Disclaimer: we paid full price for tickets to attend this, but I wanted to share the experience with you, so all views, regardless of whether it’s an AD or not, are my own.
Did you celebrate Valentine’s Day? We usually don’t and our typical Valentine’s Day is spent in front of the telly, with dinner and a bottle of wine.
But on this occasion, when I saw that Burnt Lemon Chefs was coming to Ten Hands Cafe Bar, which as you know is my local coffee shop, I saw an opportunity to try something completely different – but not because it was Valentine’s Day, but simply because it was a nice excuse for a date night.
Burnt Lemon Chefs specialise in dinner parties, weddings, events, and pop-up’s across Northamptonshire and Cambridgeshire and is headed up by James Peck, who you may have seen on BBC Two’s The Chef’s Brigade.
I have been a long time admirer of James’ work and unfortunately have never been able to attend any of his events, due to them being a bit far away – so when the opportunity came that he and his team were coming to Towcester, I had to book!
Ten Hands Cafe Bar is my local and I love going there for coffee, brunch, lunch and I love working in there too as the staff always make me feel welcome – they have just recently started opening on Friday & Saturday nights for their pizza nights, so to see Ten Hands come to life in the evening was a totally new experience for me.
For this occasion, we got to try Burnt Lemon Chefs tasting menu, which was put together especially for Valentine’s Day, which consisted of canapes, 6 courses and wine pairings – what a way to celebrate (even if you don’t celebrate!)
Here is what occurred during the evening:
Canapes on arrival
The evening started with arriving at Ten Hands, being greeted by the TH staff and Burnt Lemon staff, followed by being offered a glass of prosecco and an array of canapes.
From Beef, Local Beer and Egg Yolk, Truffle sandwich & parmesan, to Tandoor Fired Chicken & Edamame – all offering different flavours, textures and were a nice appetizer before the main event.
You could tell from the first instant that James and the Burnt Lemon Chefs team are very experimental when it comes to their taste and texture combinations, often surprising you and intrige you with what is about to come next…
It was time to sit down and Ten Hands truly came to life at night, with the white table cloths, the dim romantic mood lighting and the elegant touch of the yellow roses.
The atmosphere was cosy, intimate and didn’t feel too intimidating and there were plenty of people there to enjoy a romantic and special evening…
Would you put scallops and chicken on a plate together? Because it’s not something I would put together!
But it was INCREDIBLE.
We enjoyed a plate of Roast Scallop, Smoked Boneless Chicken Wing, BBQ Corn & Hazelnut, yoghurt and pickled chilli is a mouthful to say as a sentence, yet the actual dish was simple but effective.
The scallops were beautifully cooked, probably the best I’ve had in a while, along with the smoked boneless chicken wing gave it such a smokey flavour, with the added heat coming from the pickled chilli – it was smooth, delicate but really well put together – a great start!
All the different colours were also really admiring too – it really was a work of art.
Just from the look of what was on the menu; my mouth was already watering!
The main was Aged Beef Onglet cooked over coal, tandoori roast shallot, onion bhaji, curry oil & coal fried aubergine with black garlic emulsion.
It was all so much in terms of what was on the plate, but once again, what Burnt Lemon Chefs do incredibly well is turn simple ingredients into something extraordinary.
Though it was small and compact in size, the taste was huge! The beef was a nice medium-rare, so not too soft, but not too tough either and mixed in with the black garlic emulsion and the crispy onion bhaji, it gave a very classic dish a whole new twist.
The whole dish had a curry essence to it, which was really different and I couldn’t get over how moist the aubergine and the tandoori roast shallot was!
And finally, the dessert was the MOST indulgent dish of the night, and most probably my highlight!
Dessert was a Chocolate Delice, black olive caramel, black olive & chocolate crumb, Italian meringue & dulce de leche. Lots of soft and crunchy textures which made this the ultimate dessert!
The bitterness of the black olive was a great way to cut through all the chocolatey sweetness of the chocolate, making the dessert not too sickly sweet. But the meringue added a sense of creaminess and subtle tones to the whole dessert.
Everything just melted in my mouth and it was glorious.
Petit Fours and Coffee
You always have a bit of room afterwards to nibble and drink something.
We finished the evening with a selection of Petit Fours, which were ‘the best of 3’ consisting of small delicate chocolates of different fillings, from orange, mint and white chocolate and strawberry. It was the perfect end to the evening.
It also felt very fitting to have a coffee at Ten Hands, as it was a very different experience to be dining in the evening as opposed to in the daytime – granted, it was decaf, as I am lame when it comes to having caffeine late at night!
Overall, it was a completely new experience for us to go out on Valentine’s Day to enjoy a fine dining styled tasting menu in a pop-up location.
For the price we paid (£70pp) it was a bit over our price range compared to what we would usually pay for a night out, however, it was for a special occasion and we went away feeling really satisfied over the food, service and event.
I seriously hope Burnt Lemon Chefs and Ten Hands Cafe Bar do something again together in the future, as it’s a great venue for something as intimate as this and there’s a lot of potential for more events.