I am not ashamed to admit that Chateau Marmot was perhaps the coolest event I have ever been to. A pop up restaurant in a secret location in Leeds, Chateau Marmot describes itself thus:
Chateau Marmot is all about bringing the creativity and excitement of fine dining to an unexpected location near you, minus the stuffy atmosphere. Starch should be on potatoes, not table cloths.
Preach. Only open for three days, it was a fairly inexpensive and novel way to spend a Friday night! It was £28pp for a five course tasting menu, created by chef Miles Dupree, and we opted for the complementary tasting wines selected by ex-Decanter editor Roz Cooper, for an extra £14pp. And what a bargain it was!
Arriving on Friday night to what looked like an abandoned building in a dodgy part of town, I really was not sure what to expect. We eventually found our way in through the back door, and were greeted by a tiny weeny kitchen, a handful of tables and quite a few fairy lights.
My beautiful dining companions, Michelle & Helena
My amazing Dalmatian print trousers and a glimpse at the kitchen (it really was tiny!)
I'll admit to never having experienced fine dining before, but if it is always as delicious as the food at Chateau Marmot then I can definitely get involved! The five courses were all small but perfectly formed, a little like yours truly ;). I'll let the photos speak for themselves:
Brie wrapped in a vine leaf, served with fresh fig, a little slice of toast and home-made truffle honey. We were told that the organisers were 'very excited' about this exclusive Yorkshire brie - these are my people! Served with a lovely Australian Pinot Noir.
This was my favourite course, a braised beef cheek (so tender!) with spicy red miso, seaweed salad and a mackerel foam. Paired with a beautiful Spanish rose wine (I was the only rose fan at the table, but all enjoyed it!). Plus foam! I always see it on Masterchef, but have never had it, it was certainly a novel experience. Question: can any food be made into foam?
Quinoa crusted bass with tofu, sesame seeds and some other stuff I can't remember the name of! All very delicious, and paired with my favourite wine of the evening - a lemony white wine that I wish I remembered the name of but was assured was purchasable from Tesco. Going to keep my eye out!
I managed to forget to take a picture of the fourth course - belly pork with a peanut butter sauce with a celery and apple salad. I am not a big peanut butter fan so it was not to my taste, but the pork was perfectly cooked and the rest of my party were impressed!
It was getting dark by this point - but the dessert was ricotta dumplings covered in cinammon sugar and liquorice dust. I was apprehensive (ricotta dumplings?) but they were beautiful - sweet with a slightly crunchy texture on the outside, and a soft inside. Gorgeous.
As you can tell, I was more than bowled over by this event. Like I said, it was the coolest place I have ever been - a little pretentious perhaps, but it didn't feel that way on the night. For those of us without experience of fine dining (or of wine tasting!) it didn't feel scary, but it was essential to keep an open mind upon reading the menu at the beginning! The organisers were clearly passionate about the food and wine which we were being served, and I don't know about you, but I always enjoy food more when it's clear that a lot of love and effort has been put into it. Chateau Marmot comes highly recommended from me, and I hope that they continue to run these events because I'll be the first to sign up!