Sharing food can constitute a true test of love. This is especially so when the food you are supposed to be sharing equally with your beloved comprises the carnivorous delights that are produced by the Hereford Road kitchen.
It was Valentines Day, 2008 and MTV boyfriend and I were at Hereford Road for dinner. MTV boyfriend is entirely unenthusiastic as to the concept of Valentines day however he perked up considerably when spotting items on the menu such as ducks hearts and oxtail.
Hereford Road is the creation of Tom Pemberton, a protege of St John’s restaurant. He has continued the tradition of “Nose to Tail” eating at Hereford Road. I was keen to sample the dishes that really put this concept into practice and so MTV boyfriend and I began by sharing the Lamb Sweet Breads. This was not technically a sharing dish, however the crispy portions of offal were quite filling alongside green beans and a light creamy sauce and we managed to divide up the serving without coming to blows.
For the main course we ordered the Oxtail. This truly was a dish to share and MTV boyfriend was quite taken back at the size of the tail and the fact that it actually still looked like, well, a tail. The slow roasted ox tail was served with baby carrots which rested on top of the delicious meat juices. There was something deeply satisfying and quite primal in tearing the oxtail apart as the succulent meat fell away exposing the long tail bone. Despite the size of the dish we managed to strip the bone bare and the obligation to share was a test of goodwill that St Valentine himself would have approved of.
Undaunted, we selected the Apple Pie for two to finish off the meal. The dessert selections were all in the vein of traditional English puddings and the apple pie was chock full of tasty chunks of apple, topped with crispy pastry and good quality vanilla bean ice cream on the side. Nevertheless, the pie seemed somewhat unadventurous after our earlier forays into the world of sweet breads and animal tails. It is interesting that the traditional English puddings have not fallen out of favour, however traditional cuts of meat and methods of cutting are now an exotic adventure.
I think MTV boyfriend was pleased with his Valentines day meal and he may be tempted into romantic dinners for two more often if our meal at Hereford Road was any indication. Moreover, we had survived the challenge of sharing such delicious food without either of us resorting to bludgeoning the other with the cartilage of an oxtail.