Kenny Atkinson's House of Tides in Newcastle upon Tyne hosted the first of The Caterer's Chef Eats Out events of 2017, in association with Continental Chef Supplies, welcoming 45 diners to feast on a spectacular 10-course menu. Katie Pathiaki joined the party.
House of Tides has experienced extraordinary success since opening in 2014. In fact, within 18 months of launching, owners Kenny and Abbie Atkinson had bagged a Michelin star, three AA rosettes and the 2015 Newcomer Award at the Cateys. Today, House of Tides, which is situated a stone's throw from the city's iconic Tyne Bridge, remains the only restaurant in Newcastle to hold a star.
It was fitting, then, that the sun was shining brightly on the quayside restaurant as 45 Chef Eats Out diners eagerly descended on it earlier this month. The Grade I-listed former merchant's townhouse was the perfect setting for an intimate meal between like-minded industry professionals. The lunch, held by The Caterer and supported by Continental Chef Supplies, kicked off in the light, airy and contemporary dining room upstairs.
Simon Hicks, head chef of the Lord Crewe Arms in Blanchland, Northumberland, was instantly taken by the snacks, commenting on their great flavour.
The rest of the meal continued at this exceptionally high level. Atkinson and Parker had created a 10-course menu that showcased the local produce of the North East through modern interpretations of classic dishes. Lindisfarne oyster with cucumber, ginger and caviar was followed by a mackerel, gooseberry and mustard dish. Both were paired with Pol Roger Brut Reserve Champagne. Quiet sounds of amusement echoed around the room as the guests studied the unusual plate - a Pordamsa High Resistance Glass Plate filled with sand.
n Calton, chef-patron of fellow Catey Newcomer winner the Staith House in nearby North Shields, said: "The snacks at the beginning of the meal were delicious and I also really enjoyed the oyster with ginger and cucumber. However, my favourite so far has to be the mackerel dish because it gives a nod to the North East."
Agreeing with Calton, Alan Boslom, owner of Lanarkshire-based Big Bite Catering, said: "I thought the mackerel was superb. It's such an underused product, and it always works with gooseberries."
Next, fermented rye bread with a cultured butter, parsnip and mussel curry had a nostalgic, homely feel to it, with many diners using the bread to mop up the sauce.
Ryan Longmuir, owner of Regis Banqueting in Cumbernauld, said: "I really enjoyed it all; the oyster was really tasty on its own and I think the curried parsnip with the mussels was lovely. It's a relaxed restaurant and it's very welcoming."
The intermediate course, scallop with lovage and truffle, was served with a variety of apple textures, delivering bursts of fresh flavour. It was served with a Jean-Max Roger Sancerre Cuvée "Les Caillottes", which contrasted perfectly with the acidity of the apple. The course was served on a Jars Neige round plate.
ing good use of the seasonal produce, the next course, a land and sea dish of sea bass and chicken, was served with artichoke and hazelnuts. The wine pairing of Markus Molitor Kabinett Riesling hit the mark - the sweetness complementing the sweet, crispy chicken.
Rounding off the first part of the menu was a dish of dry-aged Goosnargh duck with carrot and parsley. Although not stated on the menu, the chefs instantly picked up on the fennel dusting on the skin.
Atkinson wanted to host the event for The Caterer readers to highlight his celebrated cuisine. He said: "The menu was made up of ingredients that were in season and dishes that we wanted to showcase. Of course, we didn't want to do a traditional four-course lunch menu because we wanted to make it special - we've got people here who have travelled from Bristol and Scotland! We wanted to effectively show what we do. We have a lot of accolades, but we want to prove why we have got them. The main thing really was we wanted to promote the North East as a place where you don't just come to have a drink.
"These events are good; not just to bring chefs to Newcastle, but to network. It's what the industry is about - the more we mingle, the better we are going to become. It's a great industry, but it's a dying industry, so we need to keep pushing and promoting it."
The desserts kicked off with a pre-dessert of blood orange jelly with chocolate sorbet, chocolate soil and dehydrated tuile with the star ingredient of the day, fennel, served in a quirky Zieher double-walled, half-moon glass bowl.
