Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Bumpkin - Alice in Wonderland Inspired by the Seasons

I admit it, I do occasionally judge a book by its cover!  Yes, I tend to assume that Hugo Carbine-Smyth probably went to a nice university – may live South of the River – could even go home to his parents in their country pile.  Therefore, when I was invited to a blogger event at  Bumpkin 
in Chelsea – I wondered if I was wandering into a twee overprice haven for the terminally privileged.   However, I can say not only was I pleasantly surprised but pretty blown away with not only the food but also the staff (how lovely is Katia? – hope I spelt that right)

I arrived having trotted quickly through Chelsea (only getting marginally lost, due to my sense of direction which resembles a slightly dyslexic lemming) and found a restaurant which I can only describe as designed by Alice in Wonderland.  Grass inside, an adorable Gnome on the table and little glasses of Pimms which did everything but come with a dormouse and a label that said drink me.   With my events hat on, I could definitely see an afternoon tea for a select group of ladies with a few glasses of bubbles.  Maybe a haven from the football?

The Blogger event was hosted by Square Meal (which I must admit I do have a bit of a Foodie-career crush on) and we were introduced to the team as well as the Bumpkin crew.  We were then served a selection of healthy juices - I would imagine to offset the good food that was on the horizon.

Then they bravely unleashed us bloggers on the menu.  I was seated next to the delightful @gffoodie who deemed the menu good from a gluten-free perspective (they even do gluten free muffins at breakfast) and then began the debate over what to order.   Bumpkin prides itself on providing access to tasty seasonal food so I decided to go with the flow and start with Asparagus, Slow Poached Egg and Truffle although the retro crayfish cocktail looked really rather fun.

Despite a moment of food envy when I saw the Dressed Cornish crab, Avruga caviar on toast that someone else had ordered, I was utterly delighted with my choice.  The egg was perfectly poached (a feat I’ve never managed) the asparagus did credit to the season and the incredibly clever person in the kitchen had done dehydrated Tomato Skins which are probably a horrible faff but really tasty.

Katia helped us pair wine to each course and even managed to find a Chardonnay I was prepared to drink as I looked at the menu.  

Did I want the veal chop?  The Rib eye or the Short Beef Rib?    I could even have a burger or fish and chips if I was feeling retro but  I chose monk-fish and mussels in a light curry cream sauce.  I don’t often eat monk fish but as we discussed house prices and weddings (#middleclassmoments) I fancied wandering off my well-beaten track.  

The fish was perfectly cooked and the curry cream sauce light (and pretty good with one of the triple cooked chips I had nicked off someone’s portion).  The mussels were lovely but the unidentified (I think it was a piece of sweet potato) was really rather salty.  Honestly, leave it off, it’s pretty good with just the samphire to rest on.

Then came the dessert debate – I caved and chose bitter chocolate tart with honeycomb and salted caramel mousse.   Well, that was sin on a plate.  Not the type of sin, you can get away with saying a few Hail Marys to deal with, no proper decadent sin.  Although I thought the honeycomb was a little burnt but apparently when combined with the chocolate tart, it worked perfectly.  I was too busy enjoying the tart to try.

The evening finished with a glass of desert wine and quick trot back to South Kensington – avoiding the pissed and privileged.  So, would I visit again?  Would I take friends?  Would I recommend Bumpkin?  Yes, Yes and Yes – the food and atmosphere is lovely and I can’t wait to visit Alice’s boudoir again – even if I have to pay this time!


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