Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Dining in the Dark at The Living Room, Newcastle

A couple of years ago when I was in Berlin at the start of my travels across Europe we thought about going to a restaurant we'd heard about where you had to eat in the dark as it apparently increased your taste sensation of the food. Of course we went out and got drunk instead and considered eating take away chips in the street in the dark ALMOST the same thing and forgot all about it. So I was rather intrigued to receive an invitation to a dining in the dark dinner event at The Living Room on Grey Street in Newcastle.

I hadn't quite realised when I attended that I wasn't simply going to get to eat some nice food in the dark, this was apparently serious quizzing time. After eating each item we had to answer various questions about it. I didn't do terribly, getting over half, but I didn't win either. As a 'food blogger' I suppose I should feel a little ashamed at my lack of distinguished palette. I'll blame it on all those burgers and ribs i've been eating lately.

Moroccan Lamb at The Living Room,  pictures supplied by PR

I wouldn't say eating without being able to see meant I could taste the food any better although the quiz element did mean you had to consider the flavours and ingredients more. There is certainly something unsettling about putting unknown things into your mouth, no one really likes surprises in that area do they. Luckily most of the dishes were pleasant, particularly the pork and chorizo burger and the Moroccan lamb both of which are on The Living Room's new menu.

Pork and Chorizo Burger
Although a fun night with a healthy dose of competition, food isn't just about taste, it is intended to be visual (as the beautiful shot pictures supplied by the PR prove), we get enjoyment from the intricate plating of a dish and beautiful presentation and being blind folded meant you missed out on all of that. Whilst you might  have a heightened sense of taste, that doesn't necessarily mean it's tastier, and that's the most important thing surely.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Grazer's Joe Beef Inspired Pop up Supper Club

A couple of weeks back I dragged myself and the other half out of our cosy flat on a saturday night with the proposition of eating dinner with some strangers in a shipping container. Whilst he was imagining some sort of terrible scene from season 2 of The Wire I assured him the evening would be much more civilised than that.

Anna of The Grazer was hosting a pop up supper club in the newly created Ouseburn Arts Club, housed in two rather cosy shipping containers. A Joe Beef inspired pop up. You know how much I love that cook book (see previous posts here and here) so she wasn't at all surprised when I booked in for my places. I wasn't the only one keen for pork and a couple of hours later and all the places had gone.

After hot toddies and introductions we sat down to a smorgasbord of home made delights, including the infamous Joe Beef beer cheese, which was totally delicious, home cured salami, potato salads, pickles, and my favourite the rollmop mackerel, so succulent with a light tanginess.

The main event is a Joe Beef Classics and one which i'd tried at home complete with my take on their BBQ sauce. Everyone has gone CRAZY about pulled pork recently and three huge joints of pork shoulder had been happily cooking away for the last 9 hours, specially delivered half way through the night. Served with BBQ sauce, rather amazing beans (when I tried this recipe they turned out very odd), soft white rolls and an apple and seed coleslaw.

The night was rounded off with coffee, and selection of delightful little puddings; a chocolate and hazelnut pot, some rather boozy jelly, cinnamon apple crisps and little pumpkin muffins. The food was as well prepared and presented as you would imagine if you've ever read Anna's blog, i.e. incredible, but it was all the lovely little touches in an unusual setting that got me, the incredible wood burning stove, and candle lit table and at the end of the room an old animation made out of silhouettes was projected and really created a warm wintery feeling about the place and made for a rather unique saturday night. 

Anna's hosting the events once a month, look out for announcements on her twitter  but you'll have to be quick the next is already sold out!