April Fool’s Day it may have been, but there was nothing foolish about our decision to book tickets for Vincent Castellano’s All Things Pig Dinner – a two-night pop-up restaurant held at St Aldhelm’s Church on Bedminster’s Chessel Street last weekend…
While the man behind Fishponds’ Castellano’s Deli devised the menu and prepared the food, the evening was hosted by the funny-yet-surreal Jean-Pierre from Bath’s Beaujolais restaurant (who at various points in the evening was dressed as a vicar, encouraging diners to take a break from eating to dance, and generally poking fun at a variety of people), and music was provided by the Gaulois Brothers. The church was a surreal setting for the evening, but combined with two long tables and free-flowing conversation between diners (it seemed that half of Bristol’s Twitter-using food population was there on the Friday!) created a fantastic atmosphere.
Our menu for the evening was a fantastic way to showcase just how versatile the humble pig is – I dread to think how much prior preparation went into the evening. The appetiser combined trotters, sausage meat and seasoning to create a small patty, served underneath a slice of soft boudin noir and topped with a caramel apple; the entree featured a brawn salad with celeriac remoulade, and the main managed to combine slow roast pork ham loin with Toulouse sausage and smoked pancetta – very piggy indeed!
Hats off to Vincent and his team for their creativity, and their obvious passion for their produce. I definitely need to plan my first trip to Castellano’s sometime over the next few weeks, as a result of the charcuterie board if nothing else. The pate de campagne, pate en croute, saucisson, coppa and jamon were probably the highlight of the meal for me.
The evening was finished off with a selection of cheeses (including the fantastic washed rind Gorwydd Caerphilly from Trethowan’s) and a dessert of Royal au Chocolat…glad to see that the pig still found its way through to dessert, in the form of a chocolate button imprinted with a picture of the animal.
Thanks so much to Vincent and all of those who helped him both in advance and on the night – a truly enjoyable evening which demonstrated just how much more there is to a pig than bacon and pork chops! I’ll be over for my charcuterie fix shortly…
I didn’t really take any photos of the event – church lighting plus point-and-click camera don’t work very well together! If you’re interested in seeing some fantastic photos of the evening, you can do so on the following two sites, courtesy of Rob and Jed: