Yorkshire Life Luncheon - The Design House Restaurant, Dean Clough, Halifax
PUBLISHED: 15:52 28 September 2011 | UPDATED: 10:47 14 January 2016
This was a lunch full of many surprises which gave guests plenty to talk about as Esther Leach discovers Photographs by john cocks
The Design House Restaurant
Dean Clough Arts and Business Centre
Majestic Wines Commercial
0845 604 9949
The first hint of how different this Yorkshire Life lunch would be was at the entrance to the restaurant. Man-made trees were unloaded from a van and carried into the lobby and then disappeared into the dining room. It wasn’t until guests began to arrive that we were allowed a further glimpse of what was happening at the Design House Restaurant in Dean Clough, Halifax.
The preparations went on in the softly lit dining room as we enjoyed welcome drinks and canapés but it wasn’t too long before we were let into the secret.
Our lunch was to showcase the setting and menu for an exciting charity event The Imaginarium to mark the Community Foundation for Calderdale’s 20th anniversary.
The man-made trees were props for the event and one was placed in the centre of each table with bread rolls ready to be picked from the branches.
Underneath each tree was a wonderful selection of tapas dishes served in jars, pots, glasses and on plates offering some very different and unexpected flavours such as cured salmon served with beetroot, wasabi or liquorice.
The main course was a plateful of different ideas for serving beef including rolled rump steak on pressed boulangere, steak and ale pie and corned beef hash fritter.
And dessert was a particularly fine sherry trifle decorated with gold leaf with the sherry served using a syringe on the side of each plate.
The people behind this unusual showcase lunch had invited many outside caterers to tender for their exciting charity event but it was Lee Marshall and his team at Design House Outside, the outside catering arm of the Design House Restaurant that won over the organisers.
‘I love coming up with ideas, silly things such as the syringe for the sherry trifle,’ said Lee. ‘I am 40 this year but still feel 18. This charity event involves 520 people on 52 tables – it will be manic, stupid-crazy to get it all done, but we will love it.’
Creativity is vital among chefs in a kitchen for a successful business, added Lee. ‘Chefs become bored and stale without it.’ He has been in the restaurant business since he was a teenager. ‘This is my life. It’s hard work, I’m self employed, I have a family to take care of.
‘Design House Outside, our outside catering team, has been going about a year and we are doing well. But the restaurant is my baby. I liked it that much I bought it. I love it.’
Sarah Petty, managing director of Prego Events, Halifax, said Lee was the only chef who had actually followed their brief for bespoke food to be served at their charity event.
The event, she added, would be like no other, a unique experience in support of a range of causes throughout Calderdale especially youth enterprise and creativity.
At the time of going to press The Imaginarium was sold out even though the venue for the high class black tie celebration had still not been revealed.
‘Everyone has bought into the mystery of the event,’ added Sarah. ‘It’s the event everyone is talking about.’
Chicken liver parfait, plum jelly, cured salmon three ways: beetroot, wasabi and liquorice; Eat Me ham and lettuce, Drink Me lettuce gazpacho, pigeon pie with quail egg and celery salt, pike brandade with potato crisps, Yorkshire feta and tomato tian, various breads
Beef burger, steak and ale pie, rolled rump steak on pressed boulangere, corned beef hash fritter on pressed autumn vegetables all with a Black Sheep jus and horseradish foam
The Imaginarium Sherry Trifle
by Sean Beveridge of Majestic Wines, who supplied wines for the lunch
Gordon Negro Brut, known as the Black Bottle Bubbly, is Freixenet’s most popular cava and the number one imported sparkling wine in the world, ideal for any occasion. It is crisp, clean and well balanced but the acidity is lower than most champagne for a softer smoother flavour.
Prosecco di Conegliano Valdobbiadene Extra Dry NV Italy is ideal for any occasion – delightful, light, subtly perfumed. This benign bottle endows any occasion with a sense of wellbeing.
Ned Black Label Waihopai River Sauvignon Blanc 2010 Marlborough offers superb purity of fruit and varietal character. A nose of nettles and grass leads to generous gooseberry flavours with a smokey herbal twist on the palate reminiscent of a well crafted Sancerne.
Concha y Toro Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Maule Valley is a wonderful golden yellow dessert wine with amber tones and sumptuous with ripe papaya, peach and honey aromas.
The print version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of Yorkshire Life
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