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‘ Wonderful food, great service and a real sense of calm as young chef Marcin Sielski puts on a display of assured, convincing cooking as part of the Wirral Young Chef of the Year competition 2017 ’

Attention to detail shines through in everything the Leverhulme does, and this pervasive quality is no more evident than in the culinary delights prepared tonight by young chef Marcin Sielski.

In a restaurant world full of pre-paid hype, foams, gels and vacuum packed everything, you get a real breath of fresh air at the Riviera Restaurant, as there is something hugely encouraging about a chef who has clearly developed (under the mentorship of Head Chef Ashley Moran) in confidence and technical ability over the past 12 months (Marcin was a finalist in 2016).

Attentive floor staff greeted us on arrival and as we were seated at our crystal clear glass tables (thankfully bereft of a snowfield of white linen) our waiting team extoled the virtues of each course whilst recommending companion beverages to accompany each dish that lay in wait in the kitchen next door.

And so to the opening event……

To Start: Cauliflower Velouté, Truffle and Chorizo OIl

The arrival of the starter attacked the senses on every different level, from the delicious aroma of truffle oil and chorizo, to the eye-widening vibrancy of the presentation….we hoped the taste would be just as pleasurable….and we weren’t disappointed! This was a truly impeccable cauliflower velouté and without doubt a contender for one of the best ever starters at a Wirral Young Chef restaurant event. The word velouté actually translates as being like velvet, and it was so smooth that you didn’t know whether to lie on it or eat it! The truffle oil and thin slices of chorizo complemented the velouté impeccably and the addition of tiny petals of coriander shoots added colour and subtelty found in many Michelin starred restaurants…what a start!

Main Course: Merebrook House Honey glazed Pork Loin accompanied by smoked pomme purée, Kale, Heritage Carrots, served with a jus.

The sensory fireworks continued to explode with the arrival of the main course. Richard, our waiter for the evening, explained that the chef had smoked the butter used in the pomme purée on site, and the gentle smokiness added a wonderful taste that carried through every mouthful. We were also informed that the pork had been sourced from pigs reared at Bebington High School then kept at Claremont Farm ( the provider of the vegetables also) in specially designed woodland roaming pens before eventually being butchered at Leverhulme, meaning that the ingredients used had travelled no more than a mile and a half, no good for frequent air miles but terrific for supporting local producers in an eco-friendly way! This was a gloriously savoury dish with subtle honey notes scattered with generous pieces of crispy kale, and lots of delicious pork fat, reminding the diner that eating fat can sometimes be a real pleasure.

(Richard had also recommnded a cider-Willy’s cider produced in Ledbury, to accompany the pork, which was crisp and refreshing and complemented the meat beautifully)

Dessert: Pear, Rhubarb and Merebrook House Honey Fool

And so to the finish line…. A pear, rhubarb and honey fool featuring layers of soft pear, cream and granola crumb that added texture. The dessert didn’t quite match the confidence and execution of the first two courses, however the brisk sharp notes of rhubarb, carefully deployed with the Merebrook honey elevated the dish to leave myself and my fellow diners content and impressed by the efforts of this talented young chef.

In the words of Head Chef Ashley Moran, the team have worked hard over the last 12 months to create a really good atmosphere between all the staff in order create the maximum level of hospitality for residents and visitors alike, so why not visit this hidden Port Sunlight gem and find out for yourselves!

Well done Marcin and good luck in the cook-off which takes place on Monday 3rd April at Wirral Metropolitan College.

Tony Boustead (College Manager-Hospitality & Catering)

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