In little under a month, we’ll be unveiling the new menu for Sports Café to you all – I can’t wait to hear your thoughts! In the meantime, I’ve been working hard to develop new menus elsewhere in our restaurants, in particular Huck’s American Bar and Grill. If you read my blog post in February you’ll know that the nation’s appetite for American food is bigger than ever, and I’ve been doing lots of research and tasting to bring our guests the best States-influenced tastes.
In fact, I’ve seen a handful of suppliers in the past three days, each showing off their finest produce for us to deliver. Last week I had the pleasure of visiting six different eateries in London for food tasting and inspiration-gathering. It’s always important to keep in line with trends. From Bodean’s BBQ and Meat Liquor to Covent Garden’s latest spot, Big Easy, I picked up lots of new ideas that I’m determined to bring to our Villages.
I loved the side dishes such as creamed corn and Boston beans, and I’d love to inject some of these into our menus at Center Parcs. However, I must say, out of all the eateries I visited I didn’t come across a decent macaroni and cheese all day. In my opinion a good mac ‘n’ cheese needs to be oozing with gooey, stringy cheese, which is nicely browned on top. We had macaroni cheese as a winter special recently, which went down really well so we could see that becoming more of a permanent fixture. What do you think, is it something you’d like to see?
But, the biggest takeaway that I got from my research trip was it highlighted just how good Huck’s is. I won’t name any names, but I found the food in one of the restaurants to be quite tasteless; although it’s clear that time and effort has been made, the execution falls short when it comes to flavours. I had a great sharing platter at the Big Easy, but the wings and calamari on the Huck’s sharing platters can certainly give it a run for its money. I love the idea of sharing food, though; diners can get stuck in with their hands, peeling juicy prawns and lobster tails – a real interactive dining experience.
The new Huck’s menu is set to include lots of exciting new dishes – I can’t give too much away, but there’s going to be a fantastic burger that is guaranteed to make your mouth water. In fact, I’m in Manchester in a couple of weeks where I’ll be working with a baker to create the very best bun for the new menu. I don’t want any old bread off the shelf – this has to be something special and unique that our guests will remember. I also have an amazing dessert up my sleeve that’s going to be a lot of fun. Including a gingham rice-paper napkin, the entire dish will be edible.
I can’t wait for you all to see the menu development come to life; we’ll be announcing the date of our tasting panel very soon. But for now, I’m off to the gym! After weeks of food tasting around the country and trying out new dishes, I’m perilously close to adding another notch to my belt.