Pigeon with chocolate and cherries. What??? Yes, that unlikley concoction greeted me in the lovely little harbour town of Fowey in Cornwall for today’s lunch.
Breaking all my self-imposed rules about fruit with meat (chocolate with meat was so unlikley I hadn’t even formed a prejudice about that possibility) I gave this unorthodox dish a try during the first day of this foodie adventure to that most inspiring culinary region of the UK – the south west.
After a somewhat stormy flight from Manchester to Newquay, I’ve checked into the picture postcard coastal town of Fowey for the night. Sustained by nothing more than an Alpen cereal bar (£1) on the pane it was two hungry northerners who turned up for a late lunch.
Spotting the tell-tale signs of a top eaterie (chef’s ego not only demonstrated in the name of the restaurant, but backed up by flags erected outside) we got into the dying moments of the lunch service at Restaurant Nathan Outlaw.
This is the workplace, theatre, magicians’ liar or however you want to see it of the chef by the same name who, at just 30 years old, has managed to net two Michelin stars.
He prides himself on using the best local produce and especially on championing ingredients which have fallen from favour or been cast aside by fashion.
A sneaky glance through the kitchen window confirmed that he was actually in residence (in a remarkably calm looking cooking environment) so we set to giving the menu a bit of a test drive.
There was light crisp plaice and goujon with a surprisingly sweet mustard and caper sauce, there was black bream with the softest paprika smoked gnocchi, the most flavoursome lamb and smooth, smooth potato, melting chocolate and mouth exploding passion fruit jelly petit fours.
And then there was that pigeon. It worked. It really did. The crispness of the skin, the sweet denseness of the meat with the fleshy cherries given depth by the chocolate. It was the sort of memorable dish that Michelins are made of.
So the first meal of day one of this exploration has set a standard which may be hard to live up to – more blogging to come.
Keep up with pictures from the trip at my Flickrstream or follow me at Twitter. Any hints, tips or suggestions of venues to visit over the next couple of days gratefully received.