Michael O'Hare serves up coffee based delights at Nespresso coffee boutique launch in Leeds
PUBLISHED: 00:00 18 November 2016
Simon Dewhurst Photograpy Ltd 2016
Michelin star chef shows his unique approach to food at a special coffee tasting evening, as Esther Leach reports.
There was an odd moment during a coffee tasting when a young woman hesitated before deciding to try a cupcake canapé prepared by Michelin star chef Michael O’Hare. The instruction was to eat the morsel whole, including the wrapper. But the young woman began to peel the wrapper away much to O’Hare’s concern. It took not a little encouragement from chef (and guests) to persuade her to munch on the wrapper too although I’m not sure even now that she did.
The cupcake – a Liquid Rosebaya de Colombia cupcake with bitter soft meringue and edible wrapper – was one of five extraordinary canapés prepared by O’Hare to celebrate the new Nespresso coffee boutique in the latest shopping centre to open in Leeds, Victoria Gate.
The tasting involved food and coffee pairing. Coffee and cake have always been natural companions as far as I was concerned but coffee and O’Hare’s canapés were something else altogether.
Nespresso is the stylish coffee brand promoted on TV by George Clooney, we were all hoping for a surprise appearance but in vain. Instead O’Hare and Nespresso’s coffee expert Neil Phillips took a group of coffee addicts through the opening night menu.
There were three savoury and two sweet canapés prepared that evening. If I list a couple here you will have an idea of just how unexpectedly different they were. For example Duck liver, balsamic vinegar and Vivalto Lungo coffee, Smoked mackerel and Ciocattino bon bons (creamed fish coated in ground Ciocattino), Veal sweetbread slider in Dharkan hoi sin. This was pan roasted sweetbread served in a steamed bun. How do you imagine they tasted? Rich and morish. My favourite was the Liquid Rosabaya de Colombia cupcake with bitter soft meringue and edible wrapper, which I thought was exceptionally creative. Each canapé was served with different coffees in tiny glasses – really coffee has never in my experience tasted so different.
O’Hare says it isn’t so much that he is inspired in his cooking by coffee, more that he and his kitchen team existed on it. ‘It’s all we drink to keep us going,’ says O’Hare as he met guests before packing up to return to his restaurant Man Behind the Curtain, just around the corner from the new shopping centre.
Forgive my emphasis on the canapés in this piece about coffee but they were delicious and it leaves me with the perfect excuse to go back to the gleaming new Nespresso boutique to find out more about them.