On Monday, Ross & I joined a table of other food bloggers to a special tasting menu at The Little Urban Achievers Club (LUAC) on Great Western Road. The five course menu was created by Group Head Chef John Traynor with the theme of “Meat The Pig”.
To start, we had a little box of Pork Scratchings. I tried one but in all honesty, I detest them. I don’t get why people like them as a snack. Others on the table loved them, even Ross who had two whole boxes to himself.
The first course we sampled was Smoked Pig Cheek Broth which was served along with Kilner jars of Herb Smoked French Bread. The soup was delicious, full of flavour and the pigs cheeks were cooked so beautifully that they fell apart. Definitely one of my favourite dishes on the night.
Next, one of my all time favourites, Jalapeño Poppers. Instead of just the normal run of the mill Poppers, we were given two types, Ham Hock and Smoked In-House Cheese which were both coated in Panko Breadcrumbs. These were superb. I really wish LUAC put these on the menu full time because I’d be ordering these, a lot. They were spicy but it didn’t detract from the flavour.
For our Main, we were given individual Tasting Platters which had a Crispy Pork Slider Burger, Pulled Pork, Sweet & Sour Ribs, Ham Hock Croquettes, Pork Loin and Sweet Potato Fries. The meat of the ribs fell off the bone, was very tender and the sauce was just the right level of sweetness. The little spoonful of Pulled Pork was delicious but I’m not a huge Pulled Pork fan, which John knew. Sadly he didn’t convert me this time!
The Crispy Pork Slider Burger was plain & simple, just the way you want a burger at times. The pork (unsure of the cut of meat) was crispy but light. It wasn’t heavy but after eating so much rich food, I couldn’t finish the little burger. I would have liked an additional sauce with the burger other than the little tube of Homemade BBQ Sauce we got, maybe a mayo?
The Ham Hock Croquettes were fluffy, seasoned well and when dipped into the BBQ Sauce were scrumptious. The last element on the platter was a chunk of Pork Loin. I was pretty full by this point so only ate half of the loin, and it was a mixed bag for me. The loin didn’t have much flavour to it and I had to smother it in the BBQ Sauce to give it some added flavour.
Lastly, we had Bacon Doughnuts with chopped Strawberries. Utterly delicious. I wish I had more of these. They were soft, fluffy, slightly salty but the sweetness of the strawberries and the coulis didn’t let the saltiness overpower it. The doughnuts were very light and far from the dense doughnuts that you sometimes get. A beautiful end to the evening.
Overall, John Traynor and his team have great vision and I love tasting dinners as you get to sample certain dishes you would never normally order. At £30 per person, I feel that it is good value for money for the amount of food you get (along with two alcoholic drinks). The next tasting menu John is working on is “Meat The Smoked Chicken and Egg” allowing you to sample dishes such as Truffle and Parmesan Chicken Wings, Build Your Own Snow Cone and a dessert version of Eggs & Soldiers. It sounds rather intriguing and a group of us have already decided we’re going to book a table and try the six course menu in August.
Disclaimer: I was invited by John Traynor as a guest in return for a review. Whilst my meal was complimentary, Ross paid for his meal and we paid for drinks. I was under no obligation to write a positive review and my comments reflect my true experience on that evening.
- Food - 7/107/10
- Service - 7/107/10
- Value - 9/109/10