Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Very fine dining

Round these parts we may be trying to eat more vegetarian (and even vegan) meals, but when the opportunity to dine on a whole suckling pig presented itself, I certainly wasn't going to turn it down. Potted Pig's speciality dish was on the menu for my friend Dan's 40th birthday gathering last week - a communal and ceremonial feast that also included a pair of ham hocks, an assortment of tasty accompanying veg and plenty of wine (normal and dessert) to wash it down with.

(An aside: some carnivores would no doubt be uncomfortable or even horrified at the little face staring at them while they tucked into their dinner, not wanting to be reminded where the meat on their plate had come from. But that's part of our problem - chunks of supermarket meat packaged in plastic trays are dissociated from the source, making it easier for consumers to disregard animal welfare and quality and focus only on price. That connection needs to be reestablished.)

Our gastronomic adventures continued on Saturday evening with a first visit to Heaney's, which, being on the other side of Canton, is even closer to home. My appetite for the taster menu for two had already been whetted by several reviews, including one on local food blog The Octopus Diaries and one written by Noel Gardner for Buzz - and it not only lived up to high expectations but surpassed them.

The fish- and seafood-based dishes (of which there were many) were fresh and flavoursome. I've never enjoyed crab before, was an oyster virgin and regarded raw scollops with a fair degree of suspicion, but was instantly converted to them all. Even better, though, was the oxtail ball and the rare lamb with samphire. I found myself saying "Now THAT was my favourite thing so far" after every course, but, with hindsight, the lamb takes the accolade for the best dish of the night. For my more sweet-toothed dining partner, however, the piece de resistance came last: a malty, salted caramel roll, every mouthful of which brought an "mmm" of deep delight.

Add to that some superb cocktails (lighter, more refreshing blends such as a French 75 worked well with the early courses, while an espresso martini was the perfect accompaniment to the desserts), relaxed but attentive service, a smart but unfussy setting and a bill that, all things considered, was really quite reasonable, and you have the recipe for a restaurant to which we'll most definitely go back. Just got to come up with a suitable excuse now...

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