When an email promoting the River Cottage dinner at Airfield Estate landed in my inbox it was a quick click through to purchase tickets as this was a dinner and experience I was not missing out on. Tickets were priced at €65pp with the River Cottage dinner the highlight of Airfield’s Festival of Food weekend. The dinner was to take place in Overends Restaurant with River Cottage chef, Gelf Alderson, curating a seasonal dining experience based on local ingredients from Airfield Estate.
On arrival, there was a glass of bubbly. We were shown to our table for 3 as it was me, my husband and mother-in-law. The atmosphere was light with a sense of anticipation for the experience to come. The evening started at 7pm so within a few minutes the restaurant was filling up quickly. A basket of delicious homemade breads (served in an Airfield paper bag) and butter came along first and then the canapes, starting with yellow split pea hummus. There was a slight gap then while tables around received further canapes yet nothing for us…feeling left out, we eventually asked, and a plate of beef sliders was delivered. I think we just got a little forgotten for a short while.
Before the meal properly started, the chef, Gelf Alderson took to the floor to talk about the menu. He spoke easily and fluidly to the different courses we were about to have. The wine list was short but good, we started with a carafe of white, choosing the VDP Gibault, Loire Valley (€18) followed by a bottle of red wine, Finca El Paso, Garnacha (€28.50). There was a few Irish beers and ciders on the menu also. The wine was not part of the ticket price, but the food and glass of prosecco were included.
To start, Airfield Roast Beetroots, Pickled Carrot, Labneh, Airfield Pea Shoots, Raspberries, Toasted Hazelnuts. A very colourful plate of food, everything worked so well together, I wouldn’t normally have raspberries for starter but the sweetness just complimented the beets and the nuttiness.
This was followed by Merquez Spiced Airfield Estate Lamb, Hot Smoked Onions, Garlic and Lemon Airfield Kale, Creamed Potatoes. The slow cooked lamb was unbelievably tasty, so flavoursome. The other piece of lamb was cooked perfectly pink, juicy and tender. Kale is normally very far down my list of things to eat, yet this was really good, it actually tasted of something!
For dessert, Warm Doughnuts, Lemon & Airfield Thyme Curd, Airfield Blackberry & Red Wine Ripple Ice-Cream, Airfield Fennel & Almond Praline. Even reading back these ingredients, I challenge anyone not to enjoy this dish… I loved the hint of savoury with thyme and fennel balanced by the blackberry and citrus. With tea & coffee a plate of petit fours to enjoy completed our meal.
It is a stunning setting with Overends Restaurant, a beautiful building sitting easily among the fields and farmlands of Airfield Estate. It blends in, in the best way possible to its surroundings. River Cottage and Airfield Estate excelled themselves with this experience, a thoroughly enjoyable evening for all.