It turns out that Tommy Banks and Matthew Lockwood are old mates. They cooked up the idea for this one-off ‘pop-up’ dinner after a few years of catering for the Black Swan’s staff Christmas party. ‘We put out a big rib of beef and a pile of chips and they’re happy’ says Matthew. ‘So Tommy owed you one’ I suggested.
I can only speculate there might have been a moment of regret on Tommy Banks’ part. More used to doing 30 covers a night in his own kitchen here he was carting over to Ripon ingredients, equipment, chefs, putting on six courses for 60 guests. But it ran like clockwork, the Lockwood team doing a grand job front of house: quietly efficient without over-fussing.
It was six courses with wines to match showing Tommy Banks at the height of his talent. Clever snacks, a dish of delicate cod and mussels and my best dish: lamb or rather hogget served with hispi cabbage, fermented turnip, Jerusalem artichoke and cauliflower puree – you had to be there.
There followed their signature three lollipops: meadowsweet, curry leaf and hazelnut and then an elegant dessert of rhubarb and cream infused with rosemary and honey. The wine flight gave us a sparkling Cremant du Jura, an unusual wild ferment Assyrtiko Gaia from Santorini, a Mount Jefferson Pinot Noir from Oregon and finally a Barbie pink rhubarb and rosemary schnapps.
Thank you for a terrific evening and congratulations to all.