Dinner with friends
Pop-up restaurants. They're a fairly recent phenomenon... but one which I hadn't experienced until going with Mrs Cheoff to eat at one of the latest to appear in Healing, Grimsby.
It would have been a feast for the senses without any of the ensuing food. We found ourselves in a converted and very tastefully modernised turn of the century house. That's the turn of the twentieth century, you understand. A lovely meshing of generous original living space with terrific additions of architectural space and truly classy Modernist furniture reproductions dotted around. Of course, Modernism was finding its expression at the same time as the fabric of this house was being built in a style which looked back at the Arts and Crafts movement. So, I enjoyed seeing the two approaches side by side and 'making friends' with each other.
The kitchen is given over to completely contemporary design. There are no barriers between chef and diners. And the chef is available for a running commentary on his cooking and for relaxed chatter as our meal is prepared.
A prawn cocktail to start. I know... rather old-hat. But the dressing, with texture and flavour in abundance, elevated this beyond the realms of nostalgia and into the territory of "Why don't we do this more often?' Fab.
More good, honest elements for our main. Essentially steak and chips, but brought to us only after perfect cooking of meat to our requested finish. I went for not quite as bloody as hell! How lovely to hear the sizzle of a pan under the command of the most attentive of chefs. Spicy wedges of potato and softer succulent mushrooms just needed a few salad leaves - which duly appeared. Accomplished planning and cooking was confirmed through each mouthful of perfectly seasoned flavour.
A lemon tart was the predictable but utterly welcome finale to the meal. Deep and tangy. You can't buy this sort of excellence from Tesco (I think this one was bought at Sainsbury's!)
Deep, dark Italian wine was terrific. Coffee quality was perfectly acceptable... you know how fussy I am with my coffee!
We were now truly relaxed, well fed and smiling fairly helplessly with the whole wonderful occasion.
I've left this most devastating information until the end. I am sorry to say that unless you have two friends as generous and as accomplished and as genuine as Michele and Paul you will have to make your own arrangements... sorry. There will be further reviews of 'proper' restaurants here but, for now, I sign off with the happiest of thoughts at having those truly good people in my life.
* I won't use these pages too often to extol the virtues of such personal relationships but I couldn't resist with this one. Thank you to our favourite Healing inhabitants!