Scotch Beef Feast Date Night
Mr Kay and I don't get out much these days, well, not without the kids, so when we received an invitation to the Scotch Beef Feast at Plateau, Canary Wharf, we jumped at the chance. The opportunity to eat beef and drink wine in adult company is a rare one these days.
The Scotch Beef Feast was a fabulous and unforgettable evening, for the food, wine and company. Allan Pickett, head chef of Plateau, created a unique Scotch Beef PGI (protected geographical indication - will explain more about this later) sample menu for the evening, and each dish was expertly matched with the perfect wine. Laurent Vernet and Suzie Carlaw from Scotch Beef joined us (there were around 20 other food bloggers and journalists) to explain what makes Scotch Beef special in a fun and interactive way.
The food was out of this world, some of the best and most creative dishes I've ever eaten. The first dish, Tartare of Scotch Beef PGI, quails egg yolk, onion bread croûtes was paired with 2011 Casamatta Rosso Bibi Greatz (Tuscany). As the beef was raw, and not over seasoned, you could really appreciate it's rich strong flavour.
The second dish, Oxtail Tortellini in Scotch Beef PGI Tea was paired with 2011 Pinot Noir La Petit Clos (New Zealand). It was superb, tortellini filled with melt in the mouth oxtail floating in a delicious beefy consommé, a bit like a really posh Bovril. I loved the creativity of this second dish.
Just when I was thinking things could not get any better dish number three arrived, Salt & sugar cured Scotch Beef PGI, wild roquette, 24 month old Parmigiano Reggiano, aged balsamic paired with 2010 Alpataco Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina). This was quite literally the best carpaccio in the world, and the beef was the hero of the dish.
While all the dishes were sublime, Allan saved the best until last - Roast fillet of Scotch Beef PGI, boulangère of cheek, caramelised shallot purée, Burgundy sauce paired with 2010 Silver Label Mnastrell, Juan Gil (Spain). The beef was perfection - tender and served rare. The boulangère of cheek was a bit like dauphinoise potatoes but when a layer of melt-in-the-mouth beef cheek. The shallot puree and Burgandy sauce were perfect accompaniments. This dish was heavenly.
Sadly, we had to run and catch a train home to relieve our baby sitter at this point, so we missed dessert (which was beef-free incase you were wondering). I have heard that it was very good though.
So, what makes Scotch Beef special and what is PGI?
PGI, or Protected Geographical Indication, is a scheme to protect and promote traditional and regional food products of high quality which are unique to a geographic area such as champagne or Parmigiano Reggiano. Scotch Beef (and Lamb) have had PGI status for over 20 years.
Only Scotch Beef will carry these labels which guarantees the following:
The cattle has been been born and bred in Scotland in Scotch Beef approved farms. It has not moved to any other farms in it's life time. All Scotch Beef cattle have passports.
The food and medication given to the cattle in it's lifetime has been monitored and cattle has been specifically bred for meat rather than for dairy.
Farmers and processors have been checked to ensure they meet animal welfare requirements from the Scottish SPCA.
You are supporting generations of family farmers in Scotland - over 50,000 jobs in Scotland are in the red meat industry.
You are getting a healthier, happier, genuine, excellent quality and superior tasting cut of beef.
Joshua and I went along to B A McLeish in Wokingham, my nearest Scotch Beef stockist, to get my hands on some of delicious Scotch Beef. It's the first time I've been to a proper butcher in years (I tend to grab everything from the supermarket as I'm usually in such a hurry) and it was a real eye opener for me. The staff were really helpful and knowledgeable, the prices on par with the supermarket and the meat far superior quality.
I bought a lovely piece of topside which roasted beautifully. I follow the Scotch Beef guidelines for roasting for roasting medium which worked well. I also bought a kilo of chuck steak and made a fabulous Beef Rendang. The Beef Rendang was really delicious and a great way to turn a cheaper cut of meat into a feast.
Disclosure: I was invited to the Scotch Beef Feast in return for an honest review and given a £50 voucher to spend on Scotch Beef at my local butchers. Words and opinions are my own. All reviews are 100% honest.