It's official, Ben Spalding is a genius. His guest residency at The Laundry ends on 1st March [update: Ben's now extending his stay until the end of March, yay] and I highly recommend paying a visit before he moves on to his next venture. Last night I was blown away by his 9-course tasting menu. First up was the BBQ chicken wing with linseeds and wild orache. I was not too proud to lick my fingers clean of that sticky, addictive glaze.
Sure, it's bread and butter, but holy moly... The Hackney Wild sourdough with sweet and salty Lincolnshire Poacher butter (on the hunt for more now) went down a treat with my fellow diners. Though we wanted to leave room for following courses, we couldn't resist reaching back for more.
The next dish was poached and roasted pink fir potatoes, apricot creme fraiche, sprout leaves, hotdog onions (yeah baby) and Holy Fuck sauce. Believe me, this sauce by The Rib Man is aptly named.
I was intrigued to find out what the 'hot and cold soup' on the menu was. This dish was innovative and delicious – hot butternut squash, ginger and parsnip soup with cold garam masala cream cheese, pumpkin seeds and sticky red onion jam. Discovering a layer at a time was ace.
Isle of Skye scallop cooked in lots of butter, puy lentils, smoked back jam and watermelon molasses. Even more gorgeous than the plate it was served on.
A perfectly-fried Burford Brown egg with toasted cashews, Medjool dates, fennel, 14-month old kimchi and raw smoked honey. I may have scraped up every last crumb.
Whipped tuna with anchovy, frozen beetroot and pomegranate molasses. No cutlery; just leaves of crisp lettuce to scoop up the whip!
Cured and poached salmon with toasted almonds, pickled ginger, overripe mango and iced lettuce.
Lamb neck, half butter half ratte potato mash, purple sprouting broccoli and Sicilian blood orange served with a carafe of gravy. What a stunner of a dish.
Dessert part 1 was the maple cream cheese, oatmeal, roasted carrot puree and iced lemon thyme – my oh my...
...and dessert part 2 was nostalgic malt loaf topped with crispy sweet pastry, creme fraiche ice cream and burnt caramel ice cream. I could've eaten a whole vat of this.
Thank you to chef Ben, the folk at The Laundry, and Margaret for organising a fantastic night! Disclaimer – I was invited to this dinner as a guest. All views are my own.