You won’t be surprised to hear that I had no idea a golf simulator venue had opened up in Spinningfields. It just isn’t my thing and, believe it or not, I have tried golfing before. I absolutely SUCK at it. I did however know, that Albatross and Arnold had opened in Spinningfields. The 1st floor restaurant and bar is above The Range and has an impressive golf ball wave light installation in the window, to fit with the golfing types when they have finished their virtual course. The decor is sumptuous but small enough to feel unpretentious, with a gorgeous wood and brass bar as well as velvet furniture. It is the perfect spot to celebrate a special occasion or spoil that special person in your life. They have started to host some exciting dinners and I was lucky enough to attend the collaboration with Tappers Gin.
Before we get into the meal, let me tell you about Tappers Gin. They are a family owned business from the Wirral, making small batch hand crafted gin from the most local ingredients they can find. They make around 40 bottles a time, making them truly small batch, and each recipe has been inspired by their British heritage and the natural world. The bottles are beautifully vintage looking and are the perfect gift for the gin lover in your life. Anyway, onto the meal.
We kicked things off with gin cured salmon and tonic foam, paired with Tappers Wintergreen gin, pampelle and lillet. The tonic foam was more of a gel when it arrived but the bitter taste was slightly sweet, complimenting the rich salmon. It was served with pickled cucumber that had been roasted and crumbed, before coating cucumber balls. Their fresh taste brought out the spruce flavour in the gin and mellowed the grapefruit flavours into something much sweeter.
The second course was a thing of pure beauty. Clam, brown crab and samphire mayonnaise served with Tappers Darkside gin, cardamom cordial, dashi and orange. The pieces of seared scallop and addition of caviar added to the richness of the dish with the samphire adding a saltiness that is mellowed by the festive style gin that makes the mouth water. The orange flavours in the drink were heightened as the samphire has similar flavours to the dashi as well as the main maritime botanicals in the gin.
The third course was pigeon, hazelnuts, horseradish and gherkin served with Tappers Falling Leaves gin, creme de mure and a gherkin rinse. The pigeon was fairly rare but soft and delicate with the horseradish served as a slice of meringue, along a gherkin jam. I am not a fan of horseradish but this is much more fun way of eating it and brought out the game flavours in the meat with a saltiness that is not earthy, like horseradish can be. The gherkin jam took the harshness out of the gherkin rinse and allowed the fruitier notes of the gin botanicals to shine through. It was so different to have the fruit element of a game dish be supplied in drink form, a real winner.
Course four was Cod, sea aster, samphire and lemon curd served with Tappers Three Fine Days gin perfect serve. I thought lemon curd was an odd choice with cod but boy, does it work. It heightened the freshness of both the cod and the vegetables and really brought out the flavours of the first G&T of the night. The gin is citrus all the way but not sweet, which is refreshing in both the taste and idea. The head chef at Albatross and Arnold does not like waste so the scallop rose from the second course was also included in the dish as a powder.
Course six was duck, orange and broccoli served with Tappers Spring Fever gin perfect serve. The perfectly cooked duck alongside the duck fat potatoes was amazing and the sharpness of the orange jus lingers with a gentle bitterness from the charred duck. The flavours bring out the floral notes in the gin and secured it as my favourite drink of the evening.
The penultimate course was summer fruit, crumble and cream served with Tappers Hydropathic Pudding gin perfect serve. The dish is designed on a ‘straight from the bush’ basis with damson jam, summer fruits and shortbread biscuits, which are warmed with a touch of ginger. Another fruity gin brings the flavours of the red berries to life and tastes almost juicy.
The final dish of the evening was a chocolate pudding with vanilla served with Tappers Eggcentric gin, star anise, kahlua and cherry. The pudding was extremely rich and decadent, with the gin spiked with cacao nib, liquorice and carob. The dessert brings out the cherry in the drink but also made it taste a lot stronger which, I wasn’t sure about. It could totally be because it was the last of an eight course menu and it was all so rich, it overwhelmed my tastebuds.
The evening was incredible and dining in this way really takes your palate and senses on a journey. They are doing regular collaborations so it is worth keeping an eye on their social media, but if you can’t wait that long, you can choose a 5 or 7 course tasting menu. There is also the option to add paired wines. I know where I’ll be visiting the next time I have a special occasion to celebrate.
I was invited to dine as a guest of Albatross and Arnold and was not asked to pay for my meal.