Thursday, 15 December 2011

Walking a gastronomic and literary Drawbridge - Lunch at The Moat

Ok ... ever since its launch at the final episode of The Slap (Anouk's my favourite btw) extravaganza over at the Wheeler Centre, I have walked past and looked down at the literary crowd sipping and munching the leisurely hours away on garden furniture and fake turf, waiting patiently for my chance to partake of all that erudite goodness (or fakeness where I'm involved). Finally the opportunity presented itself when we had to throw a Thank You lunch for our IT saviour from the Netherlands.

So on a lovely Thursday afternoon, we descended on The Moat in our motley fashion and esconced ourselves at the large table by the door, isolated from the rest of the hoi polloi, who were thankfully tucked away in the main dining area, protected from our effusive and somewhat risque conversation. All I will say about this is that the Dutch have funny names and that Layla has a loud voice.

Anyhoo, the food, simply put, was amazing!!!

I had the Mount Leira cured lamb with chickpea puree, lemon cheek (see postscript below), olive and rosemary bread. In texture and flavour the lamb was like pastrami. The chickpea puree tasted like a cross between aioli, welsh rarebit and hollandaise and the olive bread, sliced thinly, was the perfect foil for a surprisingly light repast. Simple fare, and simply wonderful.

Quinoa obviously is still all the rage. The Moat's offering is a Quinoa salad, served with tomato, cucumber, spanish onion, toasted seeds, coriander, mint and honey dressing with the optional cumin poached free range chicken.

The combination of the toasted seed (possibly mustard) and mint with the sweet hint of honey was delicious. Definitely worth sampling when you visit.

AS ordered the Pickled Ratatouille Verrine (boom! boom!) served with a vanilla and shallot dressing and Persian fetta mousse. I didn't get to try this but the ratatouille came in the cutest little jar.

AW had the Farmer's Plate which consisted of ham hock broth, cucumber and apple relish, cheese and bread. The ham hock broth reminded me of M's bacon soup at the Duchess, although there were certainly copious chunks of smoked ham in the bowl here. The apple and cucumber relish had a slight green tea smoked japanese cucumber mouthfeel (I finally worked this ridiculous phrase into a post!!) and was a revelation.

But I have to say hands down the dish of the day was L's Sicilian eggplant stew with toasted almonds and oregano aioli. TDF peops TDF and a Must order when you go.

PS : a cheek of lemon is actually just a slice of lemon ... hello??!!


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