I have a few soft spots, and definitely among those are Peterley Manor Farm and foodie pop-ups by talented local chefs. Of course it was a no brainer when I saw Native Feasts were back at Peterley for a Spring Supper Club – we were right there! We’ve been keen to get back to doing more reviews for the blog as getting out and meeting businesses in person, getting the inside line on some great places, and just writing and photographing for you, are what we love best. So here we are……
You may know Peterley Manor Farm for it’s PYO or the pretty yurt café serving a varied array of high quality food. But in fact it is so much more than that. The Brill family have made clever use of their farm land and with more and more events such as Feast on the Farm, the food and film pop-ups, and the supper clubs, they really are making the most of the space and making a unique facility for the local community and to showcase local businesses. And if you’ve seen their greenhouse all dressed for their supper clubs, then you’ll know why I was excited to go…
As for Native Feasts they are a foodalicious-ly exciting pair who have been shaking up the Chilterns since 2016 with their fuss-free approach to good food and the focus on dining experience over complicated dishes. Chris Godfrey who was awarded a Michelin star for his work at the Charles Napier in Oxford has focused his style through Native Feasts on flavour seasonality and quality which works well with the amazing produce available in the Chilterns. Business partner Greg Jones, previously a Sommelier and international King of cocktail has a passion for all things drink. A bit like their spelt and wild garlic risotto, it’s the perfect pairing as they work together to deliver the ultimate cool, but relaxed, and carefully thought-through communal dining experience.
So first up, yep, of course – dining in a greenhouse, it was a sunny… but COLD night! So I took a jumper… and another jumper, and a coat! But as soon as you arrive in the greenhouse all thoughts of Antarctic conditions rapidly dissipate. The tunnel style greenhouse is dressed in pretty festoon lights, the long rough-wood tables are decorated with pots of herbs, and we are greeted with an Amaretto cocktail (sorry Greg I can’t remember the name!). The vibe is warm, and thanks to an industrial sized blower heater the greenhouse is (mostly) warm. But where the blower didn’t quite reach, the cocktails and a little Harrow & Hope made up the rest!
As peopled arrived the atmosphere develops and we’re engaged in convo with new friends and fellow dinner guests. After a standing welcome from Greg we take our seats at the long tables and were presented with the first of 5 courses. Starting off it was that very spelt and wild garlic risotto I mentioned earlier. There’s something about wild garlic that just embodies freshness, there’s none of the overpowering tang you sometimes get with traditional garlic. It was every bit the perfect balance of savoury and fresh, herby delight to get us excited for what was to come. Now of course you can’t have a Spring menu in England without Asparagus and that’s exactly what came next. Perfectly cooked, melt in your mouth spears served with a Hungarian sauce that gave a little richness to round it. Our next courses came together; crushed herby Jersey Royals (what a seasonal gift they are?!) with pressed shoulder of lamb served with raw salad. A wonderful take on a British favourite and a robust main course. Now for anyone that knows me, you’ll know that I can, and do, eat all day – but even by my standards I was starting to feel a little full. There was no way I was missing out on dessert though – a fresh and spicy ginger and rhubarb fool – literally two of my favourite things combined, it was an absolute winner and the perfect end to a unique and enjoyable evening.
The atmosphere in the greenhouse got better as the night went on as the light dropped, the festoons took over and we all indulged in Greg’s carefully curated drinks list. It really was the most wonderful location for a social event and there’s something about getting out of the confines of a pub or restaurant that is good for the soul and relaxes the societal inhibitions. Or maybe that was the cocktail?! Whatever it was, I liked it and I definitely want more.
So would I recommend Native Feasts? In a heartbeat! These guys are always doing something new and exciting but they’ve also managed to create something that’s warm, relaxed, inviting and showcases great food and drink. Whatever they get up to next it will be great… so I can’t wait to go again!