Food Review: Courses
When I came across Courses’ Instagram feed, it felt like I stumbled across something quite special. Chef Jamie Robinson was previously the head chef at The Milestone but he felt the need to do his own thing so he decided to start up Courses, a fine dining experience which pops up in venues across Sheffield, I went along to their event in October which was in the old Craft & Dough (soon to be Prosecco bar) on Eccy Road. Apparently the venue was still a building site earlier that day but they managed to spruce it up in time for the evening. We were taken to our table which was right beside the pass so we could see the man in action!
Not long after sitting down, we were brought our ‘snacks’ – crispy salted cod with wasabi emulsion and crispy beetroot with goats’ curd and pumpkin seeds. They were both utterly gorgeous, the snap of the beetroot tuille, the creamy goats curd, the subtle flavour of wasabi, all I can say is they sure do blow my mini cheddars out of the water. Next up, sourdough with roasted chicken skin and sweet & sour butter. I was half expecting bright orange butter but was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t like that at all, in fact it was wonderfully moreish, well-balanced and who doesn’t love chicken skin? So far, these delicious little tasters have set the tone for the entire meal.
Now if you love cheese as much as I do, the next dish will be right up your alley – cauliflower cheese. Cauliflower puree, pickled stem, crispy leaf, burnt (but in a good way) fleurette and a rich gooey cheesy sauce. Jamie explains how he likes to use every single part of the cauliflower, talk about zero wastage! I started thinking to myself ‘jeez does it really get better than this?’ It does. The next dish was my favourite – cod cheek with burnt squash and miso, he really does enjoy using that blowtorch. The sweet flavour of the squash fondant married together with the miso sauce brought out this umami taste which worked harmoniously with the cod cheeks. Another stand out dish for me was the treacle-cured beef with salsify and parsley, the beef fillet was juicy and just the right amount of sweet, the poached salsify was lovely and tender and there was even some sticky beef shin on there for good measure.
Dessert time! One of the dishes was salted chocolate with popcorn, which was rich and everything a dessert should be this season, but the star of the show was the lemon meringue which was a real zesty number! The textures of the Italian meringue and the olive oil crumb together with the tartness of the lemon curd and creamy lemon mascarpone caused an explosion in my mouth with every spoonful. I scraped the plate for every last morsel and looked wistfully at the other lemon meringues he was meticulously plating up for other diners.
Overall, I loved it. The atmosphere was refreshingly relaxed meaning the whole focus was on the food – 10 courses of the most delicious mind-boggling flavours. We were impressed with how he developed all the food we know and love into something extraordinary and unforgettable. I also loved the crockery, how everything was presented and how lovely the staff were, many of which were ex-colleagues and there was also his girlfriend (soon to be wife!) who told us many stories about Jamie’s love affair with food, and with him explaining each plate of food so well – it was easy to see his raw passion and desire to cook quality food.
The ‘full experience’ comes with 5 expertly paired tipples, a mixture of wines and cocktails which I unfortunately couldn’t face because of a heavy night the day before. I did however have a sip of my dining partner’s appletini and it was indeed delicious. With it being only £40 for the 10 courses and £60 if you want the full experience, this is an absolute steal. If it were up to me I wouldn’t tell anyone about the pop ups because it’s just too good to share, but his long-term aim is to eventually open a full time venue off the back of their events so go show ’em some love!