A bit like the paladares of Cuba or the puertas cerradas (meaning literally ‘closed door’) of Buenos Aires, ‘home-restaurants’ are taking off in the UK, particularly in London. I was holidaying in the distant capital at the weekend and I had the good fortune to be invited to Secret Kitchen, a monthly restaurant run by North London mega-foodie (and author of Eat Slow Britain) Anna Colquhoun.
It was all flawlessly prepared and presented, and endlessly creative and surprising. There was pecorino cheese with unforgettable truffle honey, wild garlic pesto lasagne, home-cured salami, zesty homemade limoncello…
In short, it was all the things you always hope a meal at a fancy restaurant will be, but so very rarely is – because the chef’s got 100 other covers to deal with, the waitress has a hangover, the sous-chef only started yesterday…
As with almost everything, in cooking, quality is to be found in small quantities produced from scratch by passionate people – which is why this home-restaurant, and so many others, works.
Soooo, I’ve been thinking: someone really should start one in Cornwall. I think the concept would work well in these parts because: a) everyone’s skint and it’s cheaper than eating out at a restaurant (and bring your own); b) Cornwall is the foodiest county outside London right now, and has incredible produce, c) because this is a word of mouth thing, and everything in Cornwall operates word of mouth (or the things that matter anyway).
Right, so, anyone fancy it?
(I’d do it myself, you understand, but I get deeply stressed if I have to cook for more than four people – let alone 25.)
Find out more about Anna and Secret Kitchen at http://www.culinaryanthropologist.org