Friday, 19th August 2016 – Cameron’s Kitchen, Stony Stratford
For some time now chef Dan Cameron , a Master Chef, The Professionals finalist, has been running his eponymous restaurant in a quiet corner of Stony Stratford, just on the edge of Milton Keynes. Rebranding from Cameron’s to Cameron’s Kitchen came after a fire all but destroyed the place a couple of years back and it rose, phoenix-like, from the ashes to some acclaim and great enthusiasm from us. Combined with a small wine shop/burger joint in the same courtyard, they have developed a lovely tendency to do fairly frequent one-off wine menus, show-casing one region or another, and until just recently have also had a terrific way with a tasting menu (of 5 or 7 courses depending on how greedy you’re feeling).
A voucher offer for August gave us the chance to have a 2-for-1 on the tasting menu and it would have been frankly churlish not to indulge.Voucher duly purchased we arrived on time and were greeted by the lovely Aillie, who soon has us settled in our seats with a Kir Royale to hand.
The meal got off to the usual – for Cameron’s anyway – start of a tiny savoury scone, something he’s always been brilliant at. This one was very tasty with soft cheese on top and a hit of tomato and basil about it. I wish I could bake scones half as well…
This was the stage of the evening where we made a bit of a tactical error having already decided we’d go for the 5 course and not the 7 course menu because we ordered the chorizo popcorn. Now I can’t normally be bothered with popcorn and if it’s the stuff they sell in cinemas I’m sure you’d be better off just eating the container! There is no purpose to it and it tastes of nothing. This, however, is a different matter altogether. It’s savoury, salty and the chorizo infuses it with smoky meatiness. It cries out to be eaten… so we did.
Up next was a lovely risotto, the rice just the right side of al dente, seasoned with crab and with a tiny slice of tuna steak perched jauntily atop it, the tuna pink in the middle and seared round the edges, just how I want my tuna to be cooked. It started a run of fishy dishes that would only stop towards the end of the meal.
Next we were straight back into fish again, this time scallops and sea bream. It does sometimes seem like any chef worth his salt (or any other condiment of your choice) includes scallops these days. Just as well I never get bored with them then… The creamy sauce was super and I love samphire so was more than happy to have it on the plate, even if the saltiness of it can be a bit overpowering sometimes.
All that remained was to tackle dessert or cheese. We opted for one of each, and shared them. This is particularly hard to do because (unlike many previous Master Chef contestants for whom chocolate fondants were the cheffy equivalent of Kryptonite) Dan is very, very good indeed at fondants. This one lived up to his reputation, with a lovely crusty exterior and oozing chocolate in the centre. The ice cream and the salted caramel sauce just added to the pleasure.