Dingley Dell’s Flying Visits at The Leather Bottle pub, 538 Garratt Lane, Earlsfield, London, SW17 0NY
This week I had one of the best dining experiences for a long time, possibly of my life. Suffolk farm Dingley Dell provided the ultimate pork fest with a bunch of talented guest chefs at The Leather Bottle pub in Earlsfield. I honestly haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
Dingley Dell’s Flying Visits is a series that entertains and educates on RSPCA’s Freedom Food pork. From fine dining events to hog roasts touring the country. I bought along my friend Aletia who’s a pollo-vegetarians’s wife, a pork extravaganza was much needed in her life.
The evening’s proceedings started off with music provided by a local Suffolk folk band The Broadside Boys. Against the backdrop of the new garden complete with bunting and the coolest little beach huts, within seconds we’d been transported from a dreary street to a British summer holiday in the countryside.
While the band played the pig was constantly being basted with apple juice, a crowd gathering taking photos and looking on in awe. We sat in our cute little hut watching a live butchery demo by Jim Craig on the flat screen TV. Yes, the huts have TVs, WiFi and iPod docks along with fairy lights. Why do I keep falling in love with pubs that are so far away?
I actually found this demo a hell of a lot more interesting than I expected, I learned that 10 million pigs are slaughtered each year, that’s a lot of pigs, and China takes most of our pig heads… A video was shown of the farm in Suffolk, watching cute little piggies moments before a pork fest did make me feel slightly guilty, but not for long.
First up was The Whole Hog Board by Chris Knights and Stephen Bushnell Air dried pork leg, crispy pig’s ears, potted brawn, mini hot dogs, black pudding trotter fritters, Gooseberry chutney, purple basil jam and Young’s beer bread paired with Aspall’s Premier Cru. This board was immense, my favourites the mini hot dogs in buns smeared with fried onions, and the pillowy beer bread. The trotter fritters genius and tasty, and I hate black pudding. Aletia remarked that they tasted of pork rather than blood. Ade would have adored these, shame he was at home watching the event take place on Twitter whilst eating supermarket pizza.
We paced ourselves, aware we still had five courses to go. Next was Apple Smoked Pig Cheeks by Paul Sowden Potted smoked pig’s cheeks, mead jelly and pea purée paired with Meantime Wheat Beer. I would’ve loved this dish had it not been for the jelly, it was impossible to eat it without getting any jelly in my mouth so I had to give up. Shame, it could’ve been so good. The pea puree was delicious however.
Dish three was Low and Slow Pulled Pork Shoulder by Ben Goldsmith Sweet and tender pork shoulder, slow cooked garlic, rosemary, black pepper, fennel and oregano (cooked over charcoal and hickory wood) with homemade Bramley apple sauce paired with Meantime London Lager. Oh how I love pulled pork, and this was incredible. Served up alongside some incredible sides, including the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever had, cooked in brown sugar I suspected, amazing. Even the salad was great, with hints of fennel stalks, so good.
Then it was time for the Hog Spit by Mark Poynton Whole hog filled with Aspalls apple juice paired with Aspall’s Premier Cru. This was tasty, so appley but slightly tough, maybe the pig had too much juice pumped into it. The crackling was superb though, sinfully sweet and crunchy.
Next was the dish I’d been waiting for: World Championship St Louis Pork Ribs by Andy Annat
5 hour cherry smoked pork ribs with barbecue and black treacle glaze served with smoked plant pot bread paired with Meantime London Pale Ale. I love ribs and I love pale ale, so this was heaven. Incredible ribs, smokey, tender, juicy, they provided all that a rib should. I was just gutted I only had one, I could eat them all day.
Dish number six, dessert. And of course pork was still featured. Sunday Brunch by Chris Knights and Stephen Bushnell French toast with marmalade, maple cured bacon, Leather Bottle pears and cornflake ice-cream paired with Aspall’s Perronelle’s Blush. Now this has got to be in my top 5 desserts ever. I just wish I had room to eat it all, it was truly perfect, all I could think was how it would be Ade’s dream dessert, shame I couldn’t have included it in his doggy bag. I have been reliving these flavours for days.
All this for £25! The deal of the century, they have to come back and do it again, preferably on a Saturday afternoon. We walked out into the real world in a pork induced coma, tipsy on great ciders and beer, wondering if it had all been some kind of food porn dream. Rochdale, they’re coming to you next on 26 September, see here and Paul A Young is involved in the dessert, go!
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