Top of the pops

Top of the pops

20th May 2016

The Old Fire Station in Tonbridge provided the venue for another Pop Up restaurant last weekend when top chef Justin Brown displayed his culinary skills over two nights.

Justin has an impressive CV. After training at 5-star Landmark London Hotel, he went on to work with people such as Jamie Oliver, Ronnie Wood and Michelin-starred Robert Clayton before heading for Australia to work in Restaurant Amuse which was voted the Number 1 Restaurant in Western Australia.

He was voted Chef of the Year winner in 2009/2010 and 2011 in London and was also voted best newcomer in 2011. He has been awarded 2 AA Rosettes, released his own Cookbook, and appeared on TV and Radio shows across the UK including Masterchef the Professionals.

In 2015 he moved to Amsterdam to set up Verzet which host Pop Up Restaurants in various locations over The Netherlands.

At the Old Fire Station Justin prepared and served an interesting menu with the assistance of local chef Jamie Halsall. It included:

Confit Salmon, poached in olive oil, cucumber, horseradish cream, dill and rye;

A Cauliflower Risotto with cauliflower stock, cauliflower puree and parmesan;

A Steamed Bao bun containing crispy chicken and cabbage slaw;

Brie and Truffle - a Dutch brie stuffed with black truffle, served with verzet crackers;

Chocolate and Yoghurt dessert made from chocolate mousse, frozen yoghurt, and pomegranate molasses.

[gallery td_select_gallery_slide="slide" size="full" link="none" ids="|Confit Salmon, poached in olive oil, cucumber, horseradish cream, dill and rye,|Even the side plates of bread were interesting as Justin mixed the butter with sugar,|A Steamed Bao bun containing crispy chicken and cabbage slaw,|Before each course Justin described the dishes to the diners,|The cheese course reflected Justin's Amsterdam links. It was a Dutch brie stuffed with black truffle, served with verzet crackers,|After decorating the plates, Justin and Jamie serve up the Chocolate and Yoghurt dessert,|"]

* The Cin Cin Supper Club will be returning to The Old Fire Station on Saturday 4 June. Tickets are on sale and limited to 50 seats only so make sure you book soon to avoid disappointment. You can find details on the Old Fire Station Facebook page.

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Top of the Pops

Top of the Pops

27th June 2019

This week Times Drinks Editor James Viner uncorks four delicious sparkling wines. Not just for special occasions, these quality summer sparklers are made for long, hot evenings in the garden. Each one is dry and made fizzy by the traditional method, the key second fermentation taking place not in tanks, as in Prosecco, but in single bottles, as in Champagne.

1)==Bone Dry 100% Chardonnay Crémant (look away Prosecco lovers!) ==

Crémant du Jura Brut, Domaine de Montbourgeau NV, France (£14.50, The Wine Society, 12% ABV)

This is a stunning bargain bottle of bone-dry (zéro dosage) French traditional method fizz from an appellation created in just 1995 that punches gloriously above its price. Orchard and white fruits ring with an urgency across saliva-inducing acidity, combining with wet stone minerality and racy acidity. No room for argument, this is a very good wine to drink with smoked salmon, seafood risotto, fish and chips or ceviche.

2)==Weighty 100% Pinot Noir Must-Try Quality Supermarket Champagne==

Waitrose Blanc de Noirs Brut NV Champagne, Aube, France (£22.99 but just £17.99 from 17th July to 13th August, 12.5% ABV)

This 100% Pinot Noir Champagne from the Aube is a steal for the quality with a complex array of toast, brioche, red berry and stone fruit flavours. On offer (just £17.99 from 17 July) it becomes an unqualified must-buy – my NV Champagne of choice for the summer. Very smart wine that puts many big-name rivals to the sword. A total winner.

3)==Artisanal Cava-Style Spanish Pink from Biodynamically Grown Catalonian Organic Fruit ==

2016 Raventós i Blanc De Nit Brut Rosé, Conca del Ríu Anoia, Catalonia, Spain (£23.95, Berry Bros & Rudd, 12% ABV)

Proof that Champagne isn't the only bubbly worth toasting to, this pale, complex and sophisticated rosé fizz is dangerously easy to drink with tantalising aromas of blood orange, wild red fruits, Mediterranean herbs, flint and brioche. A very stylish bottle from a Spanish family with a viticultural tradition dating back to 1497. The Conca del Ríu Anoia DO was created by Raventós on calcareous soils in 2013 to provide stricter quality controls than Cava using lower yields, longer ageing, organic production and local grape varieties. A real discovery!

4)==Textbook English Bubbly from a Vineyard on the North Down of Kent==

Chapel Down 2014 Kit’s Coty Blanc de Blancs (£37.95-£40, Whisky Exchange, Chapel Down, The English Wine Collection, 12% ABV)

Made by an established and relatively large quality producer, this is a fine example of terrific single-vineyard English fizz, with lovely precision and delicate, fine, toasty notes complementing the polished pink grapefruit, white peach and baked apple fruit. The result is a brilliantly fresh, crisp and food-friendly wine, the dosage spot on. It’s beautifully put together and has the future in its sights, but the intensity of youthful flavours makes for scintillating drinking right now.

Follow James on Twitter @QuixoticWine 


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