I am a huge fan of T&Cake in Almondbury, Huddersfield. We had a fantastic lunch the first time we went, and it was even better on our return visit a few months later. Stephen and Tracy Jackson are living their dream. Stephen is an ex-Michelin starred chef and Tracy is a skilled baker; together they are a powerhouse of home comforts.
The first I heard of the 'Odd Dinner' was via Twitter. There was one table left. One. Less than five minutes later we were the proud owners of the last two seats in the house. The dinner itself comprised of ten courses plus wine for £100 per person.
Snacks: cheese sablé - tomato tapenade madeleine - local beef, caper and lemon
These little nibbles were some of the best I have tried anywhere. Big flavours, generous portions and pleasing on the eye. My favourite by far was the beef; a stunning combination of sweet and sharp.
'Bread and Butter' - Handmade Bakery sourdough - bayleaf butter
This vibrant green butter was a hit as soon as it was placed on our table. It smelled fantastic. Soft bread served with fresh, fragrant butter. Forever the connoisseur, my husband said that the buttered bread tasted like a good quality sausage roll! I have no idea why this was so, but he was indeed correct...Endive - pain d'epice - pink grapefruit - bergamot - mint
This was a crisp, colourful salad with sweet pink grapefruit lurking beneath. When mixed together this was an explosion of clean flavours. The perfect successor to the heavier sourdough dish.
Cauliflower panna cotta - fried hazelnut crumbs - lovage
As with the cauliflower panna cotta at the Wine Glass, I struggled a bit with this one. I'm not the world's biggest cauliflower fan so I am a little biased. Let me tell you what our fellow diners thought instead. My husband polished the lot, as did everyone on the table next to us. It was a big hit with the cauliflower fans!
Sweetcorn - scallop - Lincolnshire smoked eel - belly pork - 'seaweed'
This wasn't a dish I was particularly looking forward to because I hate scallops. However, I like to give things a go, and I'm so glad I did. This is one of the best dishes I have eaten in some time. It was the perfect balance of texture and flavour, and looked pretty good too. The edges of the scallop were crisp, the sweetcorn tasted like a good cornbread with lashings of butter, the belly pork was flavourful with no hint of grease, but the star of the show was the smoked eel. Brilliant.
Potted wild rabbit - Holmfirth cider jelly - carrot confit - chervil
For those of you who know me well, you will already understand that rabbit is my culinary enemy number one. I have not, and will not ever eat rabbit. I kept them as pets until in my mid twenties, so I cannot stand the thought of eating them. I'll be honest, I made my husband eat this whilst I nipped for a walk. It's that bad. He informs me this was a wonderful dish. Eek.Woodpigeon - potato and shallot tart - toasted croissant velouté - brassicas
This was the 'main' and a bit of a show stopper. Big chunks of pink pigeon served with a crisp tart on shredded brassicas. This was devilishly good. On completion, I feared I would never be able to eat ever again.
Gjetost - bitter chocolate - Fleur de sel - olive oil
Gjetost is a whey cheese served warm. It has a rich caramel flavour, and is a little like solid dulce de leche with a savoury undertone. Its sweet edge was brought out by shavings of chocolate, whilst the savoury side was complimented by olive oil. A really unusual concoction which just worked.
'T&Cake' - beurre noisette financier - milk ice cream - Earl Grey custard
Pretty as a picture. I loved this. The beurre noisette is a nod to the frosting on their signature 'Almondberry' cake and of course the tea was in the form of the stunning Earl Grey custard. I would have liked the financier to have echoed the almond from that beautiful cake, but that's just my preference.
Olive oil jelly - muscovado cornets - truffle - canard
Just when you think you may combust, this appears. A stunning platter of mini sweet treats. My favourite had to be the muscovado cornets. Stick your Cornettos and your 99s, I'm all about this from now on.
The wine flowed generously throughout the night, some of which came from Stephen and Tracy's private collection. I think I ate that much food, I couldn't even tell I had been drinking! I had two glasses of champagne which is usually enough to see me go slightly off my rocker (there was once a rather unsavoury incident with some stairs in the Fat Duck).
Portions were generous, flavours were big and laughter was plentiful. Although we were in a restaurant, it felt very much like we had been invited into the Jacksons' home. Stephen's dad, brimming with pride put it best; 'he can cook, the lad!'