When the sun is shining and people are not rioting in the streets there is truly no better place to be in the world than London. Sunshine has been a little in short supply this summer but two weekends ago the sun put on a sterling show perfectly timed to coincide with The Cloudy Bay Shack which had ‘popped up’ in Parsons Green for the weekend.
|The Cloudy Bay Shack|
The Cloudy Bay Shack is an annual affair which features New Zealand’s famous Cloudy Bay wines matched with dishes prepared by a Michelin star chef. Last year the chef was Tom Aikens and I got an advance preview of his menu but did not manage to make it to the actual event. When I was invited again this year I was determined to go, especially when I heard Petersham Nurseries chef Skye Gyngell was in charge.
|Spinach, mozzarella and fennel salad|
The “shack” was actually a silver air stream caravan complete with deck chairs, a random rowing boat and a three piece band.
|The band – I just wanted to take them home!|
Skye had created five dishes which were a very reasonable £4 each or £8.50 when paired with a glass of Cloudy Bay wine. MTV boyfriend and I tried out the spinach, mozzarella, pea and fennel salad which was a great fresh combination of flavours. For something more warming, the risotto with lemon and cured ham which was loose and creamy.
|Slow cooked veal|
The veal with black olives and preserved lemons was very tender with the bold flavours that only come through long and slow cooking.
|Wild sea bass|
However, the stand out dish was wild sea bass with nam jim and pak choi. The sea bass was silky smooth and enlivened with the sharp mix of hot, salty, sour and sweet that is characteristic of nam jim. It was one of the best things I have eaten all year and it was served on a paper plate.
|Heritage tomato salad with burrata|
The only dish that failed to delight was the heritage tomato salad with goats curd and oregano. Some of the tomato was a little flavourless and watery which made me suspect it had been bulked out with tomatoes of the non heritage varieties. There were no such issues with the wine. We paired the food with some of the honey and apple notes of the Cloudy Bay Riesling Dry 2007 and the classic, crisp Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2010.
|The crowd at the Cloudy Bay Shack|
The Cloudy Bay Shack is definitely one to mark in the diary for next year. You get Michelin star cooking and great wine for very reasonable prices. In the meantime Skye is offering one dish on the menu at Petersham Nurseries Cafe for a week with the appropriate wine pairing. There are five dishes so the promotion will run for five weeks after the shack.
Gourmet Chick was a guest of Cloudy Bay.
Details: Cloudy Bay Shack, Parsons Green, SW6 4XE (Tube: Parsons Green)
Thanks to everyone who entered the Gourmet Giveaway to win dinner for two and drinks at Soho Bistro du Vin. The winner is Emma F. Congratulations Emma. There is still time to enter the final Gourmet Chick Third Birthday Giveaway for two tickets to Harvest Festival.