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Somerset Cottage Newsletter March 2017
23rd of March 2017
Our experience of customer expectations over the years in Tauranga is quite different to that. People don't want to wait, they want to ring and book a table at a time that suits them, and expect to have it ready when they arrive.
Very seldom do we get casuals, that is, people who haven't booked in advance, arriving at the door and requesting a table. ( Having said that, we do have some very good customers who I adore, who live locally, and who are quite regular at appearing without a booking, and being completely relaxed about where we squeeze them, if it happens to be a big night!). To arrive as a casual is to run the risk of either being told there is nothing available or that you might have to wait until something is. And people don't seem to want to do that much in Tauranga.
Sometimes we get a little bemused about the inflexibility around time that some customers exhibit, but equally being a restaurant which is predominantly filled by bookings has the advantage of meaning we get reasonable advance warning of how busy each service is going to be, and that allows us to plan accordingly.
But every so often things don't quite happen like that, and last night was a classic example, when 4 tables of casuals turned up to our surprise, one of which was a 6. Fortuntely for them we were heading for a quiet night, so were able to accomodate them. Unfortunetly for Rick and I it meant we couldn't slink away quite as early as we'd been anticipating because our presence was required, and that meant we didn't get to fit in quite as many episodes of 'Suits' as we'd been planning...
You get that!!
We'd done a cookschool during the day, the last in the current series, and that means it is now time to set the dates for the next upcoming one.
Rick has started batting around some ideas for the cookschool dishes and they all sound suitably autumnal and delicious. Likewise the Weekly Menu at the restaurant is also featuring to a marked degree as much of the wonderful produce that's around this time of year as we can get our greedy hands on!
We've been delighted to meet Silvio from Abundant Backyards who is now supplying us with late season heirloom tomatoes and other wonderful produce. It is all that we have been hoping to find locally for some time now - someone who can grow the kind of regular quantities that we need, and who is completely passionate about what he is doing. You can meet him at the regular weekend Farmers Markets..
(Heirloom tomatoes, basil, Cilantro Goats cheese, brown butter, toasted crumbs)
And Highcrest Free Range farms in Te Puke are now supplying us with a regular half pork carcass, which is requiring the kitchen to come up with constantly evolving ways of dealing with the different cuts. Rather than going through four bellies in a week, which would all be cooked in the same manner, they're having to consider a shoulder, leg, belly, loin and cheek - all of which require quite different treatment. The pork is of such outstanding quality though, that it is making the challenge more than worthwhile.
Last night we all tried slices of the boned shoulder that had been panfried after 12 hours confit in the sous vide at 72%. It all but melted in the mouth.
Have no idea how Rick plans on serving that in the restaurant, and he's out on his bike at the moment so I can't ask, but assume the escalope will be coming off, and the shoulder will go on. We're in for a busy few nights, and pork is always a notably good seller, so expect it to disappear quickly.
Brendon from Highcrest also sells his pork at The Farmers Market.
We're heading over to the Waikato tomorrow - a few places we want to go and have a look at, and also to catch up with the ladies from Cilantro Cheese. Their cheese is amongst the best I've ever eaten, and we've just tried their caramalised goats milk, cajeta, which rather took our fancy, and may end up being incorporated into the next cookschool series I think.
So many clever people doing interesting things out there - it all adds a huge dimension to what we do!!
And now, had better slip out to get a walk in, before I'm due over at the restaurant to interview someone for a job.
Live happily, and we look forward to catching up soon,
View Previous Newsletters:
- 8th September 2016
- 25th August 2016
- 28th July 2016
- 30th June 2016
- 12th May 2016
- 2nd April 2016
- 22nd January 2016
- 3rd December 2015
- 8th September 2015
- 8th August 2015
- 27th May 2015
- 25th March 2015
- 19th January 2015
- 12th December 2014
- 10th November 2014
- 9th October 2014
- 23rd August 2014
- 26th July 2014
- 28th June 2014