I think that Balblair and Smoke & Dram have managed to mastermind one of the most tempting Father’s Day feasts I’ve ever had the pleasure of encountering. The genius of pairing the smokestack powerhouses with the smoky dram masters was completely inspired.
They came together to create a stunning four course Father’s Day foodie heaven in Dalston’s Mussel Men, who kindly lent their premises for the weekend to accommodate their smoky guests. A huge smoking barrel out the back was home to the main course, but we were greeted with a delicious Balblair cocktail to kick off with.
Raising eyebrows as well as smiles, the eye-catching Charcoal Venison Bun was as stunning as it was delicious. The soft, yielding bun was filled with tender smoked venison and dressed with a pipette of raspberry reduction and was an absolute dream, the murmurs of appreciation were audible above the crackling of the smoker.
For the next course we took our seats at the handsomely dressed tables and were introduced to Balblair by the charismatic John, who talked us through the brand heritage as the oldest working distillery in the Highlands. It perfectly matched palate to the next course up, the Ham & Langoustine, Pea Ravioli, Dulse Seaweed Shellfish broth. If you thought that was a mouthful, you should have tasted the rich layers of the dish itself, wonderfully complex flavours that worked perfectly together and complemented the smooth Balblair dram.
The main course was as much spectacle as anything – the crowds surrounding the smoking barrel were clamouring to photograph the hulks of beef as they emerged. It was positively caveman-esque. Huge slabs of whisky smoked Highland ribeye were gingerly lifted out and generously divided among the tables, accompanied by a carving knife and fork. Beautifully cooked, thick and juicy slabs in the most perfect pink graced our plates alongside tangy dressed green beans and moreish tatties. It has to be said, the ribeye stole the show though, the cut through from the exquisite Balblair only enhancing the flavour.
For dessert we were treated to a live demo from the Smoke & Dram lads of their Nitro Ice Cream – literally taking the Balblair and blending with ice cream base and below freezing nitro to churn the smoothest ice cream right in front of your eyes. Served up with a springy Banana & Raisin Bread, Toffee Granny Smith and dusted with Salted Shortbread Crumb, it rounded off a fantastic meal that exceeded all expectations.
We hope to raise a glass to another match made in the smoky clouds very soon.