Last month I made a 400-mile round trip for what might have been one of the best dinners of my life…
Nomadic has been on my list ever since I was introduced to their beautiful Instagram page by a friend. The idea is simple – drive to a secluded forest, where you’re greeted with a welcome drink before embarking on a foraging walk. Upon your return, a guest chef will cook up a feast over the open flames.
After several wrong turns we found ourselves on a tree-lined path where we were greeted by our host and directed to the car park. The path led to an opening that gave us our first glimpse of our dining area – an open-air restaurant, with beautifully decorated large wooden tables positioned around a tepee and an open fire. Each table was handmade from a single tree and covered with an elegant table setting of forest foraged greenery, along with a selection of soft blankets and rugs.
We were greeted with a welcome drink which included a locally produced syrup, before embarking on our very own foraging tour. Accompanied by our expert guide we sampled wood sorrel and yarrow picked fresh from the ground. Someone later described it as “Forest School for grown-ups” and to be honest I’ve always been a bit jealous of those kids…
We were incredibly lucky to have MasterChef The Professionals winner Stuart Deeley cooking for us on the night we booked Nomadic. Watching him cook over an open flame was mesmerising, and his choice of dishes was stunning… He’s getting his own place soon, and the people of Birmingham are in for a treat!
The first course was quite simply toast and butter. I know what you’re thinking… What’s so special about toast and butter, right? Well, this was no ordinary butter. It was a whipped garlic butter which was made by roasting garlic until soft, then whipping together the juices with butter until it formed a perfectly smooth and almost mousse-like mountain of happiness. It was worth the 5 hour drive from Liverpool for this alone.
Our starter was simply beautiful. Smoked soy cured salmon, dill pickled kohlrabi, smoked almonds, taramasalata and wasabi buttermilk, all served in wooden bowls and delivered to our beautiful table setting amongst the trees. Before we set off on our forgaing walk, we’d watched Stuart roast mushrooms over an open fire. He combined these with a delicious Asian inspired broth which was almost meaty in taste to form our third plate of the evening. Watching this dish come together over the course of the evening was part of what made our Nomadic experience so special.
The sun was just disappearing behind the trees when our main course was served… A deliciously tender braised ox cheek accompanied by fondant potato, carrot and bok choi. Our Nomadic dessert was the most amazing miso cheesecake I have ever tasted, served alongside a white chocolate honeycomb which was completely unique in taste and in texture. It was dark by this point, so we wrapped ourselves in blankets and just enjoyed the experience of eating our delicious dessert by candlelight.
We finished our Nomadic experience with delicious cups of herbal tea made on the open fire, which we sat around to roast some marshmallows – the brave amongst us dipping them in a Somerset Cider Brandy first! It was quite simply the perfect end to a perfect evening. Yes, it’s a long drive from Liverpool but we made a weekend of it and stayed at Crazy Bear Hotel in Beaconsfield.
If you’re looking for a unique and immersive foodie experience in a setting which is quite simply stunning, then Nomadic should be at the very top of your list.
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