An exclusive event took place today at The Barbican Conservatory. The event was all about Barley and Beer paired together. Barley is a superfood, and as we all know, a lot of us are now incorporating superfoods into our diets.
Beer is made out of Barley, I’m not saying you should drink a pint everyday, but it does go really well with certain dishes. At the event, Beer Sommelier Jane Peyton was there to give us a lesson in the history behind beer, different kinds, brands, largers, pilsner, ale etc. Some beer is made out of wheat and all that jazz. Now for me to get into this event, was a real game tester on Yelp London, Nuella the lovely organiser set a question to everyone: tell us your super hero power you wish you had? So mine obviously was: Having my hands as whisks so I can quickly whip up some cakes and buttercream in a flash! 28 people applied only 6 made the list :p – those with super cool super powers.
I hadn’t even heard of this event, and I was quite curious to why it was free………Not that I’m complaining, I mean I lurve all things free!!
Menu composed by Jimmy Doherty of Jimmy’s farm, Food Unwrapped, Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feasts. He has his own farm in Suffolk and picked the barley from there to use in the dishes which were presented to us today. There was a group of 30 odd, two sittings, I was in the 2:30pm sitting, the last one!
The setting was beautiful, at the Conservatory inside the Barbican, perfect setting for lunch, could hear all the white noise of the creatures, and random jazz music in the background…… (odd)…….being surrounded by the luscious greenary really did set the perfect scene!
Now to begin the 6 course tasting menu, it was all paired with the speciality beer….
1. Stella Artois cured salmon with pickled cucumber and horseradish cream served with Stella Artois barley crispbreads. Out of breath already typing that…. This dish apparently was cooked without heat, the salmon was cured in the Stella. I mean for a starter or taster it looked okay, pretty small, smelt very fishy.
Now the real verdict – bland bland bland and so boring!!! Ahh gawd, there was no taste in the salmon, I mean you literally couldn’t taste it!!! The pickled cucumber was so overpowering that it overtook all your senses and tastebuds! Nahhhhdduuuhh, and that crisp bread, way too hard!! But the Stella was good 🙂 Beer notes of bread and sweet malt with a lightly spiced crisp bitterness.
2. Soft yolk vegetarian Scotch Egg with Boddingtons Tomato Chilli Chutney – Please this dish was the best best best out the whole lot, okay maybe not the whole lot, but the bestest!!!!! It was paired with Boddington’s beer – which I kid you not, is bloody amazeballs! But that tomato chilli chutney – saaayy waaaaaa, too good, not tasted anything like that before. I hope my mum doesn’t read this – she might chase me down with a flip-flop (haha) Unlucky for me though, there was no runny yolk – gaaahhhh! But its ok, the chutney made up for it! Beer notes of malty sweet caramel balanced with a light fruity bitterness.
3. Budweiser Barley summer vegetable risotto – The worst dish on the menu!!! It lacked flavour and seasoning, was very rich, drenched in oil and mascarpone! All I could taste was cheese, way too overpowering! It smelt so delicious, like comfort food on a cold winter day, but as I went to taste it – urgh! The asparagus was the only thing I picked out! But the rest I left – not for me, and won’t be making or eating it any time soon. The texture is just weird, and its also chewy! Beer notes of grass, lemon with a crisp bitterness. Budweiser takes 30 days to brew – twice as long as most other beers and is aged over beech wood chips for 21 days to mature the beer’s flavour.
4. Spaton Helles signature summer sausage & mustard pearl barley hot pots – winter comfort right thurrrr!!! Nice morish pot, very flavoursome, making you go back for more. Something your mum makes you when you’re bunged up with a cold, the sausage was beautiful, I needed more. They went a bit overboard with the mint though, as that was the lingering taste at the back of my throat……..but hey hoh, I still enjoyed it, and the extra lemon helped break up the flavour palatte. The potatoes didn’t really play any part in it – I would have personally left it out! The beer match again was really good, smooth and very drinkable. Beer notes of light citrus with sweet malty biscuits and a crisp bitter finish.
5. Toasted barley ice cream with Leffe Brune salted caramel sauce, maple syrup glazed pancetta and barley crumble – OHHHHH MY GAAWWWDDDDDD, I have eaten a heck of a lot desserts in my time, but this hit the nail on the head!!!! It is everything your heart desires, I kid you not, that barley malty ice cream was perfect, yes it was a bit solid, hard, been in the freezer for too long, but oh my word that salted caramel sauce was better than sex itself! The maple glazed pancetta just did it for me, the sweet and salty combination was by far the best dish on the menu! The barley crumble was a bit meh – tasted like a normal crumble, but who cares! And the beer itself was a dessert, hints of toffee, chocolate and dried fruit with a subtle sweet finish. Gimme more!!!!!
6. Vanilla yogurt panacotta with Goose Island IPA Strawberry Soup and Barley Flapjack – it looked really good, also tasted nice, but nothing special to be honest. Yogurt panacotta was ok, the soup was nice, but the beer with this dessert, noooooo! What were they thinking, the dessert itself was sweetish, but the Goose IPA made it really bitter. The beer is better on its own, light, refreshing, notes of grapefruit and grass.
I actually had a really nice time, I hadn’t laughed in ages, met some really cool people, and saved the best for last, the goody bag, yes thats right!!! Wait for it…….
Received full bottles of the beers I tasted, as well as full recipe cards of all the dishes, that amazingly delicious tomato chilli chutney, mini cute bag of barley, and stella artois crispbreads! What a great way to end a fabulous hosted lunch.