Swine Dining: This unusual meal gives ‘hogging’ a whole new meaning
Statutory warning: Those who are queasy about eating pork or talk that revolves around the ‘spare parts’ of animals, and those who don’t go weak in the knees just thinking about bacon should probably not read further.
Last week, I went to a dinner tellingly entitled ‘Swine Dining’. Yes, you guessed right, it was an entire meal dedicated to pork. This is a concept ideated by Chef Gresham Fernandes of Smoke House Deli and it is a moveable feast. Swine Dining travels between Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, catering to groups of about 20 devoted pork lovers who sit down to a community-style meal whenever the chef decides to go the whole hog.
The hogfest at the Lavelle Road outlet of Smoke House Deli, Bangalore, had a rustic French theme and began with pass-around canapés all of which had pork ingredients: flaky vol au vent stuffed with fricassee of pork and mushrooms, ham and cheese on crusty slices of baguette and mini choux buns.
The entree, a collection of French country classics on a single plate, could well have been a grape-picker’s meal in Reims. The plate, otherwise unadorned, held spicy sausage, a small wedge of brie, a quenelle of pork liver pate, a meat loaf using off cuts of pork and a pork terrine topped with caramelized onions which sent those who had just begun to pig out into ecstasy.
Chef Gresham, a self-confessed pork fan, flitted in and out of the kitchen, urging diners to get their fingers dirty while they tucked in. Next came the main courses in large, sharing bowls, an extravagance of pork: the meat cooked in white wine, cream and mustard, a peasant dish of choucroute with sausage and apples and a just-out-of-the-oven ham and cheese quiche.
The best was yet to come: a massive pork loin stuffed with figs and accompanied by a rich fruity sauce. Then, a whole pork belly with crackling that would have had George and Gary of MasterChef Australia raving. Crisp, buttery, rich it was deliciously crunchy, and few seemed to care that it was an artery-clogger.
Chef Gresham’s pork-flavoured desserts include bacon ice cream and chocolate cake with salty bacon bits. No one seems to complain that it’s too much of a good thing!
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