This month Symonds at Redwood played host to a pop-up event by our local celebrity chef Dean Edwards, the one-time digger driver whose appearance on Master Chef in 2006 changed his life forever and turned his cooking hobby into becoming a chef. As he’s very easy on the eye and full of natural charm television appearances also followed, ITV’s Lorraine, and This Morning where he starred in a weekly cookery slot preparing a variety of dishes for the TV audience.
Symonds restaurant couldn’t be a better backdrop for this; to get us in the mood we had two beautifully made gin and tonics (large balloon glasses, half filled with ice, generous slugs of Hendricks gin, finished with fresh cucumber) standing at the fashionably chic bar, before sitting down to an amuse bouche of venison croquette and tomato gazpacho shot with Parmesan crisp. The gazpacho really packed a piquant punch and I would have liked more…….!
Making new friends at our table for eight was fun, and we listened to a brief talk from Dean Edwards explaining his passion for cooking and making the best of ingredients before the starters were served, seared scallops with celeriac purée, apple caramel, fresh Granny Smith and micro herbs; for the vegetarians, butternut squash arancini, butternut purée and crispy sage leaf. These were both a picture on a plate and we really enjoyed them, especially the scallops which were perfectly cooked.
We both chose lamb rump as a main course with lamb shoulder bonbon, zhoug dressing (Yemini salsa verde), labneh, micro coriander and spiced fondant potato, and if this all sounds rather exotic it was but at the same time just a wonderfully tender piece of lamb rump, cooked slightly pink surrounded by a colourful collection of vegetables which was delicious.
The dessert was the highlight for me; I chose sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and clotted cream and it was one of the lightest puddings I have ever eaten (I was going to share it with my guest, but I have to say he didn’t get any this time!). He had salted caramel and chocolate torte, with ice cream and amaretto crumb which was lovely.
The evening ended with a nice chat with Dean Edwards, and of course a selfie with him as a parting present!