Crumbs Presents: Menu Gordon Jones' surprise in the Square
by Jess Carter
09 July 2018
What do you get when you cross Menu Gordon Jones with the Bath Boules?
Some surprises are better than others. That whopper of a phone bill that’s come from nowhere? Not so great. A four-course, slap up dinner in the great British outdoors with the sun shining down on you, though, is much more welcome. Especially when said dinner is cooked by one of Bath’s most accomplished chefs.
Recently, we hosted our very first Crumbs Presents dinner to kick off annual charity event, the Bath Boules – and a pretty special night it was, too. Wide-eyed with excitement and the sense of possibility, we had plotted with Gordon Jones to take him out of his professional kitchen (at the much-celebrated Menu Gordon Jones, on Wellsway) and set the team up in Bath’s Queen Square, for an evening service that was very much out of the ordinary.
For starters, it was outdoors, obviously – save for the marquee that offered the necessary protection from the elements. Then there were the numbers; Gordon’s restaurant is a purposefully intimate venue with a small number of covers, meaning guests are close to the action and sometimes even get served by the chef himself. This was a whole new boule (ahem) game. Long communal tables stretched the length of the aptly decked out marquee underneath strings of fairy lights, ensuring there was space for all of the 100 or so diners who began piling in as the daytime faded into evening on a sunny June day.
Of course, we’d been trying to prize the menu out of him well before the evening, but this is Gordon Jones – he’s built a restaurant on the concept of surprises and secrets, and he’s wasn’t about to change his ways. Instead, we were enlightened, as he always intends, course by course.
At the bottom of a bowl of light, velvety cep mousse hid slices of chicken of the woods mushroom, while on the surface of the deliciously savoury pool was peppered finely sliced chives and deep purple petals. Duck came in crimson-coloured slices, on a bed of sweet and savory: red cabbage, pineapple, dark golden, crunchy cashews and peanut butter sauce. Eel and oxtail were unlikely buddies in the next dish; the soft, braised meat was sandwiched underneath a smoked fillet of the snake-like river beast, and on top of a caraway cabbage. Smooth mash and a rich jus pushed up the levels of comforting richness.
To finish was a pud worthy of any English summertime get together. Strawberries and cream came in the form of Cheddar strawb jelly topped with meringue, cream and berries, as well as a soft and sugary mini doughnut.
Along with his, ingredients, kit and restaurant team, Gordon had also brought along his A-game to the square, it seemed.
The team did good, eh?
Photos by Ben Robins