We are hitting lamb season and with the weather being fairly obliging, you can almost start believing that spring has finally sprung. You could head for the classic combinations of pea and mint, or even rosemary and garlic, but by far the most wonderful lamb dish I have had this season comes courtesy of Benares, Atul Kochhar’s Michelin-starred Indian restaurant on Berkeley Square.
Benares‘ Changezi Chaapein, a smoked Kashmiri chilli marinated tandoori lamb cutlet served with an aubergine chutney, is such a great advertisement for lamb. It is deeply smoky and the blushing, buttery-soft meat contrasts perfectly with the thin crust created by the cooked marinade. If you’re not a fan of the usual Sunday roast with mint sauce, this is the dish to turn you on to lamb.
Lamb, though, isn’t the only ingredient coming in to season as we approach May. The short asparagus season is also upon us, so best make the most of it while it lasts.
At Grain Store Unleashed, Bruno Loubet’s newly opened residency at the Zetter (Bistro Bruno Loubet is no more), vegetables are the focus of the dishes. On the menu you’ll find a wonderful asparagus dish with brown butter, pomelo and bronze fennel. Sometimes you can do better than the traditional accompaniments. (Pictured top: one of Grain Store Unleashed’s dishes.)
Though when it comes to new season Jersey Royals, you really can’t beat a simple treatment of good butter and sea salt. Hawksmoor have the little spuds on their menu at the moment and they are well worth trying. For once, leave the chips and indulge in simpler pleasures.
Spring is a great time to be eating, with samphire, morels, watercress, gooseberries and much more in season.
With such a plethora of great, seasonal ingredients on show, you really have no excuse to eat out-of-season ingredients weighed down by food miles, and if you’re not sure what to buy at the supermarket, butcher or grocery store, simply ask them or check out the menus of any good local restaurant, which should be pointing the way.