Having been for a cocktail at the bar here in the past, the friendly staff, unique style and relaxed atmosphere of The Dairy had wet my appetite to return and eat. Needless to say the constant flurry of beautiful dishes coming out of the kitchen enticed me further... And now, after having had the pleasure of eating here on a recent date, I can confirm that, as suspected, The Dairy’s fantastic seasonal cocktails are the tip of the iceberg...
I have not eaten such truly brilliant food since a very special dinner at Hibiscus, and this was every bit as good as the two star heavyweight from the first of the ‘snacks’ to the final petits fours. Their tasting menu is £45 a head, excluding wine, and given the caliber of the food would cheap at twice the price.
You are presented with 6 ‘snack’ courses to begin with, each creatively served on mismatched china, little artisan wooden boards, and rough-cut black slates. These ‘snacks’ vary in size from little bites or canapés, to a bread course: a crusty warm sourdough roll to share, presented in an adorable little hessian sack, with a black slate of smoked bone marrow butter and chicken liver mousse, unspeakably light and rich…
Without a doubt the stand out ‘snack’ was the game faggot with perigord truffle and game tea. The flavour of the faggot was enormous, and the ‘tea’ - or game broth - poured from a little teapot, was divine. This was a personal favourite, along with the Nocellara del Belice olives, which we nibbled on throughout the opening dishes of the night.
A ‘sea’ course then followed - we had mackerel, nasturtium root and dill - and then a ‘land’ course. The venison here was the best I’ve ever tasted. The deer was from Kent, and all other seasonal ingredients were sourced from the UK, with their provenance laced into the menu.
Skipping cheese we jumped strait into the pre-dessert: an elegant mash-up of meringue, rhubarb and ginger. The pudding of the night was the salted caramel, cacao and malted barley ice cream – mind-blowingly delicious. By comparison, my frozen pear with honey, lemon thyme and almonds, while interesting and creative, played second fiddle.
If either of you are foodies – even ever so slightly – you’ll both adore this restaurant. The food is incredibly special, and yet the atmosphere is laid back and informal, it’s the perfect combination for dating. No starched tablecloths or undue airs and graces stifle the mood.
This is creative British, seasonal cooking at its very best. I cannot recommend highly enough.