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Dish Of The Week: Trotters From A Great New Chef

Jonathan Schofield finds John Farrrer's cooking at Teacup superb and can't wait to get back

Published on May 8th 2012.


Dish Of The Week: Trotters From A Great New Chef

What?

A boned trotter, over mash, with sausages, and seasonal veg.

How much?

£10

Where?

Teacup, Thomas Street, 55 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, City, 0161 832 3233.

Isn't Teacup famous for cakes and er...tea?

It is and still is. On a birthday visit last week the family and I had a moist and gorgeous Victoria Sponge. There were some fruit filled meringues looking pretty in pink on display too. And this chocolate pudding....but I want to talk about the skill in delivering the glorious pigs feet.

The trotters?

Yes those indeed. Delicately boned and then reconstituted into a moist, rich bulb of flesh, that breaks as though the knife has been invited in when cut. It is just a tiny bit but perfectly so, sweet, when sampled, and the skin is almost clean in flavour. This is where chef John Farrer comes in. He cooks with great clarity and great finesse.

Who's Farrer?

A man of great experience despite his tender looking years. He has worked with Pierre Koffman and Jeff Baker for many a season, learning to love food. Chefs with big names, chefs, particularly in the case of Koffman, with big reputations. Guess what he did with the trotter?

 

Flat facade with Teacup in redFlat facade with Teacup in red

Go on

He blow-torched very delicately to remove the hairs of the flesh to soften it but not break it down or crack it. He cooked the trotter in sherry vinegar and sugar molasses to lend a sour and sweet effect. The result was heaven. Then there's the vegetables. He treated these as though they were best friends.

He took them out and bought them a drink?

In a manner of speaking. John Farrer may well be the best chef of vegetables in the city at the moment. The beetroot, the carrot had a yielding character to them but were firm too. They had a sort of belief in themselves. 

I don't think vegetables can feel confident.

These did. This was the skill here: the vegetables were not a glib distraction to be forgotten about in the rush for the flesh, they were as much as part of the meal as the trotters, and the sausages. Confident see?

And the sausages and the mash?

Perfectly delivered, the mash a creamy joy, the sausages full of character and the gravy, rich and full: lovely all bunched together with the veg and the trotter. But I hadn't finished with describing the veg.

Sorry, will the confident veg now be angry?

That's the point. No they were happy. I asked Farrrer about his approach to the vegetables, and how come his were about the best in the city, and he said, "You have to love them a little. I tell the kitchen that there are two ways to cut wood, take an axe to it or saw it carefully. Which has the smoother finish, which should we be doing? It's the same with the vegetables, treat them with care and you'll have a finer result."

And all this for a tenner?

Yep a tenner. I'll be back for the full review soon. Teacup in its 'Suppa and Cuppa' (or wine) menu is providing value with top quality from the kitchen. John Farrer is one to watch, he's the real deal, a real talent. Not often are you surprised by the techniques in a kitchen, especially one that has no reputation for cooking savoury food and one you thought of as the engine room for a teashop, but John Farrer is a cut-above. Get down there and order those trotters soon. 

Who are these people below? 

They're the kitchen team JC, Adam, Lewis, Nicholas and Tim. John Farrer is third from the left. Good chefs - but I wouldn't want to meet them in a Northern Quarter alley late at night. 

You can follow Confidential writers on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

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