Welcome friends, to the mysterious enchanted forest of Bumpkin, where last week the Rambling Restaurant transformed a skyhigh attic dining room for a fabulous fairytale feast. As one of the Three Little Pigs, let me welcome you into the lush and glittering Rambling Fairytale…
The whole event was a fantastic collaboration between so many talented people – Sarah demonstrating her chef skills in the kitchen along with the versatile and knowledgable Bumpkin staff, Abi aka the Little Red Riding Hood and I doing the serving with the help of Ali and Billy behind the bar, the gorgeous decor creations of Miss Ali O’Malley (previously of Moulin Rouge fame), and a participatory cabaret full of wit, wonder, and wows led by Lucy from The Little Show Off as the very Wicked Stepmother, Matt the contact juggler, and Simon who dazzled the crowd as the surprise secret ingredient. Although not one of the listed performers, the man behind these lovely photos, our photographer Martin – had our diners shaking with laughter at his spectacular poetic rendition of Hansel and Gretel.
I’ll let the wise and wonderful words of the Wicked Stepmother take you through the evening….
Ladies and gents and woodland creatures alike,
Taste-buds be upstanding, for here comes a delight.
Let me tell you a tale of how this food came about
Food miles are important, I’m sure you won’t doubt.
We sent three little pigs to ramble for goods
To the marshes they went, deep down in the woods.
Watercress and sorrel they found in the bog
And snuffled for beetroot – such a clever little hog.
All totally fresh, organic is so en vogue
Bundles of fennel quite simply cost loads.
A delightful soup we made from their haul
But it wasn’t enough, we wanted some more.
Diners, listen up – What I’m about to reveal
Is not for the faint hearted, in fact you might… squeal!
The chef you see has a furry long nose
And grandma’s dress, with canines that glow
We looked at the pigs and back at the chef
Soup wasn’t enough, as I’ve already said
The salad looked fresh and bursting with life
But it needs something salty…Chef sharpened his knife
I don’t need to tell you what happened next
Certain celebrity chefs taught us butchery at best
Now don’t huff and puff, or feel at all blue
They lived a free-range life I can assure you
But lets be honest, swines are so great
And those three little pigs look fab on your plate!
I was the only little pig to make it out unscathed – but I might consider sacrificing myself to be a part of Sarah’s delicious fennel, beetroot and broad bean salad with parsley pork croutons. Looking uber-professional in her fresh chef’s whites, this kitchen wizardress outdid herself with this springtime salad and a delicious sorrel and watercress soup with walnut bread for the veggies in the house.
Next up came a few fun table exercises involving group poetry writing and then the delicious themed main course, as explained below…
So here comes your main, a treat I have no doubt
But like before there’s a story worth shouting about
To the oceans blue is our main stop
Where a fight is breaking out between a Pollack and a cock-le
Some little Mermaid has caused a rift
Between a happy crustacean and a cheeky young fish
The cockle was courting our half lady broad
Drinks on the rocks and evening’s below board
One day in a bar, Mr Pollock swam by
And with his charming ways caught our mermaids eye
Cockle being snappy, was immediately peeved
To see his lady blush behind the seaweed
“Oi Pollock” shouted cockle, who’d had a few drinks
“This mermaid is mine whatever you think”
“I think not” said Pollock, who’d also had a few
“There’s love in her eyes, but not when she looks at you”
And that was it, the brawling had begun
Quite a spectator sport – songs, they were sung…
‘What do we do with a drunken cockle…’, we all sang….
Poseidon got annoyed with their raucous display
And shook up the sea, for which they did pay
Sea boulders did fall, landing atop of our friends
A sudden and drunken but welcome fishy end
Our mermaid got free, but rather than feel down
Was glad to be single so went out on the town
And that well known rift is what inspired this platter
So eat up and drink lots…it’s time to get fatter!!
And so the fairytale diners tucked into Pollock with Drunken Cockle Sauce with Jersey Royals and Samphire as well as Rosemary, Parmesan and Mozzarella Polenta Fritters with Summer Vegetables. Delicious.
But of course a fairytale feast cannot end without something luscious and indulgent…
So folks, it’s that time for a sweet delight
And your final course of the night
Before we get fruity and the cabaret winds up
Which, just so you know, includes all of you lot
Lets welcome the pud made by special guest chefs
Seven of them in fact, I bet you can guess
Mirror mirror on the wall…
Who’s the finest pudding chefs of them all?
Sleepy took care of the chocolate cos the caffeine is good for his brain
Grumpy took things out on the pastry cos Snow White got on his nerves once again
Dopey did his best with the cream despite the cow’s kick to his face
Bashful found he had a lovely pair and a fetish for tights made from lace
Doc provided the apples, a non-poisonous variety I’m assured
And of course the brandy came from Happy – his constant smile we applaud
The pepper I’m afraid was an accident which we had no choice to include
Cos Sneezy walked past the pepper pot and sprayed it all over the food
So thank you, thank you to all the seven dwarves
Despite not reaching the work top
The pudding is nearly perfect
Apart from some of Sneezy’s fresh snot
And thus we dined on Chocolate Pepper Pear Tart with Apple Brandy Cream…
And then came the cabaret! There was wild (and participatory!) burlesque dancing and a capella singing…
oohs and ahs for the contact juggling with a magically lit crystal ball…
and poetry reading from performers and diners alike and more, a glorious mishmash of surprises and delight all coordinated byThe Little Showoff.
There was much applause, laughter, and merriment thanks to the talented performers and maybe also thanks to the inventive and addictive fairytale themed cocktails poured by Ali and Billy behind the bar. But maybe it was just the magic of the evening…after all, you never know what can happen in fairytales…
Thanks to all the amazing people who helped make this such a fabulous two nights….all the chefs, performers, decorators, barmen, diners, princesses, swashbucklers, fairies, and the rest of you….we can’t wait to do it again!