The Violet Hour in West Didsbury, I am a huge fan of their extensive cocktail list and thoroughly enjoyed the launch of their new food menu specifically the delightful Yorkshire pudding with blue cheese and chilli jam.
As well as a great food menu The Violet Hour also have a pop up called Ten. A monthly event showcasing the best food of the season paired with cocktails sounds right up my street doesn’t it? I’ve wanted to go for quite some time but my busy diary has hampered my plans. Unfortunately the lovely Andy’s fiancé was ill last minute so I stepped in to accompany her to the October Ten event.
We were shown to a lovely table with comfy sofas near the window lit by candlelight, it would have been so romantic for her and her fiancé but I tried my best to fill the gap. Our first cocktail was served first; day at the zu containing Zubrowka bison grass vodka, house made fennel syrup, lemon and cucumber. It tasted sweeter than it sounds with a lovely zing from the lemon.
The first course followed shortly after called simply ‘mackerel and parsnip’. Smoked, cured and tartare of mackerel served with roasted parsnip, fennel tops and curry oil. The sweetness of the parsnip worked well with the different cuts of mackerel with a slight spice from the curry oil; a perfectly balanced dish. The cocktail also changed when drank with this course; the fennel in the drink took on a stronger flavour giving a more earthy taste to the drink. A perfect accompaniment.
The next dish was ‘artichoke and cobnut’. Jerusalem artichoke cappuccino with toasted cobnuts. This looked pretty served in a small coffee cup and tasted as good as it looked. I’m not normally a fan of the Jerusalem artichoke finding it too earthy but the creaminess of this dish mellowed out the flavour and the crushed cobnuts finished it with a nutty aftertaste. I loved it and this was one of my favourite dishes of the evening.
A short break followed before our ‘cod and pear’ course arrived. Beautifully soft pan seared cod cheeks served with poached pear, lardo and pork crumble. Unfortunately this dish was fairly cold when it arrived to the table but the flavours were still evident. Another perfectly balanced dish with sweet pear, salty lardo and fatty pork which somehow brought out the cod flavour. I was expecting the big flavours to kill the cod completely but it did nothing but enhance. The cocktail paired with this course was the highlander; Johnnie Walker black label with Hendricks gin, lemon, pear liquor and agave syrup. As you would expect the pear and agave flavours were enhanced by the food giving this cocktail a lovely freshness.
The course I was looking forward to the most was the ‘duck and pumpkin’ course. Duck breast served with a spiced chocolate mole sauce and roasted pumpkin. As with the last course it was slightly cold but the duck was cooked until pink, just pink at that so perfect to my taste. The mole sauce had a hint of sweetness from the chocolate but the cocoa flavours had been enhanced by the spice. I felt the pumpkin was a little unnecessary but at the same time I don’t know what I would have used in its place, pumpkin obviously being incredibly seasonal.
Last but not least came our dessert of ‘quince and olive’. Billed as the ‘Didsbury mess’ this combined light meringues with thin slices of olive and quince. Wonderfully inventive this was simple and light with some big flavours. The olive gave a slight saltiness to bring out the fruity flavour of the quince with another perfect cocktail pairing; the rumba-nana. This contained Appleton VX rum, banana liqueur, vanilla and cream with a meringue floating on top. The dessert meant the cream and sweetness of this cocktail paled to leave the rum and banana as the star of the show. Stronger than it sounds this one packed a punch on the taste buds in a very good way.
The meal costs £35 per person for the 5 courses and paired cocktails. Keep your eyes peeled for the next event and be quick, they fill up quickly and I’m pretty sure you will be able to tell why.
This meal was paid for.