We decided to tackle this cold and damp day with a morning stroll through Wandsworth Common (we opted not to knock on Gordon Ramsay’s door to enquire whether he was knocking up a rather good brekkie, smoked salmon and poached eggs perhaps, and could we join him?) and started humming U2′s ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’. Well actually Bono we have, we’ve found a few restaurant sites that we really like but what we haven’t found is the right price, agent or landlord to facilitate a deal.
Anyway, we decided to push that miserable fact to the back of our minds (we’ll find a site to open up in eventually) and think about what our restaurant will be like and the food we’ll serve and as we mused we got to thinking about signature dishes in restaurants.
For Ben’s Canteen we want a menu that changes daily (certainly for lunch and dinner, breakfast/brunch we’ll probably keep fairly steady with the odd wildcard inspiration from the Med or South America to spice things up) but should this prevent us from having a signature dish? We don’t think it should, it might not feature on our menu every single night but it’ll be there on a regular basis and it will quicken the pulses and start the belly rumbling when it is.
So what should our signature dish be? To some extent this needs to be decided with our chef, after all he needs to be excited about it rather than dread preparing and serving it up again and again. However, let’s put practicalities to one side and focus solely on the food for now.
We’re not going to do a Nobu Black Cod (we do like this dish although we have to say we find it hugely overrated and way overpriced).
and we think Pierre Koffman has got trotters locked down.
However, on the subject of swine, we are obsessed with pork, especially slow roasted pork belly. We haven’t tried it yet but The English Pig is famous for a 21 hour slow roasted pork belly and this in our opinion is definitely a belly rumbler and the sort of dish we’d love to have as a signature one.
We want British produce and food to be at the heart of our offering, perhaps then we should create the ultimate Steak and Ale pie or Lancashire Hotpot? Obviously some at this stage would suggest fish and chips but it’s not a dish we personally get too excited about. Now burgers, that’s something we love, but so many people have them as their signature that it’s probably not the road for us to go down. Likewise, steak and chips has probably been overdone and we think it would be hard to outdo our friends at Santa Maria del Sur in Battersea. Scotch Eggs, we adore them, The Harwood Arms has grown to fame (and quite rightly, it’s great) in part thanks to their Venison Scotch Egg, the really clever bit is that the egg is runny when served. Pork Pies are another favourite, the Pork and Blue Stilton ones by Mrs King literally rock our world.
Perhaps desserts is the path to pursue? Oozing warm chocolate with ice cream, Creme Brulee and the simple joy of cracking the top, mmm.
At this point we’d like to get your thoughts on signature dishes. What would make you leave the comfort of your sofa or rush from work to go and eat out? What’s the best signature dish you have enjoyed at a restaurant? We can’t guarantee that your recommendation will end up as our signature dish but we’ll promise to consider it, so please leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.