7th August 2016 7pm
Known for pop up projects, Dram and Smoke have taken up residence for the festival at the Biscuit Factory. As such, this is a mini review as it is a temporary offering.
We were given precise instructions to arrive at 7pm and were would be eating our first course by 7.45. We arrived at 6.55 and couldn’t be let in until 7, which was a shame as it was chucking it down with rain and windy. However, we soon piled in and followed a stream of stencilled bird feet though the building to our first stop to get a cocktail with a whisky base. This was surprisingly refreshing and went down well. Dram and Smoke is based on communal dining. So we found a board which told us what table we would be sat at on the floor above. This might not be your bag if you are not the sociable type. Luckily, our table had good chat which led to a very pleasant evening. The venue itself is of the warehouse type but somehow it really worked, even if we had the odd drip from the ceiling. The dining area had a bar so you could get more drinks and also an open kitchen so you could have a nosey at the food being prepared.
The first course was smoked ham hock and haggis terrine, with capers and pickles and a tattie scone on the side. The slices of terrine were presented on a large board, which looked impressive. We all helped ourselves to slices. The terrine was not too cold and had carrot and spring onion through it. I am not sure the haggis was very identifiable apart from a peppery taste but it was nice enough nevertheless. The pickles and capers were optional and could be left on the board if you preferred.
The second course was a pearl barley risotto with spoots (razor clams), chorizo and mushrooms. I love risotto and this was lovely. However, the spoots were hidden somewhat. There was much discussion round the table about whether the spoots should have been presented in their shells but I enjoyed the dish regardless. The mushrooms were surprisingly lemony but some of the other flavours were a little lost.
Third course was the braised beef brisket. This was brought to the table on a board with a large piece of horseradish for grating (way more than was needed for the table) and a parley sauce. This did require someone to dish up but luckily we had willing volunteers. The brisket was fatty in places but it provided very tasty meat. The sauce was surprisingly fresh and made a nice alternative to gravy. Alongside the meat were hasselback potatoes, leeks and a green bean and celeriac salad. The salad in particular was excellent as it was fresh, vibrant and had a lovely wholegrain mustard running through it.
We were running late at this point. The final course – dessert – was rhubarb and custard with heather honeycomb. We were given little pots of rhubarb and custard whilst the honeycomb was brought out on a board with a little hammer. Again, a volunteer smashed it up into bits for the rest of the table. This dessert seemed to split the table. Some loved the honeycomb whereas others thought it bitter. Some loved the rhubarb and custard and others found the rhubarb sharp and the custard not vanilla-y enough. I thought it was a solid offering.
As it was a school night and it was running a bit behind, we left at this point but music and dancing is also offered for those who like to party, once the food is consumed.
The experience was fun and worth checking out. Dram and Smoke is running through the festival at a cost of £40 for a four course meal and a cocktail.
Please note that whilst this was complimentary, views expressed are my own. Thanks to Paul from Dram and Smoke for arranging.