Dont worry about any other time of the year, one of my favourite months of the calendar is Mushroom Month. Every year from the kitchen at The Highway comes a menu showcasing the many qualities of the ‘shroom.
There has been a recent change in the kitchen with a new head chef (Damien Fong Lim) and sous chef (Ashley Coad) being appointed, so it was exciting to see how the menu would shape up this year. While there was some simlarity to the offerings from last year – on paper – the execution showed some subtle but significant differences.
There was a certain element of asian fusion in there, with some lovely touches and layering of flavours and textures.
The three entrees are all markedly different and still individually brilliant. Cream of porcini mushroom soup with crisp leek and creme fraiche was fantastically creamy – yet still textural and earthy with the slices of procini and crispy leek adding greatly to the enjoyment.
For something very different, there is a pickled mushroom steak tartar with king brown mushroom and eye fillet topped with a quail egg yolk and a sprinkling of porcini dust. Raw beef is a brave thing to put on a ‘pub’ menu, yet it shows the skill and confidence of the kitchen (and trust me, it is well worth it!).
Despite the very high quality of these, my personal pick is the confit duck and mushroom tortellini with asian masterstock broth and shemeji mushrooms. This was extremely attractive to look at, technically brilliant and delivered on all fronts.
Moving on to the mains, and gnocchi finds its way onto the menu once again – pillows of fluffy potato with king oyster and swiss brown mushrooms, pine nuts, parmesan, black truffle and burnt sage butter. Absolutely divine!
The other main on offer is a good old mushroom burger – except rather than just being a somewhat ‘lazy’ whole mushroom, which in my experience can have issues with being watery and texturally a bit offputting, here there is a mushroom patty. Excellent choice! Keeping it company on the brioche roll is taleggio cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and a most excellent sweet pickle relish.
Dessert time – and somewhat sadly, there were no actual mushrooms to be seen this year. There was however a nutella scroll with warm fudge and fresh berries, as well as a couple of ‘mushroom meringes’. Say this again – slowly – and its hard to be genuinely disappointed with this combination. It also looks a treat, which doesn’t hurt.
All in all, this is another brilliant and clever menu from The Highway to enjoy throughout the month of August. Everything from the top of the menu down oozed quality and most importantly showcased the star ingredient.
Mushroom Month runs through the month of August. More in is on The Highway’s website.