Expect the unexpected when former Two Cats chef Niki Astley takes over Moseley’s swish wine bar and kitchen Cheval Blanc later this month.
Niki, who launched a pop-up venture called Salt & Earth after the closure of the much-praised Two Cats in the Jewellery Quarter, and his team will offer a total of six nights at Cheval.
He promises that his White Menu will be determined by availability, seasonality and quality on the day.
Cheval’s expert team will decide a wine pairing, drawing on the venue’s excellent cellar.
Tickets cost £65, which includes food and the wine flight.
Niki will be cooking at Cheval Blanc on November 13, 14 and 15, then again on November 20, 21 and 22.
The food there will move away slightly from the Asian-Latin American influences of Salt & Earth and showcase a more classical/modern French flavours.
Niki explained: “We had recently come back from a visit to Paris and a restaurant by David Toutain who offers no menu prior to the dining experience allowing the chef to play with ingredients and dishes that are best suited to the moment – even things in season frequently offer up poor examples of themselves.
“This can be the fault of suppliers or even shifts in micro-seasonality which damage whole crops that should otherwise be decent and with us.
“The beauty of the Cheval Blanc pop up is we will be committed to the uncertainty of what is within our reach on that day, in that moment.
“Even at Two Cats, where the menu shifted constantly, I couldn’t constantly get my hands on what I would be serving in advance.
“The White Menu is built around that – we might showcase sea urchin one day, oysters the next; there might be an abundance of wild duck in the first week and the second could see us serving venison.
“I consider cooking a craftsman’s job and you should always be able to work with what’s in front of you, on your wits, away from constant premeditation.”