I have just been to an evening at Hanlons Brewery between Exeter and Crediton in Devon hosted by Pickle Shack who describe themselves as a ‘young and ambitious food company delivering creative catering and events’ and it’s not a lie.
Josh and Jodie started up about three years ago with pop up restaurants. Word soon spread, however, and they have gone from strength to strength, catering for weddings and, more recently, corporate events. Their catering isn’t limited to this, however: they also cater for private dining and are just as happy doing this.
They cover Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset and one of the cornerstones of the company is their ‘produce promise’, committing to sourcing seasonal products locally. So their style is strongly influenced by their chefs who trained at Michelin starred restaurants, combining traditional, seasonal and local ingredients with modern cooking techniques.
But it’s not just about the food: the front of house is all part of the experience and it’s just as important to them that the service matches the quality of the food.
We were treated to a five-course tasting menu at Hanlons and we were thoroughly spoilt:
Set sweetcorn custard, KFC crumb, lovage pesto, chilli and lemon oil, crispy caribou moss
Pollock and saffron escabeche, fennel gazpacho, fennel grass, crispy pollock skin
Venison, squash puree, jacket artichoke, caramelised fig, fig powder, cavelo nero, chorizo, watercress
Dark chocolate cremeux tart fine, blackberries, beetroot espuma, port gel
Poached apricots, lemon meringue, vanilla yoghurt, sorrel (pictured above)
The venison especially was terrific, full of flavour, and perfectly complemented by the texture of the artichoke and fig. And the poached apricots were a cracking finale to the menu.