Last week I was invited to a very special dining experience at The View at the Water's Edge in Great Linford, for The Brothers' Supper club. Hosted by MK's Chef of the Year (judged by your's truly!) Shane Clarke and his brother, Aaron, I was expecting big things from this culinary duo.
With experience at 185 Watling Street and The Swan in Milton Keynes Village under his belt, Shane is an experienced chef who was a very deserving winner of this year's title of Chef of the Year. Together with Aaron, who has experience at Church Farm Ardeley creating dishes from local produce, they have created 'The Brothers' Supper', with the aim of bringing something new and innovative to Milton Keynes. This was their second event, after having a huge success with their first!
On a hot summer evening, there couldn't have been a better choice of location than the View at the Water's Edge in Great Linford. There is a beautiful view over the lakes and as the night went on, the sunset got even more amazing! I met up with fellow MK bloggers, Amanda and Jasmine and we kicked off the evening with drink. Hot summer nights call for gin and tonic of course!
Once we were settled at our table, overlooking the setting sun, we were served with a selection of homemade bread and dips. One bread was sundried tomato, the other a seedy brown loaf. Both were beautifully baked with a nice crust. Aubergine and hummus dips accompanied the bread. My personal favourite combination was the aubergine dip with the sundried tomato bread! The aubergine dip was lightly spiced and incredibly smooth.
Our starter was tomato and basil soup topped with heirloom tomato, a black olive crumb and whipped avocado. I wish I had saved a few slices of bread for this, but to be honest I could have licked the bowl clean. The soup had a lovely rich flavour and smooth texture which contrasted really well with the texture and saltiness of the olives. The whipped avocado was unlike anything I'd really had before but provided a nice addition to the dish.
The first main course was a very visually appealing dish indeed. Church Farm lamb sat atop lime quinoa, charred corn and a red pepper puree, accompanied by sweet potato falafel. The quinoa was tender and flavoursome, matching well with the succulent lamb. The red pepper puree provided a nice spicy lift to the dish. Despite the lamb being the centrepiece of the dish, my favourite aspect was definitely the sweet potato falafel. It was crispy and so nicely flavoured - I need to try recreating this at home!
What was becoming evident throughout the evening was the attention to flavours that Aaron and Shane had. Every element of each dish worked in beautiful harmony with each other, whilst being unique. The third course was perhaps my favourite, along with the lamb. This Indian inspired dish consisted of line caught monkfish, lentil dahl, carrots, spinach and puffed rice. The monkfish was so tender - it's a really meaty fish but there was still that 'melt in the mouth' element. The lentil dahl had a nice kick, whilst the puffed rice provided some nice crunch texture to the dish.
The next course was Cotswold white chicken with farfelle (pasta), peas, broad beans, asparagus and wild garlic. The chicken breast was perhaps a little overcooked and didn't have the same 'wow' factor as the rest of the evening. I also thought this was quite a heavy main course to complete the trio. The wild garlic came through beautifully and the green veg provided the freshness needed. The addition ocrispycripsy leaf on top was a nice touch and it was presented as well as everything else.
After a few rich courses, a palate cleanser was a very welcome touch. A goblet was served with BBQ pineapple and what I could detect as a coconut and mango sorbet topped with passionfruit and coriander. This was really fresh and summery and not too heavy on the stomach. Although not everyone likes it, the fresh coriander complimented the dish surprisingly well. At this point, the sun was going down and the sky was starting to turn orange which was a perfect backdrop.
The final course was a nice rich, chocolatey dessert. Named 'The Brothers' chocolate bar', this was a very rich chocolate torte with a biscuit base. The peanut crumb provided a nice crunch to contrast the dense chocolate and the raspberry coulis added some welcome freshness. Safe to say by this point I was very satisfied!
The only thing I think would have been a great addition to the evening was a better offering of drinks. The View has its own bar, which has limited stock of wines, beers and spirits, but as a fine dining event, some more choice wines that matched the dishes would have gone down a treat.
Cost wise, this event cost £40 per person, which I think is amazing value for a six-course meal. Shane and Aaron cleverly designed the menu so that vegan/vegetarian options are accessible too.
Overall, it was a really wonderful evening. The food, company and venue couldn't have been better and it's was really great to see two young chefs doing such a good job and hosting a full-blown dining event and executing it all with such skill. With Shane's experience and Aaron's innovation, they really are a dynamic duo to watch!
*This meal was provided complimentary for review purposes, but this does not affect my honest opinion!