Sunday, 17 September 2017

The Andi Walker Pop Up Experience

If you are a fan of TV's Master Chef you will already know the name Andi Walker. Andi fought his way to the semi-finals in the 2015 rounds of the popular show and now you can experience his food first hand by enjoying a six course tasting menu inspired by local Essex produce. I was lucky enough to be invited down to the Riverside Inn in Chelmsford for a foodie adventure of my own and I can tell you I was not disappointed. 

Andi is now showcasing his wealth of experience within the food industry at his pop up restaurant with an ever changing six course menu buzzing with creativity, which will keep you interested for the duration. 

Every Monday a new menu is created completely dependant on what ingredients Andi is able to source fresh and locally. Andi mentioned that one week all he had for starter was carrots... that really was a chance to get creative! When it comes to the idea's behind each menu Andi mainly takes inspiration from his travels, he picked up a lot of new and exciting idea's when he had the chance to travel the world. 

 I have respect for anywhere that serves me snacks before my starter, you instantly know you are in the right place. We was treated to leek bhajis, dehydrated roasted artichokes which were deep fried and filled with mushroom ketchup. The mushroom ketchup was nothing like anything I had tried before, it was such a welcome addition to the dish. Everything was served alongside pork cracking with thyme salt. I am already a crackling fan and this was 'gourmet' pork cracking.

To follow Andi served fresh sour dough bread accompanied by his signature Marmite butter. Marmite is known for its love or hate reactions and our table was no exception, which left more for me to scoff sample. I could have handled the marmite flavour stronger, but I am someone who eats it off a spoon... stop judging me! 

 The flavours of the third course were probably my favourite of the night. Salt-baked celeriac, seved with mustard, pickled onions, fresh bramley and granny smith apple, celery cress and truffle oil. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I had never tried celeriac before and was pleasantly surprised, the heat of the mustard really came through enriching all of the flavours. 

The main was free range chicken breast, which was dried overnight and brined in salt and sugar water, it was then blow torched and roasted. The kiev alongside it was braised leg meat wrapped in smoked garlic butter and cover in breadcrumbs. The chicken was served with mushroom puree, which I loved. I am such a fan of a the flavour of mushroom I would happily replace all future condiments with this new found delight. 

To finish peanut butter ice cream served beside chocolate delice and caramelised peanuts. This was as delicious as it sounds. We was served just enough to not make you feel like you had over done it, as the desert was quite rich. Honestly I probably could have eaten at least one more though. 

Everyone who attended the event were served in one sitting which was quite a big ask of Andi, who had only an assistant to help him plate up on this night. Usually Andi works alone, with serving staff to help him deliver each dish. Andi did mention that he would have liked more time to make sure each dish was presented just right, he definitely comes across as a perfectionist in not only his food but also in the passionate way he talks about his on going projects. 

If you consider yourself a foodie and would relish in a surprise menu you are able to join Andi now at the Riverside Inn. The restaurant only seats 30 therefore the atmosphere is guaranteed to be cosy. 

Bookings can be made by calling the Riverside Inn on 01245 266881. 


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