Food in the mood
Anthea Gerrie consults kosher caterers for menus to suit all styles of venues
SHOULDYOUbeguidedbymore than your tastebuds and budget when you select a menu for your simchah? Definitely. The style of the dishes you choose can play a big part in reinforcing the theme of your party, say leading kosher caterers. An elegant Japanese entrée, like Neil Samuels’s sesame-crusted tuna fillet with wasabi and ginger, would impress at a glamorous and sophisticated venue. Or Rachel Zeitlin of Zeitlin & Co proposes a trio of beef, combining a medallion of fillet with braised beef cheek and a salt beef croquette, while Steven Wolfisz favours a classic beef tournedos, resting on a crouton with chicken liver quenelle and red wine sauce. Adam Forman of Jason Millan suggests a cannon of lamb — an elegant construction created from the rack — with minted petits pois, pommes Parmentier and truffled chicken liver.
A very different kind of lamb dish would work for a country-style venue, says Zeitlin — an earthy lamb hotpot with roasted beetroot, confit shallot and garlic. Her head chef has also developed a chicken supreme scented with lemon thyme which would underscore the rustic theme, served with Savoy cabbage with caramelised shallots and spring onion mash.
Neil Samuels’ fruity cocktails — everything from Pimms cups to apple sours and lychee martinis — would also go down well in a country house hotel, likewise his fruity desserts, which include a pear and ginger tarte tatin with passionfruit sorbet and a lemon tart with blackcurrant sorbet.
Royale Cuisine suggests a hearty aged rib of beef with gratin potatoes, celeriac purée and baby onions, with a bourbon-scented pepper cream reduction.
In a theatrical venue, you could add to the drama by serving guests a shot with their canapés, while Jason Millan proposes a passionfruit cappucino, Neil Samuels suggests tequila, no less, to accompany an avocado spring roll with tomato salsa.
Royale Cuisine’s dramatic-looking slow-roasted beetroot and apple soup would make a fitting start to a meal which might continue with the caterer’s vodka-cured salmon and end with its special version of creme brûlée, tweaked with the addition of apple and raisin compote and dark rum salted caramel.
Rachel Zeitlin believes that a theatrical venue provides an ideal backdrop for the food-station concept, which could include a Chinese duck
pancake wagon and/or a mini-salt beef sandwich bar.
At a sports-themed barmitzvah, Samuels’ sausage and mash in mini-cups, or miniature hot dogs and burgers would be fun (vodka shots are suggested for the adults). Zeitlin thinks there is nothing more suitable for a sports-related venue than hearty fare like a beef and ale pie with horseradish mash and a vegetable medley, while Steven Wolfisz recommends a mixed barbecue featuring steaks and chicken alongside the burgers and bangers, plus corn on the cob and jacket potatoes.
When it comes to a particularly unusual venue, you want a bit more of that never-seen-before-ness in the food — Jason Millan’s chicken smoked over applewood and green tea served with grilled pineapple, sweet chili and passionfruit sauce is bound to be a hit with the barmitzvah/batmitzvah crowd.
Martin Spencer of Royale Cuisine says his company’s slow-cooked Scottish salmon with cauliflower curry, golden raisins and anchovy-infused jus would bring a fitting element of intrigue.
For family-style events, Zeitlin thinks a brisket braised in red wine, served with glazed carrots, tart cherries and potato rosti would set just the right tone, while Jason Millan proposes a lamb tagine with saffron couscous or a satay chicken salad with glazed cherries, fresh coriander and micro-leaves.
Zeitlin has her own idea for family-style chicken — roasting the bird whole with honey and sage and serving with apricot and pine-nut stuffing, cocotte potatoes and glazed root veg, while Steven Wolfisz prefers to serve individual boned demipoussins on a bed of potato rosti, with roast winter vegetables including parsnips, turnips, swede and carrots. Neil Samuels suggests roast lamb, simply drizzed with cranberry gravy, served with mushroom risotto and char-grilled vegetables, or slowroasted prime rib of beef with honey and mustard glaze, followed by sticky toffee pudding or a fruit crumble.
Royale Cuisine’s slow roasted beetroot and apple soup, garnished with deep-fried leeks, chives and cream