Friday, 22 March 2013

The Drunken Butcher

Drunken Butcher. It Sounds like it could be the title to a comedy horror film: think Hostel and The Hangover meet Masterchef.

Thankfully, in fact, it's the nickname of Ian, our supper club host for a night of porcine pleasure: The Joy of Pork. The first image to spring to mind was of a sauced butcher clumsily wielding a cleaver before accidentally chopping his own fingers off. I'm glad to say there were was no trip to A&E! 

After two bus trips and a short walk, we find ourselves in Sale much too early and, like icy vultures circling a dead hog, we walk around the block until it seems reasonable to approach. Ian's home is mercifully warm and there's a wonderful smell emanating from the kitchen. 

Tania from DineInOut greets us with a whisky prosecco and cherry cocktail and as other guests arrive we are treated to the lightest, most delicate pork scratchings (or chicharrones) and some insanely good soy pig cheeks - meltingly soft, rich and salty. The joy of pork indeed. 

We take our seats and, faced with the menu, can see Ian's commitment to using as much of the pig as possible: if you're going to eat meat then this is the sort of reverential treatment you should give the animal. Head, cheeks, skin and so on. If it's edible, use it.

Torchon of pig's head
The starter of torchon of pig's head is a great example of this philosophy. It's a unctuous combination of slow-cooked meat and fat (from the head) coated in breadcrumbs and fried. The accompanying cherry sauce and mustard helped cut through the richness with their sweet,tart and bitter notes. 

T-Bone, tenderloin and crackling
Ian is most certainly a perfectionist. His devotion to cooking is evident in the sheer volume of cookbooks on his dining room shelves. And, of course, in the food. The main of T-bone and tenderloin of pork was wonderfully cooked with the best crackling I've had in recent memory and a cauliflower gratin that was a (rather delicious!) meal in itself. It all met with unanimous praise.

Home-made Oreos
By this time we're all one or two sheets to the wind (Ian is rather generous with his between-courses shots!) and very full indeed, after second and third helpings of mains. The Scandinavian-stye pudding of plum and raisin soup with cinnamon icecream is a welcome refreshment - light and cooling and reminiscent of mulled wine. 

It just about gave us the much-needed boost to finish with the home-made Oreos and a bourbon milkshake. Ian made an impressive stab at recreating the popular American cookie; the milkshake was for me a creamy step too far after so much food though I would happily drink it again if I hadn't already eaten 3 courses!

But it's nothing a few untouched shots of bourbon wouldn't remedy. Somewhow Anna and I managed to be the last to leave (and miss our last bus in the process, doh!) - a testament to our host's welcoming nature and a very enjoyable evening. Ian even gave me a parting gift of some super fiery home-made hot sauce!

The Drunken Butcher will be running many more supper clubs in 2013 and you can find more events at DineInOut's EventBrite page.