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Wirral Young Chef of the Year: Claremont Farm review

17th February 2015

Categories: News

James Murphy, Claremont Farm
James Murphy Claremont farm

Wirral has slowly been gaining a reputation as a bastion of food innovation, and on Tuesday 10th and Wednesday 11th February, I discovered perhaps one of our best kept secrets-the Claremont Farm Café, whose talented Head Chef James Murphy served up three delightful courses as part of this year’s Wirral Young Chef cookery competition.
The café/restaurant itself is located in a rather unassuming place-nestled amid the fresh vegetables, farm assured meat and wide range of local cheeses found in the aisles of the Claremont Farm shop. However, this only added to the culinary experience as we revisited classic dishes that remain close to our hearts for one simple reason-truly great taste!
After being made to feel instantly welcome by the attentive front of house team, we started with ‘Mersey ale battered Fish ‘n Chips salad, mushy pea and tartar dressed roquette and Wirral watercress’ – essentially a delicious plate of local produce, executed perfectly, with succulent battered fish, offset beautifully with the fresh mushy pea and tartar dressing.
For the main course we were served ‘Barnston lamb ‘two ways’- a mouth-watering combination of rack of Barnston lamb on a bed of Claremont Farm kale accompanied by Barnston lamb and Mersey ale scouse pie.’  This was the outstanding dish of the night! The pie had a terrific mix of flavours and textures which worked brilliantly with the rack of lamb which packed so much flavour that all my guests took great delight in dispensing with the cutlery to be able to pick up the chop to make sure that every morcel of the lamb would be devoured! Quite simply local produce at its very best!
And finally dessert... ‘Homemade roly-poly and pink vanilla custard, winter ‘Mont Mess’ brownie and warming cox’s apple and damson crumble’. This reminded me that, when done well, classic British desserts can be a beautiful thing. The remarkably light suet pudding roly-poly did exactly what it says on the tin! Creating memories of school dinners, weekend treats and heart-warming family meals. The luscious brownie and meringue combination provided the richness but my favourite was undoubtedly the apple and damson crumble, served in a shot glass with delightful sweet and tart flavours bringing the meal to a fitting conclusion.
Apart from the exceptional meal, my lasting thought is that the mark of a good restaurant is not necessarily its size and location, but the quality of its food and the obvious passion and hospitality of its staff. With this in mind the Claremont Farm Café is too good to be hidden for long.
Congratulations James and we look forward to welcoming you to the Cook-off at Wiral Metropolitan Colege on Monday 31st March.


Review by Tony Boustead (College Manager Hospitality & Catering-Wirral Metropolitan College)

The final Young Chef event will be on Tuesday 10th March at the Irby Mill, Greasby (Young Chef-Robert Wood) Tel: 0151 604 0194 for further details.

For more information about the Young Chef of the Year competition click here.

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