With the start of October suddenly upon us, it is that time of year when many of us start to think about the festive season and last week we went along to a press dinner at Provenance to sample their festive menus. I have dined at Provenance before and I love the way the owners have combined a premium food hall and a fine dining restaurant in one space, just outside Bolton in the village of Westhoughton. All the produce at Provenance is carefully sourced as locally as possible and this is reflected in the quality of the food on offer here and they have gained a mention in the prestigious Good Food Guide 2018. We arrived to welcome glasses of Prosecco and we were treated to canapés including chicken liver in filo, potted salmon and mushrooms on toast which all appear on the Christmas Fayre menu. Chef Lewis Gallagher is continuing to make his mark in the culinary world and his creations showcase both technical skill and a flair for innovation - looking at the menu it was clear we were in for a treat.
A light appetiser of cauliflower espuma proved to be a taste sensation, the foam was full of mild and nutty cauliflower flavour and the addition of caramelised Granny Smith apple in the base of the dish brought in a bright and zesty contrast.
Pan fried cod with chorizo cassoulet and basil pesto was another elegant dish and the flaky cod paired well with the rich cassoulet while the pesto added fresh flavour. This was such a Mediterranean dish and the simplicity of the meat and seafood paired to make a satisfying combination.
Duo of lamb with potato and celeriac dauphinoise was another outstanding dish and the peppery dauphinoise was delicious while the sweetness of the honeyed carrots complemented the other flavours, as did the Malbec paired with this course.
Onion tatin was a dish which illustrated how incredible vegetarian dishes can taste when made by a skilled chef. I loved the idea of putting a savoury twist on the classic tarte tatin and the onions were sweet and sharp while flaky pastry, caramelised onion purée and burnt onion powder added to the finesse of this creation.
Scallops are such a classic and we enjoyed the scallops with butternut squash textures and chorizo which was beautifully presented, with both diced and puréed butternut squash. This course was paired with a Pouilly-Fumé, the ideal wine to partner with this dish.
We were treated to a dessert of 'oops chef dropped the Manchester tart' a fun take on the infamous dessert by Massimo Bottura at Osteria Francescana. The shattered pastry gave way to a smooth and creamy filling with a subtle hint of vanilla.
Christmas pudding macaroons and bite sized squares of silky milk chocolate tart with candied clementine were the perfect petit fours to conclude the meal and spoons laden with cranberry panna cotta were equally tempting.
Provenance Food Hall and Restaurant
46-48 Market Street
01942 812 398
46-48 Market Street
01942 812 398
Having tasted the Christmas Fayre menu, I can certainly say that booking a meal at Provenance would be a lovely way to celebrate the festive season. Their quality, local produce in the hands of such a talented chef makes for a winning combination. Two courses from the Christmas Fayre menu cost £16 and three courses are £19.
What do you all think, do you like to dine out during the holiday season and which of these dishes would you like to try? As always I cannot wait to hear your thoughts and thank you so much for reading this post.
Until next time,