One phenomenon of the Christmas dinner (besides the pig in blanket) is its capability to change depending on whose hands it’s crafted in. Despite being constructed of the same components, somehow each home holds its own flavour – from the attributes of the gravy to the adornments on the Brussel sprouts. Crisp and fluffy roast potatoes, sausage meat stuffing and sharp cranberry sauce, it’s all the same – is it not? And although home cooks may share their culinary secrets, these are ideas merely borrowed, never replicated, making each Christmas dinner unique.
From sordid ingredients to poor pallet preferences, family favoured recipes aren’t always worthy of ovation but the nostalgia they hold is more valuable than a Michelin star. We asked the likes of The Potted Pig and Porro, who know their way around a kitchen, what the Christmas dinners in which they were weaned entailed.
David Watson, sous chef tells a tales of his mother’s culinary genius. With the menu finalised and a stringent strategy already in place (it’s evident this isn’t her first rodeo) the kitchen is strictly out of bounds come Christmas day. As a nation devout to tradition, the turkey still remains the centrepiece of most celebrations but not for the Watson’s! This year it’s venison accompanied by anything-but-traditional trimmings. And of course, the Christmas pudding was made months ago!
However some of our chefs came from much humbler beginnings. When asked what his mum’s Christmas dinners consisted of, Rhodri Davies, chef at The Potted Pig exclaimed “Overdone veg! The first time I had veg al dente I was convinced it was raw […] my mum didn’t think veg was done unless it was mush. My Sunday roasts were average at best and Christmas dinner was no exception.” Jane Davies, albeit “a saint”, leaves the Christmas dinner to Rhodri these days.
Christmas isn’t Christmas without the pre-dinner pandemonium and it’s no different in our Shannon Daly’s house. Red of face as well as hand, her Dad’s braised red cabbage and apple is the real star of the show…sometimes. “Delicious when done right but many years has highlighted the delightful incompetence of my dad […] red cabbage, if overcooked, has this tendency to turn an inky blue but we eat it anyway for fear of stressing him out any further!”.
So whether it’s your mum’s mushy vegetables or your dad’s blue cabbage that you’ve grown to love, why not leave it to the professionals this year and dine at one of our fabulous restaurants? Each of our restaurants have crafted and created unique and equally delicious Christmas menus so you can indulge in the most festive of feasts. So if it’s a relaxing restaurant Christmas party or a festive lunch before a big night out, we’ve a handful of places to play host such as The Meating Place, The Potted Pig and Porro.
An article by Bryony Fenton