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One of Kent’s hottest new restaurants, Saltwood on the Green located near Hythe on the south coast, is to host a special gourmet evening to showcase new dishes for Spring 2015, with a selection of stunning South African wines, on Tuesday 24th February.
The renowned Robin Davis - founder of the award-winning London-based SWIG wine merchants, who has recently returned from a buying trip to South Africa – will be serving two wines to accompany each of the evening’s four courses.
“The winemaking scene in South Africa is more dynamic currently than any of the other big three Southern hemisphere producers. So it’s a very exciting time to be surfing the wave,” said Davis who has won specialist South African Merchant for four years in succession,” and added, “South Africa walks a line between old world and new world with a slight leaning to the old – the wines have fullness of flavour, that sometimes the old world can lack, but they have freshness too, which is so important when drinking a wine through a meal.”
The special gourmet evening begins with diners being presented with one of the restaurant’s speciality artisan cocktails upon arrival at 7.30pm. This is the first such dinner at Saltwood on the Green and will become a regular event on the last Tuesday each month.
The starter of Crispy pork, langoustine, compressed apple, shellfish butter is paired with a Secateurs Chenin and a Cape white blend. Shellfish is deemed a natural pair with both wines. The first wine is described as having “characteristics of Apple strudel or crumble.” The second promises to “play on the apple and zest and bring in lightly pickled compressed apple with cider-based vinaigrette.” To compliment the hint of richness the shellfish butter is a natural and the crispy pork works both richness and adds a textural contrast.
The second course of Wild sea bass, smoked skin, roasted grapes, confit leek accompanied by a Savage white and a Johan Meyer Chardonnay. These wines are described as having “hints of lime and white fruits with mineral notes and the Chardonnay is lightly oaky with citrus notes.” The wines have been selected to compliment the smoking elements of the dish compliments the wines. The confit leek adds weight to an otherwise quite light dish. The grapes give a nod to the wines and still contrast them by concentrating their flavour during roasting.
A Mullineux Syrah and a Badenhorst Family red will served with the mains of Boudin noir, spelt, broccoli and mushroom ketchup. The wines’ full bodied and spicy notes of black currant crushed black pepper and thyme “scream game”. The duck and venison sausage will be complimented by the earthiness of the spelt, with chef-owner Jeff Kipp’s mushroom ketchup “bringing balance using a touch of acidity and sweetn ess.”
Afters will be a locally made Hofel-K cheese with crispy Kent pear ravioli served with a Keermont Estate Red, Stellenbosch 2012 and Mullineux Straw Wine, Swartland 2013. “This is a crossover dish, showing the versatility of the wines and the cheese, said Saltwood on the Green chef-owner Jeff Kipp. “The cheese is done in a Swiss style suggesting richness and has a sweet almost nutty finish. The ravioli’s roasted pear filling brings out the best of both the wine and the cheese, with notes of “honey, golden syrup and mandarin
Following a traditional recipe for a Swiss mountain cheese Hofel-K, made by Jerry and Judy Wilson at Ottinge Court Farm, and is matured for a minimum of 2 years. The close textured, cooked paste cheese has a very long flavour, with a pronounced development of salt and sweetness, with “complex buttery and nutty notes.”
Led by American-born owner chef Jeff Kipp (ex Gordon Ramsay, Duck & Waffle, Sushi Samba and Charlie Trotter’s) Saltwood on the Green is fast gaining a reputation simple, but exciting, cooking with an emphasis on light bites and sharing plates. Kipp creates enticing modern British dishes with a contemporary American twist, utilising the best the abundance of local ingredients from carefully chosen producers.
Before opening Saltwood on the Green quietly last year, Kipp claims to h ave “Done the hard work up front having spent time to painstakingly locate the best suppliers and ingredients,” adding, “Working with the seasons, the dishes create themselves – all you have to do is get out of the way.”
Challenging tradition, but with a respect for original methods of curing and preserving in his dishes, Kipp like to create something “a bit different” with his love for forgotten cuts and like: Lamb Sweetbread Fritters with pickled tongue, peas and radish.”
“After 10 years of building other people’s dreams in London, I wanted to spend less time commuting and more time with my family and supporting our beautiful village – living my dream,” explained Jeff. “My contribution will be a place where the town can enjoy the flavours of a ‘perfect’ ingredient, great wine, good company and a comfortable setting.”
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