How many times have you sat in a restaurant tucking into something delicious and wished you could recreate it at home? Well, now you can!
BEEFY’S by Sir Ian Botham, the smart restaurant and bar that is part of Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, has introduced a new series of chef masterclasses.
Head chef Tom King is passionate about local produce, and is keen to share his favourite ingredients with guests, showing how they are prepped and served at BEEFY’s with hints and tips on how to recreate the dishes at home.
On the beautiful summer’s evening we visited, we sat on the sun-baked terrace overlooking the lush green of the cricket ground and watched – glass of cold Hampshire Navy Gunpowder gin in hand – as Tom got to work on his first dish.
As he showed us how to make our own labneh cheese (natural yoghurt and salt, strained through muslin until what’s left is the texture of cottage cheese), he explained that he loves to take classic flavours and give them an unusual twist.
‘Unusual’ is certainly the key here – he finishes the labneh cheese, using it to top crunchy olive oil and rosemary croutons, and then keeps the rest to use in our main course of… fish, fruit and cheese?
Tom’s cooking Hampshire chalkstream trout with labneh and pink grapefruit. Yep – that’s definitely fish, fruit and cheese. It sounds like it can’t work. But somehow, it just does.
The trout is pan-fried to perfection, the skin lightly crispy and golden brown, the delicate coral flesh falling into perfect flakes. The sweet fish contrasts perfectly with the sharp grapefruit and soft, tangy labneh cheese, and is served with a peppery salad of Hampshire watercress with sweet cherry tomatoes and a fresh grapefruit dressing.
Tom talked us through each step as he worked, advising us to submerge salad leaves or watercress in iced water to revive the leaves and crisp them up, and showing us how to segment a grapefruit with no mess or waste.
The best bit of the masterclass is that every guest is served the meal that’s being demonstrated. This isn’t just a taster – it’s the real deal, with white tablecloths and a glass of Botham’s wine to accompany your meal.
For pudding, Tom has created his own version of that British classic, summer pudding for BEEFY’s summer menu.
He showed us how to douse both sides of a square of thinly sliced white bread with a syrupy, sharp raspberry coulis, pile on summer fruits and a quenelle of buttery yellow clotted cream, and finish with pecans toasted in butter, sugar and salt, and delicate strawberry pearls.
The perfect pud for a balmy evening, it managed to feel as light and fresh as it did rich and decadent – not easy to pull off.
Equally impressive was the fact that one of the diners in our masterclass suffered from a severe dairy allergy. Tom took it in his stride, instantly replacing the labneh cheese on the croutons with parma ham, and serving a Pimm’s and lemonade jelly topped with Pimm’s-soaked fruit Pink and a light champagne and grapefruit sorbet in place of the summer pudding.
BEEFY’s by Sir Ian Botham is planning a series of chef masterclasses and wine tastings, alongside the normal menu of naturally-sourced produce and ingredient-led dishes derived from the seasons.
If this first masterclass is anything to go by, an evening dining in this restaurant at the iconic home of Hampshire cricket would be a treat. And with a little help from the experts, you can recreate all the best dishes in your own home. Howzat!