The more involved one gets in the food blogging community, the busier the social calendar tends to get.
Although really, I don't know if many can compete with the Queen of sweets, Daisy from Never Too Sweet! We had planned our dinner about a month in advance since she was in Asia, and when she got back, I headed off a week after! Since she also had weekend trips lined up though, she was going through her list of friends she was catching up with in the days following and I was flabbergasted! Such a pleasantly hectic schedule! But she's so lovely, so it's so easy to see why everybody wants a slice of her time!
For our catch up, we made our way to Epocha, snuggled into a lovely Victorian house just before Carlton turns into the city. The interior is kept warm and cosy, a marble fireplace with some gorgeous silverware present brings a touch of the traditionally English and gorgeously old school, whilst viridian green chairs and colourful tiles in the middle of the tables bring almost a summery vibe, reminiscent of Greece.
Which, when you hear the background of the owners makes complete sense. Our waiter explained that one was English and one was Greek, which means you also see influences from both cuisines in the menu (the owners apparently like to outmuscle each other to include more of their cuisine on the menu). Epocha means 'a new or distinctive era', which is a good reflection for how this modern European menu reads.
And boy, does this menu read well. Daisy and I were at absolutely lost on what to order, as we kind of wanted everything. Which is just really unfair.
We eventually got there, and as I sipped on a glass of wine (Daisy stayed with water since she was driving), we discussed blogging, desserts and well…blogging. I mean really, what else do you expect us to talk about?
We were presented with a small loaf…or maybe bun, or more like a hybrid between the two, of gorgeous dark rye bread, which was warm, soft and fluffy with a delicious nuttiness to it. Reminded me of when I was in Germany and I would buy loaves of the stuff for breakfast.
Then of course, we (or I) simply had to have the chicken liver parfait. Oh my. And why not?
Simply presented, it looked as if the liver parfait had come from a much bigger batch, generously lopped into a little bowl. It looked pillowy and light, which it was in texture. So smooth too. The flavour was rich and full, with a naughty touch of alcohol still present. Long after Daisy had decided to put down the knife, I was still going at it, gliding it over crispy and crunchy croutons, over and over again. Love this stuff!
A beetroot salad with goats curd, honey and walnuts, was quite refreshing, I absolutely loved the soft goats curd and the toasty walnuts. Surely you can never go wrong with gorgeously sweet beetroots?
For something a little more substantial we got the veal, sage and rosemary faggots with bubble and squeak. Now before you start throwing your hands up and asking why I'm referring to homosexuals…I'm not. Faggots are a traditional English dish, usually made from offal, typically pork, but not in our case!
So faggots are essentially like hand shaped sausages, but without skin. Ours came with little tails of rosemary on a bed of diced potatoes and carrots with peas. The meat was just lovely, with a luscious little bit of fattiness to it which was pleasant, I imagine it's a dish that could be quite dry, but not in this case! Well seasoned too.
With that, we ordered the cauliflower cream on the side…which is literally as it reads. I couldn't believe how fine and smooth they managed to get the cauliflower! The texture was like a potato puree, I had never seen cauliflower so creamy like this. And so rich in flavour too!
Although our savouries looked quite light, they were relatively filling, but Daisy and I were eating strategically so we could have plenty of dessert later…and cheese!
And goodness, what a cheese tray we had to choose from! Whilst I was eyeing off the blue veined goodness, we opted to share a lovely firm cheddar from Ireland or Scotland (forgot which), which came with the biggest lavosh I've ever seen in my life, and a selection of dried fruits. It tasted quite matured, without the bite that younger cheddars tend to have, which made it a nice easy cheese for slowly nibbling on while continuing to gasbag over this and that.
Before long though, we had to retire from the cheese so we could move on to dessert, which he had been eyeing the whole night as it had been floating from table to table, the little flirt.
Seriously. What a masterpiece!
Daisy and I hardly knew what to do with ourselves, telepathically trying to figure out if we could actually just keep the whole thing on our table!
Eventually we settled on two desserts, a triple chocolate gateaux with honeycomb and salted caramel profiteroles. Maybe not super creative, but incredibly classic and incredibly delicious.
The chocolate gateaux was just a treat with a mix of chocolatey textures, brownie, mousse and ganache, with a beautifully strong cocoa flavour. None of this super sugary stuff here! Whilst honeycomb makes for a pretty typical combination, I really did love the crunch it brought.
I also very much appreciate how generous Epocha was with the caramel on the profiteroles. Messy to pick up, but completely finger licking good! The puffs were so light with a smooth and light custard inside as well.
By the end of the night, I don't think Daisy or I really wanted to head off, as we lingered over the last bites of gateaux and continued exchanging ideas and thoughts. I always find my conversations with Daisy so inspiring! Epocha really has created a very welcoming and homely environment and dining experience. I really enjoyed having a tray of cheeses and tray of desserts to choose from, as I felt it broke down the formality that is usually present, and instead of teasing your brain with words of sweetness, the eyes are brought into the decision making process as well. Along with many giggles, oohs and aahs.
The food throughout the whole night just beautiful, our waiter so friendly and helpful, providing efficient but discreet service that meant the night had a very comfortable flow to it. Epocha perfectly bridges casual and fine dining for me, to create a very pleasant and relaxed experience, and is something I would love to see a lot more of. Probably one of my top dining experiences this year, it's really no wonder that these guys recently just got promoted to one hat! Congratulations!
49 Rathdowne Street
View I'm So Hungree in a larger map