Any foodie who visits The Lampery is always excited for the changing of the seasons in anticipation of what Michelin-star trained Head Chef Marcello de Stasio will drop next. This season is no exception and our new winter menu is nothing short of spectacular. This year, the dishes are wildly colourful and vibrant, wholesome and inspiring. We sat down with Chef de Stasio to find out his inspiration behind the new menu and what he'd recommend for a newcomer to The Lampery. Here's what he had to say.
Where does the inspiration for the new menu come from?
"The inspiration comes from the seasonality of the ingredients and also we've tried to work as local to the UK as possible. We introduced Pacific oysters onto the menu which are from Poole Bay in the south of England, the cod is from English waters, but we've also got a slight Asian influence on the menu.
"The inspiration comes from my background - but mainly it's about showcasing the quality local ingredients that we're putting in our dishes.
"There are some classic dishes that we've included - real winter warmers. The guinea fowl is a good example of this. It's an interesting combination between European and modern British cuisine. In that dish we've got Parmesan polenta, girolle mushrooms and burnt leeks - it's quite interesting, slightly traditional but also draws from new inspirations."
How long did it take to create the new menu?
"In terms of creating the full menu, sometimes when I'm at home or when I'm out for dinner I'll just have an idea that I think would work well. It took around three weeks or more to create the full menu - you've got to do tastings and try to find the balance of the flavours in the dishes. It's a long but rewarding task and I always enjoy it, especially when you see the end product."
For a newbie at The Lampery, what would you recommend?
"Firstly, all of it. But I would say try our most famous starter, which is the grilled octopus dish [above] - everybody has to try this at least once in their lives.
"Also, for a great vegetarian option, we have the beetroot salad. Or for something meaty with a blend of flavours, try the scallops. Here we have the meat from the lardo di Colonnata and the seafood element from the scallops, so this creates a very interesting flavour in the mouth."
What about the main course?
"We had a journalist in The Lampery recently who had been looking to eat rabbit for a few years but he said it was very rare to find it in restaurants here, so he was impressed we had it on the menu.
"We included rabbit because it's a British ingredient but also there are lots of different techniques behind the dish, so it's a real gastronomic treat."
What's your favourite dish on the menu to cook?
"I would say the guinea fowl [above] because it's slow-cooked first, then it's pan-seared and there are a lot of techniques we have to implement, so it's really nice to create.
"Also, one of my favourite fish mains is the monk fish. It's a very soft, melt-in-the-mouth meat and the garnish is very rich in terms of flavour, with black olives, roasted peppers and basil oil as well - it's quite interesting."
And obviously, we wouldn't leave without dessert. What's new here?
"Something that's very traditional is the apple crumble, so we've included our version on the menu and decided to go gluten-free with the crumble so everybody can enjoy this little treat.
"The rum savarin is also very interesting in terms of textures and flavours. It almost dissolves in your mouth, it's very light as a dessert and there's a great balance between the rum and sugar, and also the yuzu ganache. You get a great flavour combination and for me, I think it's one of our best desserts. But also, let's not forget about the pear cheesecake with caramelised pear."
Drooling? Now, get ready to swoon over some of the highlights on the Winter Menu...
Naturally, you'll want to enjoy our beautiful winter dishes in stunning surroundings. Check out our ultra-Instagrammable space, featuring a floral canopy overhead and our brand new giant television screen mounted on the wall.
For details on what's current at The Lampery, check out our menus.