On a bank holiday afternoon, I had lunch at Toast where I ate bread with unpasteurised butter, pea & grelot onion in a prawn broth dotted with elderflower, and roasted quail from a wood-fired oven with polenta & gremolata. Right in front of me was a meat slicer of that kind of utilitarian beauty that once characterised manufactured products of England. Also in front of me was a long, narrow table and on it were a mixer of beauty on par to the slicer and three large stainless steel mixing bowls. They were by a low wall beyond which was the kitchen. The beeping of a timer came on periodically.The chef dashed in and out of the kitchen during the busy service to tend to what were in the bowls. Dough - sitting, growing, resting - for bread they will be baking. They churn their own butter and make fresh cheese too at Toast. There were jars of things fermenting atop a shelf to my right - I wonder what they'll be used for.
Lunch was very nice. I enjoyed chewing on the quail's legs the most. After lunch, I rested for a while then I had a salted chocolate tart with a layer of raspberry embedded in its bottom by a pool of perfectly-made creme anglaise. It was an incredibly rich and incredibly delicate pudding; it got me questioning, how was it done?
I don't know her name and she doesn't know mine but whenever I pass her working in her garden, we stop to say hello and talk about her flowers. On this occasion, she was showing me her tulips.