First taste of new experience for foodies in Coventry

I always gravitate towards something new and, as a foodie, an invitation to be among the first to try out the Belgrade Theatre’s pop-up dining experience was too good to pass up.

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Homemade stout and treacle bread with marmite butter

With an emphasis on locally-sourced fresh produce, chefs Sarah Jenkins and Joel Gore presented a six-course tasting menu to impress.

Sarah, the owner of private catering company Host Dining Coventry, is also head chef at Commonground, Fargo Village where she specialises in small plates.

She has collaborated with local chefs and is currently working with Tobias Reutt of Earlsdon Supper Club, producing bespoke tasting menus.

Wild mushroom ravioli in a parmesan broth with spring onion

In his 16 years working at the forefront of food TV, Joel Gore has shared kitchens with Gordon Ramsay, James Martin, Paul Ainsworth, Tom Kerridge and Mary Berry. This has allowed him to build up a large archive of superb recipes to delight and inspire diners.

After a decade as an influential figure on the London dining scene, Joel has returned to his home town Coventry, aiming to raise the bar for fine dining options in the city.

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Octopus with smashed potatoes and piso

Joel and Sarah have been sharing their passion for food and swapping recipes ever since their days in food technology lessons at Stoke Park back in the 90s. Having enjoyed some lavish collaborations for private events, this is the first time they have joined forces to feed the public.

If Saturday night’s tasting menu was anything to go by, these events are likely to become sought-after. It was a full house for their debut dining experience, as we all took our seats for the culinary adventure ahead.

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Slow braised pigs cheek with onion cream, pickled pear and onion ash

Homemade stout and treacle bread with marmite butter was a delightful palate cleanser before moving onto a small dish of wild mushroom ravioli in a parmesan broth with spring onion (my personal favourite). This was followed by octopus with smashed potatoes and piso (not quite sure how we can claim this as a fresh local ingredient but that’s fine!), then delicious slow braised pig’s cheek with onion cream, pickled pear and onion ash; a deliciously different olive oil ice cream and apricot and granola and finally, a cheese plate, as well as a cute takeaway box of petit fours to enjoy.

The innovative – and eye-catching – plates served up seemed to be enjoyed by the contented diners – but remember, quality over quantity is what this experience is all about, so don’t necessarily feel you have to starve yourself all day for it! And, if I’m being honest, a welcome drink and coffee to finish would have made this even better value for the £50 per head ticket price.

Belgrade Theatre, Coventry
Olive oil ice cream, apricot compote and granola

As a previous visitor to Nineteen58 bar, which opened last year, I have always been impressed by this venue. It is the perfect complement to the city’s popular live arts venue and fast becoming a destination in its own right.

Previously occupied shops on Corporation Street were taken over as part of this £5.5m redevelopment project which now offers both quality and quantity in hospitality terms.

Belgrade Theatre, Nineteen58 bar
The upstairs space at Nineteen58 which lends itself to private functions, including the pop-up dining event

Designed by Lazzeri Creative Interiors and inspired by the Theatre’s origins, the décor, by Corstorphine + Wright Architects, is decorated with vintage show posters and artwork from across the decades – a stylish and comfortable space from which to watch the world go by.

Host Dining’s taster menu experience is the first of many events in the Belgrade’s refurbished bar and restaurant. Nineteen58 has all the credentials to become a hotspot for a variety of exciting, exclusive events in the near future – and by taking on board customer feedback, I have no doubt it will flourish.

I welcome any initiative that showcases culinary talent on the rich and burgeoning local foodie circuit, so will be watching out with interest for what comes next.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *