Hey, Foodwala’s… welcome to another tale of Alfie Foodwala.
As a fan of the silver screen, I was watching the seminal Russell Crowe movie ” A Good Year”
the antipodean Mr Crowe is a high powered Investment banker in London and is overworked and totally stressed out, he then gets word that his paternal uncle has passed away in Provençe and left him a Chateau and vineyard, so he takes time from his crazy schedule to fly to Cucuron and sell the estate.
Mr Crowe plans to dispose of the asset over a long weekend and be back in the City for the Monday trading bell.
Little did he know that things were not to go to plan and the estate and Vineyard needed some investment for it to be sold.
The Estate not only needed monetary investment but also required an investment of time and love.
Que some absolutely gratuitous shots of the Provençal countryside and the archetypical rustic French village with its town square and a bistro serving, real Provençal food, which is high-spirited but simple fare, focusing on enhancing the taste and texture of fresh local ingredients like tomatoes, garlic, saffron, peppers, anchovies, olives, olive oil and wild herbs.
A long story short Mr Crowe falls in love with Provençe and decides to pack in his life in London and enjoy the back to the basic life of the Chateau and Vineyard and enjoy the familial Provençal food.
The yearning and emptiness Mr Crowe feels, and the subsequent love and finding oneself resonated with me and prompted my own journey with Goblee Foodwala to our ancestral farm in deepest darkest Punjab next month.
So watch this space for our culinary adventures from the Punjab.
I have digressed, the reason for the sepia-toned homage to Provençe, is its simple yet delicious cuisine and that was what I witnessed created at Alchemilla.
I was intrigued by what Alchemilla described at Mediterranian cuisine, was it going to serve pizza? or hummus?
the website did not give anything away so I went on my voyage of discovery.
The decor is Scandi Minimalist so it was not giving up its secrets.
I kicked off the proceedings with some bread and olives, this was not just any bread, the freshly baked Foccacia was amazing, the high gluten flour was drizzled with cold pressed olive oil and sprinkled with rosemary, the master baker turned what was essentially flour and water into a work of art and the crispy crust gave way to a light soft pillowy centre not the dense stodginess of commercially produced Foccacia’s found in the paint by numbers Italian restaurants.
Alchemilla dispenses with the idea of starters, mains and desserts, the waiting staff recommended just ordering a few dishes to share communal style.
Next up was the sublime Butternut Squash Risotto with walnuts, brown butter and fried Sage.
The Risotto was cooked with a experts hand, the Arborio rice was al dente yet creamy and the squash and brown butter was silky and delicate…absolutely delicious.
I was next presented with the grilled Bay of Biscay Mackeral on a bed of green apple, celery and raisins salad drizzled with aioli.
The Mackeral was delicately grilled without compromising the oily texture and in turn, the oiliness of the fish was magnificently offset with the freshness of the celery and apple salad, the sweet raisins added another element to the simple yet complex dish.
Denser than Choloclate mousse, this ganache-like cremoso was absolutely decadent.
the honeycomb and hazelnuts elements helped temper the dark chocolate cremoso and a touch of sea salt flakes helped equalise the sweetness.. again delicious.
In conclusion, Rosie Healy learnt her trade from Mr Ottolenghi and has bought the delights of Provençal/Mediterranian cooking to Glasgow, the ingredients were fresh and simple yet the flavour notes were complex.
I really enjoyed my senses and palette being opened up and introduced to a new experience.