There’s plenty going on at The Biscuit Factory this summer. With a special programme of events for the Great Exhibition of the North, and new summer menus and daily offers at artisan. Head Chef Andrew Wilkinson gives us the low down.
What ingredients will be the focus for the summer menus?
There’s such an abundance of fresh produce available in the summer – it really is a joy to cook throughout this season. Think of ingredients such as tomatoes and courgettes straight from the greenhouse, as well as radishes, broad beans, sea vegetables and plenty of fruit. Everything from strawberries and raspberries to white, red and blackcurrants. Our summer menus also spotlight the likes of mackerel, wild salmon, sea trout from Berwick, Lindisfarne oysters and succulent lamb.
What seasonal dishes can we expect to see over the summer?
In the hotter weather, I like to keep the dishes light and fresh, avoiding heavy meat sauces and instead using pestos from the abundance of fresh herbs available. In terms of the dishes we’ll be serving in artisan, highlights are likely to include wild sea trout with a minestrone of sea vegetables and local mussels; rabbit with summer garden vegetables; and frozen gooseberry parfait with yoghurt and elderflower sorbet. I also love a good summer fruit Pavlova. Our menus are very much dependent on the produce we receive, so the dishes and garnishes can vary day to day, utilising the freshest of ingredients delivered to our kitchen.
What are your favourite ingredients to work with over the summer?
Elderflower is one of my favourites. I pick it from a tree outside the restaurant so you can’t any closer to your doorstep than that. The Biscuit Factory’s in-house café, The Factory Kitchen, is also growing a selection of herbs on its new rooftop terrace so I plan on using these in our dishes, too. The humble British strawberry is another personal favourite of mine. It reminds me of my childhood here in the North East and strawberry picking is something I love to do with my own kids. The gooseberry is an excellent all-rounder too – lending itself to pork and fish-based dishes, as well as luscious desserts.
What makes summer stand out for you, as a chef, compared to other seasons? Just the sheer selection of fresh fruit and vegetables available, many of which you can grow in your own garden – such as strawberries and lemon verbena. There are so many exciting ingredients, flavour combinations and textures to get creative with in the kitchen. The summer season also reminds me of outdoor picnics and camping, and the challenge for me, as a chef, is to bring the food that’s synonymous with these activities, indoors and re-create them on a plate. It also reminds me of going fishing with my dad – I’d love to catch my own fish this summer and cook it on the beach.
Bring Your Own Bottle
Bring your own bottle of wine every Wednesday from 5.30pm. Plus, there’s no corkage fee.
Half Price Wine Night
Choose from a selection of more than 20 fine wines at half their usual price, every Thursday evening.
Local, freshly caught fish, cooked with chef’s signature twist. Enjoy 2 mains and a bottle of wine for only £35.
SUMMER AT ARTISAN
What makes Artisan so unique is that is adjoins The Biscuit Factory art gallery – the largest independent gallery of its kind in the UK. This means you can combine your love for food with a spot of art and culture.
If you dine during the day, why not explore the gallery’s summer exhibition next door, featuring work from more than 250 artists?
Plus, as part of this summer’s highly anticipated Great Exhibition of the North, there’s a special programme of events, including design | innovate | craft – a show celebrating innovation in contemporary craft; Ouseburn Open Studios; the Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair; and a specially commissioned wall mural from portrait artist Dan Cimmermann.
For what’s on info, visit www.thebiscuitfactory.com
All images © Nicky Rogerson