Exactly three years since I started Foodinburgh for a bit of fun (read: because I’m greedy and love food) I hosted my first dinner with readers/followers.
The Printing Press were keen to have some foodies along to try out their Autumn Menu, and who better than us? Along with seven of my fellow Foodinburgh Group members, we headed to George Street to take up the challenge.
We all met in the Editor’s Bar, and honestly, I didn’t know what to expect at all? I decided just to relax and be myself and try and enjoy it, I figured everyone else would follow suit. My guests started to arrive and they all looked normal (in a good way). I quickly discovered that somehow we had manage to assemble the loveliest group of people. We had teachers, surveyors, civil servants, and even a minister. We all settled in with a Marigold Martini and a glass of Prosecco, served from their cocktail tree (our hosted dinner was the perfect occasion to show this off!). This cocktail was a partnership with Crystal Head Vodka (£2 from each cocktail is donated to CHAS). We were advised to mix back and forth between the two – we dutifully followed our instructions. Were they trying to get us a bit drunk? Quite possibly, but it was a delicious combo so none of us resisted.
It was great to be around foodies who just want to eat, there were no airs and graces when it came to get tucking into the bread. Talking of grace, our laid-back minister mentioned later on that he would usually say grace, it hadn’t occurred to me to invite him to do so – an opportunity missed! Not to worry, the food was very gratefully received – the daily bread and all other five courses that accompanied it!
Our amuse bouche was a miniature version of a vegetarian starter, clever way to incorporate it I thought – Fig and Red Pepper Tart with Crowdie Mustard Vinaigrette – it was a simple dish but packed much more flavour than I or my fellow diners were expecting.
The Hand-Dived Orkney Scallop with Orange Braised Endive and Squid Ink Sauce was one of the best things I’ve eaten at The Printing Press. The orange braised endive was a clever accompaniment and we all agreed that the squid ink sauce was inspired.
Our next course was a taste of one of their vegetarian mains, Herb Gnocchi, Trompette Mushrooms, Pecorino – a simple dish but one that was so well made that a couple of people said it was their favourite of the evening.
The big winner of the evening was an unexpected cut, but one that went down a storm. A Barnsley Chop is a difficult thing to find but it pleased everyone, this was accompanied by a lamb faggot (and despite being told by a reader it wasn’t PC to call a faggot a faggot, I am carrying on regardless!) and a delicious dauphinoise croquette. Rich and full of the warm feels for autumn. The Printing Press has seriously upped its game, and despite chef appearing a little nervous when he came up to speak to us, he needn’t have been – he nailed it!
After such a savoury high I was pleased to see we had moved onto desserts. Passion Fruit Posset, Liquorice-Infused Pineapple, Coconut Macaroon seemed kind of summery for an autumn menu, but we were all happy to look past that as it was very good indeed. The liquorice-infused pineapple was a real winner, it was a delicate infusion, perfectly judged.
Our final dish was Honey and Thyme-Roasted Plum, Chocolate Custard, Cinnamon Granola, Honeycomb Ice Cream, this was a dessert that certainly hit the seasonal brief. I preferred the one previous, but that’s just personal taste.
Thanks to The Printing Press for hosting a truly enjoyable evening, and to my guests who made the evening a real pleasure with really interesting conversation that transcended food. The whole experience was a positive and I look forward to hopefully having the opportunity to do it again some time.