Sunday, July 26, 2009

Why aren't restaurants more imaginative about cheese?

I was thinking about this blog the other day and realised that one of the reasons I don't post more often (apart from having too many other things to do) is that I don't often come across an amazing cheese dish in a restaurant. Or a really interesting cheese course that doesn't cost significantly more than a dessert.

There aren't that many chefs who put a named dish with a named cheese on the menu - odd when they are by and large keen to stress the provenance of other ingredients like their meat, fish and vegetables. Food writer and restaurateur Mark Hix is a notable exception and La Fromagerie in Moxon Street in Marylebone does a great job but I haven't come across many others You'd think more restaurants would be offering cheese-based dishes to vegetarians but that doesn't seem to be the case.

It's not good news for Britain's many talented artisan cheesemakers who could do with a showcase for their efforts.

I've come across some great places when I've been travelling, especially in Canada (see picture above) and the States and recently heard about a fabulous-sounding restaurant in New York called Casellula which someone mentioned on Twitter, which offers really imaginative cheese sandwiches and cheese flights.

So come on, restaurant entrepreneurs, why can't we have a cutting edge cheese café in London? Or anywhere else in the UK, come to that. It's not as if there aren't a lot of us cheeselovers out there . . .

If you know of a restaurant where you can get great cheese dishes or an interesting cheese course, do let me know.


Michael Olivier's Wine and Food Blog said...

Dear Fiona - having run a National Top Ten Restaurant in South Africa, we tried the cheese thing and we had so few orders from customers. We had a lovely cheese trolley which stood in the entrance all with glass bells all meltingly ripe and people used to stop and look at them and say Ooh!, must have cheese. And then order a dessert. Our desserts were a speciality. We offered a cheese plate and it was never ordeured. Dont know the answer? Lv Michael

Fiona Beckett said...

I agree cheese trolleys are an anachronism that few people can afford these days, Michael but how about cheese plates like the one in the photo which was served at the Park Hyatt in Toronto? Keeps the cost of the cheese down but keeps us cheeselovers happy ;-) (Though I suppose for some chocolate will always win out :( )