Hi-Life Gourmet Dinner

Oxtail and cod? Not often seen together but are they good plate mates? This main course (pictured) cod.jpg
of seared organic cod with oxtail ravioli and celery proved to be a real talking point at last night’s gourmet dinner in the city’s swish Harvey Nichols.
Was it a combination created in some far off cuisine?
Was it a re-invention of “surf and turf”? Talking afterwards to Alison Seagrave, the Heywood-born chef who presented this brave concoction to the Hi Life Diners Club members, she explained that the menu had developed from one which initially featured turbot.
Her desire to include the excellent organic cod she’d sourced from the Shetlands with something essentially regional in the oxtail led to the dish presented.
So did it work? Well the sweet and deep tones of the oxtail were overpowering but the fleshy texture of the fish did add something to the overall experience. Garnering opinions around the gathering, it did seem that the jury was still out. It was certainly memorable but the true star of the evening was the smoked Lancashire double baked soufflé (pictured). souffle.jpg
The smell of it alone had the entire restaurant swooning and the soft, oozing interior was ample reward. The accompanying 2004 Domaine Nigri wine surprisingly hit the perfect note by completely matching up to the Branston pickle sauce.
If the meal had been a performance it would certainly have received calls for an encore.And if the soufflé was the star, then this interpretation of that old standard the Manchester Tart (pictured) was the endearing child carrying the bouquet of flowers.mantart.jpg
Looking like a mini Angel of the North in the company of a Fraggle, it was guaranteed to raise a smile. Every element of the childhood favourite was there – the sponge in the tower, the jammy sauce, the coconut in the icre-cream and banana – it was up to the diner to gather it all together. Inspired indeed and all the better for its perfect partner of a red dessert wine Lusteau from the Jerez region of Spain.
This locally inspired theme continued into the petit fours (pictured) with the tiniest, melt-in-your-mouth Eccles cakes and Bakewell tarts rounding off the evening.petit.jpg
Hi Life Diners Club holds gourmet evenings for members throughout the year.

Harvey Nichols 2nd Floor Restaurant is at Exchange Square. Manchester. Tel: 0161 828 8898.

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