Tuesday, 6th September 2016 – Cameron’s Kitchen, Stony Stratford
An email in late August alerted me to the fact that one of my favourite eating places, Cameron’s Kitchen, in Stony Stratford was rolling out a new menu, with lots of starters/sharing plates, a small selection on more conventional meat, fish and vegetarian options, and a selection of rye sourdough pizzas cooked in their new wood-fired pizza oven. So far, so trendy!
We’ll miss the tasting menus and such like but can understand why they’ve done it. We decided that we’d give it a try anyway and thus arrived at Cameron’s last night.
We were pleased to see that you can still get a Kir Royale, and that the chorizo popcorn is still on the menu.
Dan Cameron has always made a very good savoury popcorn, and this is no exception. Not only that but the little metal bucket it comes in seems to have got bigger over the years. It was accompanied by a small pot of mixed olives, two slices of excellent focaccia studded with peppers, and a helping of pesto. I’m not sure why it’s taken me till now to realise it but the baking that comes out of the kitchen there is never less than glorious, and as the meal developed last night it became ever clearer to me.
We decided that we would opt for two of the sharing/starter plates and thus I ordered pan roasted scallops, grilled chorizo, and a porcini mushroom and truffle cream. The scallops were just right, the chorizo soft with a lively hit of chilli about it and the porcini cream was to die for. It needs spreading on toast or inserting into a jacket potato. It needs its own fan club quite frankly. If you like mushrooms this is bordering on the ultimate mushroom flavour, intensely earthy and quite, quite amazing.
The other choice was a wood oven baked whole cauliflower, with a dip of curry yoghurt. The cauliflower had clearly been anointed with a cumin flavoured oil, and the result still had some crunch to it and was a superb if somewhat unusual dish that I’d happily eat again. You can overcook cauliflower so easily so I was delighted to find the texture was just right. It also came with a lightly fried flatbread that was just delicious.
After that it was a case of “can we eat another course” or not. Suffering from extreme tiredness after an insomniac night there was a definite risk of ending up face down in my food, snoring my head off if I got this wrong. We finally decided that we should order a pizza, and so after some debate we opted for the Moroccan lamb, roast leek, pine nut, spinach, apricot, yoghurt and mozzarella version. It was just as well we did only order one, as they’re not exactly small. We cut a quarter each and started in on it. While it wasn’t conventional, it was one of the best pizzas I’ve encountered in a very long time. The base was thin, crispy, and just the right texture. The topping (with tomato – the other choice is a bechamel sauce) was really delicious, with little nuggets of minced lamb scattered about, threaded through with vegetable strips, and just enough cheese to hold it all together. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t eat a whole one and in fact on this occasion I couldn’t even eat half a one. Aillie happily packed the leftovers up for us and I had mine for lunch today. It was almost as good cold…
So all in all while it’s a shame that the tasting menus had to go, at least if the business is to remain viable into the future, this replacement more modern menu looks to me as if it will be a success. It deserves to be.