There’s a summer of fired up fine dining ahead as Lichfield’s Dubberley Delicious get set to serve up barbecue – with their signature style, as Amy Norbury discovers
Blazing sunshine one minute, downpours the next? It can only mean one thing – the great British summer time is upon us. And when it comes to dining options, there’s nothing which says summer better than a good barbecue.
And barbecue means burgers, sausages and chicken wings, right? Honestly, you couldn’t be more wrong! Barbecue has had a culinary makeover, so it’s high time you swap your sorry sausages for something altogether more delicious.
Dubberley Delicious, in fact.
Nestled in a cosy cabin on the site of the Lichfield garden centre The Plant Pot, Dubberley Delicious are purveyors of the finest of dining, where only the best produce and the freshest of nature’s bounty goes into creating a unique foodie experience.
With just one single table stationed in front of the kitchen it means that not only is the entire place yours, but you get to watch all the culinary action as it unfolds. And with the option to create a bespoke menu – or be surprised and delighted by what chef Jack Dubberley comes up with – Dubberley Delicious offers a chef’s table experience without the restaurant.
While indoor dining is a one-table-only affair, meaning dates get booked up exceedingly quickly, there is another way to sample Dubberley Delicious’ mouth-watering culinary delights.
Throughout summer, Jack will be firing up the Big Green Egg for a series of outdoor fine dining barbecue events – pesky weather permitting, of course. For those of you who don’t know, the Big Green Egg is pretty much the king of barbecues; a ceramic-lined behemoth of outdoor cooking. And Jack will be taking his kitchen outside to whip up an array of tasty treats.
J’AIME was lucky enough to be invited along to the first barbecue of the season – and after sampling Jack’s cooking on several occasions, we couldn’t wait to see him put his own spin on a summer staple.
As it was Father’s Day, we had the two minis in tow – meaning they too could enjoy some fine dining in a more casual, kid-friendly setting than a formal restaurant.
And family is at the heart of what Dubberley Delicious do; while skilled chef Jack runs the show, his sister Lucy can often be found helping out with front of house duties, even roping in their parents for an extra pair of hands or two when the occasion calls for it.
The menu, while a more simple affair than Jack’s usual offerings, sounded utterly delicious. So much so that there wasn’t anything we didn’t fancy. So one of everything it was.
An array of light bites – or starters, as we liked to call them! – included wild garlic focaccia, £4, BBQ king prawns, £7, and chargrilled asparagus from local suppliers New Farm, £8.
The bread was beautifully light and fluffy, the prawns sweet and succulent, and served with a generous dollop of Jack’s homemade wild garlic mayonnaise. Foraging is a passion of Jack’s, and he uses his foraged wild garlic across a number of dishes in season, while preserving the remainder of his spoils for later use.
Fresh asparagus in season is always a joy, and Jack’s fine dining twist saw beautifully chargrilled spears topped with yuzu gel and aged parmesan custard; the sharp, citrus kick of the yuzu perfectly balancing the richness of the cheese.
Sweet and sour tomatoes are a firm favourite on the Dubberley Delicious menu, and these made for a wonderful barbecue treat, served with smoked ricotta and puffed pearl barley, £7. These are tomatoes and then some; sweet, tangy, juicy and incredibly moreish, they were a winner with us all.
We already know and love Jack’s signature wild garlic popcorn, £3, and this proved a massive hit with our seven-year-old too – so much so that he polished off the lot and went back for more.
Spring lamb koftas, £8, rounded off the first selection of dishes. Beautifully spiced, with a cooling mint yoghurt, fresh cucumber ketchup and pickled cucumber ribbons, it was a delicious showcase of quality ingredients.
Now, when we said forget about burgers, we may have been a little hasty – although Jack’s three burger options bear little resemblance to the fast food staple we’re all used to.
Slabs of melt-in-the-mouth finest quality Welsh wagyu brisket glazed with soy and maple and adorned with punchy black garlic mayonnaise, £15, and tender wild garlic infused buttermilk chicken breast with Cajun mayonnaise and gherkins, £12, all served on soft brioche buns, made for seriously impressive burger iterations.
But the biggest surprise was the vegetarian fayre – beautifully barbecued halloumi with shiitake mushrooms, charred baby gem lettuce and a glorious tomato salsa, £10, was possibly my husband’s favourite of the lot. High praise indeed from a dedicated meat eater.
A variety of side dishes included triple cooked chips, red cabbage slaw – another of our son’s top picks – sweet Jersey Royals adorned with homemade wild garlic pesto, sticky onions and an incredible bacon jam, made for a veritable feast which offered something for us all.
We could have happily called it a day there, but there was no way the children were going to let us go anywhere without sampling the sweet treats on offer.
And what treats they were. The New Farm strawberry cheesecake with vanilla ice cream and perfectly ripe strawberries, £6.50 was a sophisticated take on a family favourite. But it was the chocolate cremeux with salted caramel and toasted marshmallow ice cream, £7, which proved to be the collective winner. The slight hint of dark chocolate bitterness and the toasty notes ensured just the right amount of sweetness, while the whole thing felt deliciously decadent.
If you’ve not yet tried the Dubberley Delicious experience, then summer’s barbecues are the perfect introduction – we guarantee you’ll be left wanting more.