Since this post was written, The Living Room has closed.
It’s rare that I turn up half an hour early, but for the Dining in the Dark event at The Living Room I did. It wasn’t intentional but a happy coincidence since it gave me plenty of time to sit back, relax and fight with my phones. The screen on my main phone was dying and I was having problems getting my ancient iPhone back up and running. And I needed at least one of them to do its business because I was there to taste the new menu and wanted to tweet about it as I did.
As it turns out, tweeting with a blind fold is, well, difficult. So is tasting. This is how it worked:
- We put on blindfolds and tasted a morsel of food.
- We took the blindfold off again and answered a question on what we’d just eaten.
- Repeat through starters, mains, deserts and drinks.
It was great fun and somewhat disconcerting. We sat there, sniffing food stuffs, tasting them, and trying, desperately, to separate and recognise flavours. It was a bit of a competition and, much to my surprise, I took home the trophy. I thought Total Food Geeks‘ Georgia had it in the bag, honestly I did.
To the menu. This is what we tried:
- Butternut squash, dolcelatte, walnut and honey tart. I think we all got butternut squash and blue cheese but my first blind tasting had me confused enough to hope that “pastry” was a point-scoring ingredient. It wasn’t.
Moroccan spiced lamb with apricots, dates and almonds, served with giant couscous. The lamb’s spiced with cinnamon, cardamon and other delicate spices but not, as I guessed, mint. Note to self: mint’s not a spice but a herb.
- Duck breast with szechuan pepper and plum chutney, chili fried bok choi and sweet potato fondant. I guessed wrong on the plum chutney because I enjoyed the sweet potato so much I forgot to taste anything else properly…
Blue cheese and port, garlic and parsley and Bloody Mary butters for steak. This was probably the only dish we didn’t all eat everything off. Nibble the butter than put it down. It felt deeply decadent to be tasting butters on their own. They all had good flavour but I failed to get any of the ingredients of the Bloody Mary one right.
- Venison shepherd pie with chestnut savoy cabbage. Mm. If I was a shepherd I’d want to herd venison too. It is nice under a potato blanket.
- Pan-fried sea bass and orange scented broccoli with a lentil casserole. Fish is tricky. It was very tasty but I failed to get closer than “it was a white one”.
- Homemade Glamorgan sausage with sage and onion soubise, braised lentils and mash. Could we name the sausage ingredients? Not easily and arguably I cheated by adding onion and black pepper to my list… The whole was soothing and rich.
Passion fruit and coconut cremé brulé. The coconut was really subtle – I guessed vanilla – and the brulé was perfectly crunchy. I think this is one of those dishes that are best served in tiny portions. I was quite happy with my three mouthfuls.
- Basil Grande – an adult Eton mess style concoction of basil, cream, meringue, strawberries, and Grand Marnier that I think I might make at home. It was luscious!
- Cheese board. Yes! We could name the hard, white and blue cheeses served to us. I think this was the easiest challenge.
The Living Room
113-115 George Street
Edinburgh, Midlothian, EH2 4JN
Phone: 0131 226 0880
Thank you to Kondrad Mielniczuk at Meow Studios for the images.