eating. It was silky smooth, fresh as a spring night but with a little backnote of aniseed from the chervil.
Salad was simple and perfect for it. Asparagus purée with herbs, broad beans and peas, also just, just peaking into season. I love peas, I have been known to eat whole bags in the summer. I digress, to add a little naughtiness to the mix are cubes of keens cheddar, panèd not just in bread crumbs but also more cheese. Ronnie described this as crack and it’s easy to see why, it was very moreish. But if that was crack what was to come was crystal meth, the kind of food you find yourself daydreaming about.
Not to forget Kevin, we had an infused, seasonal salad gin based cocktail with an asparagus and Cointreau foam which was a little sweet for me but my date’s favourite of the night. Actually, I wish I’d tried the gin on its own. It is, literally, infused with salad ingredients and I bet it would be excellent with tonic and, maybe, a cucumber garnish.
For the main, we had an asparagus, elderflower, rhubarb and lemon granita that was sharp and sherbetty. With this came white asparagus and some beautiful pistachio salami. Atop the asparagus sat a cloud of aerated chicken hollandaise. The intensity of flavour, like the sticky bits on the side of the roast, was in contrast to the lightness of texture. I suspect it’s to lull you into a false sense of security so you don’t feel the heart attack take you. For this, I’d take the heart attack every time. There was also shavings of truffle but it paled in comparison to the hollandaise.
I was brought back from heaven with dessert which, for me, didn’t hit the spot. A jelly of asparagus and basil with black pepper strawberries. But then it’s quite an achievement getting asparagus into every dish. We finished with the booziest of the cocktails, a kind of take on an espresso martini with bourbon and a Bourbon biscuit infused in it. It’s not one for the faint hearted.
Finally, we were given plates of asparagus and fondue. Ronnie worried we might have nightmares. After a night like this, all I’d be dreaming about was that chicken hollandaise.
Written by Shona ODonnell, 3rd May 2019