Flora dinner by Dan Doherty

A few months ago we dined at a pop up by Chateau Marmot, hosted in our local area. Despite loving the food, we thought it was kind of overpriced and thought we’d not go to another one of their events. Yet when I saw a tweet advertising a two-days pop up special hosted once again in Waterloo by Dan Doherty, I immediately bought two tickets. I couldn’t resist as Dan is one of my favourite chefs, and well, it doesn’t happen often that chefs like him cook within walking distance from our house.

The event theme sounded also interesting enough: Flora, the name of the dinner, part of a Super Nature string of similar dining experiences. Flora in particular, would be focused on British flowers and herbs. It was once again a pricey thing, this time however matching wines would be included on full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95.”

full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf
full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf
full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf

full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf

full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf

full eight courses, a journey of specially selected matched wines and spirits is included in the ticket price of just £95. – See more at: http://chateaumarmot.co.uk/post/88567200921/supernature-flora-fl-with-dan-doherty#sthash.n6RCn30l.dpuf


We picked the first slot of the second day for 18.30, while the second was going to be 9pm. I did not think much of the time limit when I booked and mainly worried about the dog at home alone, hence booking the first sitting. 

The venue was an architects’ practice in a side street really a stone’s throw from ours. On the hottest weekend of the year so far, I am sure it was pretty challenging for Dan and his chefs, as it was challenging enough for us diners! 
Two tables, each supposedly hosting only 8 diners (supposedly as this was what was advertised, but there were more than 8 people at the table behind us), were laid out pretty spaciously (although the chairs were incredibly uncomfortable). 

Our first dish was a very enjoyable amuse bouche made of a radish, malt granola and yogurt. This was served with an equally refreshing cocktail of Calem white port, jade dragon infusion, butter almond and tonic. It was delightful. 


The first course Dan created was Charred Leek, squid ink and fermented garlic mayo, Scottish lobster, sea buck thorn, fennel pollen. it looked beautiful, and was a great opener, the lobster so delicate, and I loved the contrast with the bright buck thorn. Paired with this, a white Le Close Saint-Pierre Caon Charnay. @bmcboy wasn’t convinced, but I quite enjoyed it. 


The second course was Smoked eel, sea vegetable, horseradish & malt vinegar jelly, creme fraiche. Dan introduced it very personally mentioning his dad used to eat jellied eel, a traditional (and a bit slimey!) London’s staple. I am used to eel too, as they are eaten at Xmas on Neapolitan tables. Dan’s version was so delicate, it reminded me of mackerel. Small pieces of smoked fish, paired with strong vinegar jelly which broke off the fattiness of the flesh. This came paired with a champagne, small grower Jean Comyn Harmonie. 


Next we had Hens egg, broad beans and their flowers, bottarga, Cornish caviar, meadowsweet. The bottarga was well balanced and added texture and saltiness to a fairly substantial dish, where the egg was slow cooked and retained all its intensity.
A Juan Gil Moscatel Seco from Spain was the wine chosen for this dish.

Yet the best course for me was probably theDuroc pork, artichokes, kentish hops, English peas, corn shoots. The pork had been cooked for 15 hours, it was so tender and delicate, not at all fatty as pork can often be; the artichokes (from Rome) were a great complement to the meat, it was fantastic. A red from Italy, really nice, was the wine paired : Basile Comandante.

Dessert time! my favourite was the first one – not only it was visually beautiful, but an interesting mix of flavours, from the chewy, chocolatey brownie to the sour goats curd, and the striking pink merengue slices: Chocolate, Essex beetroot, violets, welsh goats curd was delicious. 

The following dessert was just as lovely: Lemon curd, London elderflower wine, shortbread, sorrel. The only problem I had is that I am into a freaky fitness mode now and I could not eat it all, as it had a fair amount of cream in the curd, yet it had a subtle lemon flavour and the elderflower wine was such an aromatic, flowery addition. For the desserts, we had a glass of Francois Voyer Pineau des Charentes. 

By the time we had finished the curd, we were pretty much asked to leave – it was nearly 9pm and there was already a bunch of people for the second sitting waiting outside. Of course, this wasn’t ideal as we barely had a chance to say goodbye to our fellow diners and we were ushered out.

I thought the food Dan produced was fantastic. I loved the creativity of it and some of the very unusual ingredients and flavours’ combination. Dan introduced each single dish individually which was a good opportunity to hear more about the thought process behind each dish directly from him. The dishes were unusual and in my opinion quite different from what he produces at Duck & Waffle.

My problems with the Flora dinner are, as per my previous Chateau Marmot experience, related to the logistics and the price. The chairs were incredibly uncomfortable; the meal had been sold as ‘full 8 courses’ which in fact, were 6 + 1. I was also offered a substantial discount via twitter on the ticket price a week prior to the event, but of course I had already bought the tickets, so I felt quite stupid at that point. I do not criticise for a second the quality of the food which was of very high standard (as it was on the previous dinner I attended), but I cannot help feeling short changed.

It is a shame because Chateau Marmot surely has a lot of passion for the food they create with some really good chefs indeed. I did pass my feedback directly to them but in the end we ‘agreed to disagree’ on various points; I was told for example, that there were 8 courses but they were ‘plated up’ together. No idea when/where, though. 

Unless they engage another one of my favourite chefs, I doubt I will be returning to one of their events, sadly.


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