People of the internet. Please be upstanding. Not literally, you can stay on your sofa. But I’m about to show you the most epic meal I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
We’re talking nine courses of delicious, innovative pork dishes (veggies and vegans – sorry guys, this probably isn’t one for you!). The Cubitt House group, who have four boutique pub and dining venues across London, are hosting a series of Feast of Beasts events, showcasing the best of British meat and produce. Previous sessions have covered pies and beef, and there’s one more event to come in November, focusing on game (check out their website and social for ticket info!).
One of the Cubitt House venues is The Orange, where our ‘Nose to Tail’ banquet took place. The evening was hosted by The Orange’s Executive Chef Leigh Hartnett, alongside supplier Mark Leatham, from Lyons Hill Farm – who provided the very pork we were eating.
After a glass (or two) of fizz, we took our seats in the beautiful dining room, and prepared for one MAJOR feast!
If there’s something this gal’s a big fan of, it’s a charcuterie board. It reminds me of Christmas Day dinner, always, when the mix and match meats and cheeses come out and everyone stuffs themselves to bursting.
This charcuterie board was a lot fancier than your festive roule and turkey leftovers though. Those big crunchy bits on top? Crispy pig skin. They basically have the consistency of a prawn cracker, and the taste of the best pork crackling you’ve ever had. Crunch, crunch.
But by far and away the star feature of the charcuterie was the rillette. Don’t worry, I didn’t know what rillette was either – it’s a pâté type dish, where meat is finely shredded into the fat to form a paste. Smeared all over fresh onion bread rolls, it was INCREDIBLE. It took all of my willpower to let other people have a taste…
From The Trough (Starters)
The first (of three!) starters was a pork pie – definitely the best pork pie I’ve ever had. The pumpkin and quince puree served with it was rich and wonderfully autumnal.
Second up was crispy pig’s head. If I’m honest, I was expecting an ACTUAL pig’s head to be plonked down on the table, ears and eyes and all – but instead, we were served pork cheek coated in bubbles of crispy skin, which gave the whole dish an amazing mix of textures. Inside the skin pops, a small amount of sherbert (!) gave this dish an unusually sweet and vibrant kick. And if that wasn’t inventive enough, it was served with savoury popcorn along with the more conventional sweetcorn.
Finally, to end the first leg of our banquet, was the Trotter. Honestly – I wasn’t a big fan of the skin on the trotter itself, but the inside was just glorious. Made up of meat and offal, with cep mushrooms and elderberries mixed in to the mince-like filling. Once I’d got over how the dish looked and got to what was inside, it was a winner.
Pluma is the shoulder section of the pig – and it was served up simply cut, pink in the centre and wonderfully tender. Broiled in miso, it had amazing flavour – and that’s coming from someone who’s not the world’s biggest miso lover. The Jerusalem artichokes served on the side were cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of crunch
Finally, to the belly – and yep, it’s as good as it looks. I’m running out of adjectives to describe these courses, I swear – but it held its own in a meal that was already absolutely bowling me over. And filling me up…a lot…
The Main Event
After a mouthful of apple sorbet (v. apple-y and sharp, FYI) to cleanse our palates, the main course arrived. As if we hadn’t eaten enough already, eh? The pork ribs were so soft and tender they legitimately fell off the bone (I mean that, I nearly dropped mine in my wine glass). My only slight complaint was the large amount of fat still on them – I’m not a huge meat-fat-eater, so stuck to the more meaty parts.
And honestly, I was so full, I didn’t even get to the butternut squash side. But I’ve been informed it was also delicious!
Dessert & Sweet Treats
Good job there’s a separate belly for the sweet stuff, hey? Because, as expected, the dessert was something to savour. Delicious lardy cake the and apple pudding were sweet and more-ish.
Alas, the black pudding ice cream (I KNOW) really wasn’t to my taste – my distaste for black pudding in general yet to be cured – but you kinda have to applaud the innovative thinking behind it. It genuinely really did taste just like black pudding, in ice cream form!
Finally (!), the team delivered us a last treat – four small bites, including a bacon smore, and a maple bacon fudge. Both amazing, and both actually in the shape of a pig. SO cute.
The whole evening was basically SERIOUS indulgence. It was all about really enjoying the food, and I got to chat to some great people thanks to the banquet-style seating. Everything was so well-presented, with amazing flavours and super friendly staff.
Wanna know the amazing part? Tickets for the entire banquet, including all food and drink, were just £70. SEVENTY QUID. Seriously, I definitely had more than that amount in drinks ALONE. The whole point of these evenings are for Cubitt House and The Orange to show off their fresh ingredients, and super talented chefs. And they sure as hell managed that.
37-39 Pimlico Rd, Belgravia, SW1W 8NE
*Meal was complimentary, opinions (and MAJOR eating skills) all my own…