The next dessert took one chef back to a time when he would buy parma violets from the local shop. Yorkshire rhubarb was accompanied by white chocolate and violet sorbet and paired with De Trafford Straw Wine.
Sarah Oliver, assistant general manager of Kesgrave Hall, summed up the menu: "There is such a variety of flavours and styles. We didn't know what to expect, but that's nice - we weren't told 'this is what kind of food you're going to eat'. Instead, it's been very mixed."
The presentation of the final sweet had chefs asking Atkinson about the process and tools needed to create the same style of chocolate, filled with salted caramel. The chocolates were embossed with 'HoT' - a proud sign-off from the restaurant.
Atkinson started his career at Ravensdene Lodge hotel in Gateshead, an operation run by his uncle, while studying at Newcastle upon Tyne College.
In 1996 he enjoyed a five- month stint in Malia, Crete, before returning home to take on the role of commis chef at the Vermont Hotel in Newcastle upon Tyne. Atkinson then worked at Wood Norton Hall in Evesham, Worcester, and took a role as first commis chef at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London.
Other notable appointments include junior sous chef at the London Marriott County Hall and sous chef and head chef posts at the Greenway hotel and spa in Shurdington, Gloucestershire, where he won three AA rosettes.
inson won his first Michelin star in 2006 during his time at St Martin's hotel on the Isles of Scilly. He picked up the Hotel Chef of the Year Award (fewer than 250 covers) at the Hotel Cateys while at the White Room at County Durham's Seaham Hall hotel.
He appeared on the BBC Two show, Great British Menu in 2009 and 2010 when his dishes went through to the final banquet.
In February 2014 Atkinson and his wife, Abbie, opened the House of Tides. In 2015, he was awarded a Michelin star, three AA rosettes and the Newcomer Award at the 2015 Cateys.
1. Canapés: lamb, mint, sheeps' milk; carrot, fennel, meringue; and onion, cream cheese, truffle on Zieher cone stands & bespoke side plate for House of Tides by 1265 Degrees North
Pol Roger Brut Vintage, Épernay, Champagne, France 2006
2. Mackerel, gooseberry, mustard on Pordamsa high resistance glass plate (Natural Sand)
3. Lindisfarne oyster cucumber, ginger, caviar on Zieher Goa spoon
Pol Roger Brut Reserve, Épernay, Champagne, France NV
4. Fermented rye bread, cultured butter, parsnip, mussels, curry on Vista Alegre Mineral round plate
5. Sea bass, artichoke, chicken wing, hazelnut
Markus Molitor Kabinett Riesling, Wehlener Klosterberg, Mosel, Germany 2014
6. Scallop, apple, lovage, truffle on Jars Neige round plate
Jean-Max Roger Cuvée 'Les Caillottes', Sancerre, Loire Valley, France 2015
7. Dry-aged Goosnargh, carrot, parsley on Jars Plume Plate in Perle
Pinot Noir, Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Los Carneros, Napa Valley, California, USA 2012
8. Yorkshire rhubarb, white chocolate, violets
De Trafford Straw Wine, Stellenbosch, South Africa '3 Vintages'
9. Pre dessert: blood orange jelly, orange rind, chocolate sorbet, chocolate soil, dehydrated tuile, fennel on Zieher double-walled glass half moon bowl
colate, salted caramel
A message from our sponsor
"We were thrilled to sponsor the latest Chef Eats Out event at House of Tides, Newcastle.
"The locality, the fascinating history behind the restaurant and Kenny's unique approach to honest cooking carefully matches our values of delivering the very best products and service to our customers.
"We're always committed to delivering the finest quality catering equipment, innovative tableware and professional chef-wear within the catering and hospitality sector. As a respected and trusted distributor to House of Tides, it seemed a perfect opportunity to collaborate with Kenny and his team, and the positive feedback from diners surrounding our new presentation concepts was great to hear.
"It was an invaluable opportunity for The Caterer and its readers to visit the area and experience first-hand the undeniable quality of fine-dining establishments we have in the North East. We are a proud region full of talent and it's a pleasure to be part of House of Tides' continual success."
Paul Brown, managing director, Continental Chef Supplies