Sunday, April 3, 2022


I don’t know Grace Dent and she doesn’t know me.  

We were once co-judges of a food and film competition but we didn't judge in the same place at the same time, so we never met.


Nevertheless I think she’s a good thing.  And as I continue my steak tartare research and experimentation, I wondered if she might have something interesting to say on the subject.  Well of course she does.


Her Guardian review of Six by Nico was illustrated with this image


I'd have thought that caption 'little more than a "meaningful glimpse of a dish"' was quite a put down, and I'd feel pretty well cheated if a waiter delivered that to my table, in in the review Grace sounds quite approving.


Less so with Tom’s Kitchen, reviewed in the Evening Standard, describing ‘the drab, under-seasoned steak tartare which arrived with a colossal mountain of rocket’


And even worse was the Bistrotheque at Cultureplex, Manchester reviewed in the Guardian, ‘A chunky steak tartare with a neatly placed,wobbly yolk looked pretty, but was jam-packed with capers that quashed any subtlety of flavour in the meat.’


Well I don’t suppose Grace Dent will be eating my tartare any time soon, which may be a blessing for both of us, but on I go.  I decided to try a venison version, in part because venison is so hard to cook - leave it in the oven a couple of minutes too long and it goes dry as a coir doormat – that raw seemed a reasonable method.  This was my venison tartare.


It thought it hit the spot but the eagle-eyed among you will have noticed the absence of raw egg yolk.  I think this may partly because of an Oedipal issue – my dad, when he was feeling under the weather, started the day with a raw egg in sherry.  I was appalled in the way only a teenage boy can be by his father.


The idea still gives me the willies, but I thought maybe I could handle the yolk of a quail’s egg.  That's it at the top of this post.  It looked fine at least it did until the moment I poured it into little well (or dent, if you will) that I’d made in the top of the the steak at which point it burst – but the overall effect, and the taste, was surely much the same. 


Did I need the raw egg yolk?  Not really. Did I think I was making and eating something more authentic?  Yes.


And since you ask, those chive sprigs are local, artisanal and grown by me.  Yes, I have been self-sufficient in chives since at least 2019.

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