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November 2, 2014
To celebrate the start of the British Game season, Candid found itself at chef Bryn Williams’ Kitchen Table, staring into the busy workings beneath Odette’s on Primrose Hill. The kitchen is active yet surprisingly calm and jovial; there’s no throwing of utensils or torrents of profanities as one might expect from the “reality” shows of TV. The moments of intense feeling only come when Bryn glances at the football scores or when one of the young chef’s mums pops down for a quick wave. Apart from these small insights and amusements, the kitchen seems to run smoothly, without duress and with the occasional bit of banter.
We were treated to two savoury snacks to start with: one a squid ink cracker topped with crab, avocado and chilli, which freshened the palate perfectly, the other was a light yet flavoursome chicken liver parfait, scooped onto toast and accompanied by caramelised onions. One in our group was gluten intolerant and was effortlessly catered for by the team so that she didn’t miss out on any part of our meal.
From then on, we were regaled with three dishes of British game, each brought out and explained by Bryn and his team, as well as being matched with complimenting wines.
The Wood pigeon consommé with farfalle, truffle and root vegetables was a deeply earthy dish. The woodiness of the consommé paired well with the rooted accompaniments and the pigeon itself remained soft and flaky.
The Game terrine – comprised of veal, wild mallard, venison and bacon – came with stickily sweet damson jam, pickled walnut and dandelion. The meat in the terrine itself was of fantastic quality but not overly interesting. However, when put alongside the jam and walnut, the flavours really came into their own.
We were invited into the kitchen to get a quick cookery lesson on how to cook our final savoury dish – a mini minced venison, celeriac and cocoa powder pie, and a beautifully rare venison loin, accompanied by cavo nero cabbage, celeriac and pear. What we learnt was that the timing was crucial and that there was no skimping on the butter. Once we sat back down, we were delivered our course. The piecrust was so buttery and rich, anticipating the intense flavours of the mince. The loin was tender with all the juices sealed within. We were also given hay-smoked mash on the side, which brought us back to the countryside and worked perfectly alongside the wild game.
Our dessert was Odette’s famous “Jaffa Cake” – a stunningly moreish layered chocolate, sponge and orange jelly cake, covered in cocoa powder and complemented by a gentle orange cream, chocolate soy crumbs and orange marmalade (for a n extra kick).
After dinner coffees were served with mini chocolate éclairs with custard vanilla cream filling, coffee meringues, which were so light that they crumbled on touch.
Bryn runs a very relaxed and friendly kitchen which is a pleasure to dine in. Guests can expect not only absolutely astonishing food, but laughter, recommendations and dinner party ideas. We would whole-heartedly recommend Odette’s Kitchen Table to anyone wanting an evening of exemplary, honest, British fine food, and look forward to dining there again ourselves before Game season is up.
Vicky Ilankovan – Lifestyle Editor