Meet Giovanni Castorina
From serving VIPs to the go-to trends in mixology at the moment – Our Bar Manager, Giovanni Castorina tells us all about his craft.
7th May 2019
English peas, mint and buttermilk
The first course of our new Taste of Spring menu is the perfect appetiser for spring and summer. I love peas because they are grown in abundance across Britain, so they’re the perfect seasonal product I always love to make the very best use of. Mint goes really well with peas, while the sweetness of peas goes really well with the slightly sour Jersey cow buttermilk we use at The Athenaeum too. We garnish the dish with a lime dressing, radishes and herb oil to give the dish some extra zing. I absolutely love this combination of ingredients!
Everleigh Farm asparagus, crispy hen’s egg and Gloucester Old Spot bacon
At The Athenaeum, we’ve been getting some of our ingredients from Everleigh Farm in Marlborough for quite some time now. Located on the edge of the North Essex Downs, this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is also a haven for some of Britain’s best produce. Their asparagus is an absolute dream and adds a vital and seasonal freshness to this dish. We serve the dish with a poached Burford Brown – eggs that are known for their fresh farm taste and rich golden yolks – plus cured and dry-aged Gloucester Old Spot bacon, with its characteristic sweetness. Topped with crispy breadcrumbs, this dish harks back to Britain’s idyllic countryside.
Sea trout, Jersey Royals, wild mushrooms and spring greens
At this time of year, sea trout starts to become more readily available in Britain, so this dish makes the most of another wonderfully seasonal ingredient. In this dish, we blow torch the fish to give it a slightly barbecued finish – whetting the appetite for the summer ahead. We tap into some of the freshest vegetables at this time of year too, by pairing it with a broad bean puree and spring beans. The wild mushroom broth we serve it with gives it a hearty but rich depth of flavour. This is the season for Jersey Royal potatoes too, which finishes the dish off with a robust and earthy feeling.
Strawberry panna cotta, shortbread and basil
For dessert, we can’t resist incorporating a little flair from continental Europe and further afield with this original twist on a panna cotta. The panna cotta itself is infused with exotic Tahitian vanilla, while we source Mara des Bois and Gariguette strawberries – known for their particularly remarkable flavour – from Spain and France. The texture of our lemon shortbread and the fragrance of the basil ensures this dessert reaches all your senses!
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