Tasty show­case of what’s to come at Heaney’s


South Wales Echo - - Tuck In -

THE huge, glass-fronted res­tau­rant space on Romilly Cres­cent, Cardiff, has been a bub­bling hive of ac­tiv­ity of late with food­ies champ­ing at the bit for Great Bri­tish Menu fi­nal­ist, Tommy Heaney to open his first, per­ma­nent res­tau­rant in the cap­i­tal.

We were in­vited along to the pre­open­ing night for me­dia, blog­gers and spe­cial guests when we were given a taster, lit­er­ally, of the taster menu. We paid a con­tri­bu­tion to the bill and were un­der no obli­ga­tion to give a pos­i­tive re­view.

There’s no bet­ter way to show­case what’s to come from Heaney’s than the taster menu of­fer­ing 10 del­i­cate cour­ses.

The first two, the sour­dough and Mar­mite but­ter and smoked duck ham, I’d tried be­fore. But se­ri­ously, I could not wait to have them again. I in­sisted that my din­ing part­ner tried the Mar­mite but­ter (it doesn’t mat­ter if you don’t like Mar­mite!). It’s like smoky, but­tery gold spread that I wish I could buy in bulk.

The smoked duck ham was also a de­light. Some­thing so del­i­cate that takes over your taste­buds.

Oys­ters were next, pick­led in dill and ap­ple. I never thought oys­ters could taste like that. The dill was sweet and ap­ple sharp and dis­persed in small chunks over the oys­ter.

Next, curry cured bream with cu­cum­ber, pome­gran­ate and horse­rad­ish. That de­scrip­tion kind of un­der­sells it, but that also means you’ll be in for a real sur­prise when it comes to the ta­ble.

The dish was lined with de­cent slices of bream – I couldn’t quite taste the curry cured el­e­ment, but all the other flavours were prom­i­nent.

The horse­rad­ish was pre­sented as a sor­bet and now I think that’s the way horse­rad­ish should al­ways be pre­sented. It had bite and was light AND creamy. Impressive. The cu­cum­ber was dot­ted with mus­tard seeds and the pome­gran­ate was sprin­kled over the whole dish.

It was har­mo­nious in flavour, but was gen­uinely lovely and tasty.

Next up was the beef tartare with beet­root, driz­zled with mush­room and kale jus. Ten­der tartare was hid­den in the mid­dle of a long beet rib­bon. It was strong in flavour and colour. A nice ad­di­tion to the menu, but not my favourite.

As the taster menu pro­gressed, the cour­ses be­came a bit more sub­stan­tial and no more ev­i­dent than the fried pol­lock served in warm but­ter­milk tar­tar with chard and lime.

An­other show­case prov­ing Tommy’s tal­ent with fish, this was mouth­wa­ter­ing. The bat­ter was crisp and the fish fell apart like a del­i­cate rose de­spite be­ing sub­stan­tial enough to sink your teeth into. The sur­round­ing but­ter­milk added a rich­ness that made it pure com­fort food.

I was ex­cited about dish num­ber seven. It was a vari­a­tion on the fish course that Tommy was cook­ing on that night’s episode of Great Bri­tish Menu. In­stead of hake, though, we had cod and it was served with its old chums cau­li­flower, pot­ted shrimp, cider buerre noisette. The cod broke to the touch and was de­li­cious. The ac­com­pa­ny­ing bits and bobs made it com­pe­ti­tion wor­thy when all el­e­ments were eaten to­gether.

Lamb was next. Oh, and I’ll be back for this. Barbecued and served with an­chovies and sea veg­eta­bles, the lamb was like silk. So ten­der and of a qual­ity so high, it was beau­ti­ful.

The an­chovies brought out the bril­liant salt taste of the meat and the jus was just in­cred­i­ble. As I ate the lamb, I cut it smaller and smaller so it would last longer.

The last two cour­ses were desserts and what a way to end the taster menu. One, a sort of up­side-down crum­ble topped with Earl Grey cus­tard, the other, a salted caramel par­fait with malt and yo­gurt sor­bet.

I love crum­ble. This was nutty and crunchy and topped with fresh tart fruit. The cus­tard was so, so light. De­li­cious.

The salted caramel was pre­sented with hon­ey­comb, eat­ing it with a mouth­ful of ev­ery el­e­ment blew me away. The burnt caramel of the hon­ey­comb, matched with the fresh sor­bet and with the salted caramel com­ing through, wow.

At first, the cour­ses seemed a bit rushed – we were mid­way through one course when the next came out. Then, af­ter the savoury cour­ses there was a longer wait – we needed it, mind – be­fore the desserts.

Heaney’s looks bril­liant. The bar is re­ally cool. There’s a big mu­ral of a woman’s face at one end, scat­tered pic­tures of mu­sic leg­ends and the fur­ni­ture is classy and com­fort­able. ■ Heaney’s Res­tau­rant is at 6-10 Romilly Cres­cent, Cardiff, CF11 9NP. Visit www.heaneyscardiff.co.uk

BBQ lamb

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