You know us – any excuse for a banquet. So when the chefs at Nomad offered to create a seven course dinner for our dining club to celebrate the Mexican festival of Cinco de Mayo, who were we to refuse? On the Isle of Wight we’re nearer to vanquished France than victorious Mexico, but hey, street food!
It seems our endless banging on about the work of Nick Foster and Ryan Burr, Nomad’s talented kitchen creatives, has piqued the interest of local foodies. Before the announcement of the event was a few hours old, we’d completely sold out and were thrilled to release a second night of tickets – Seis de Mayo, if you will. Although not technically the anniversary of the Mexican army’s triumph at the Battle of Puebla, the demand was clearly there. So, with a total of fifty or so people booked on two consecutive nights could Ryan and Nick declare a victory? The proof was in the pudding (and the other six courses).
With our introductory ‘Victory’ cocktails on arrival – a tangy mix of vodka, lime and ginger – the guests mingled before dinner. We discovered some Nomad newbies, and some who had already experienced the delight that is Nomad and were keen to take advantage of this special valuetastic £30-a-head dinner.
The meal was served in a communal sharing style, each course being introduced by Nick Foster. His passion for the product was obvious; and his and Ryan’s culinary travels had clearly informed their choice of ingredients. Chocolate, chillies (though nothing here was tongue-botheringly hot), succulent slow-cooked meats including pulled pork and confit duck, herbs, pickles and spices were all used to great effect. After five courses of tingly, juicy, rich and delicious street food came the big one – ‘Last Man Standing’ achiote pollo horno: marinated and roasted chicken, of such moistness and flavour you could (probably) hear choirs of angels as it was laid before the gasping and astonished diners. We ripped into the chicken and, using the plumptious meat which fell away from the bones, we filled our soft tacos until we had to give up. Last man standing indeed – even Matt was defeated by this stunning course.
There was a brief pause in which we took selfies with delightful Mexican-themed chocolate moustaches handmade and presented by waitress Emily Stoffell, then it was onto dessert. Again, each table had a sharing platter or two loaded with sugared churros, salted, sweet peanuts, spectacular caramel millionaires’ cheesecake and ice cream. Dear god, it was wonderful. And, as hosts, we had to do it all again the next night.
Thanks to everyone who helped celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Nomad and, of course muchas gracias to the Nomad team for giving us two whole days exclusive use of their restaurant and delivering such a spectacular meal.
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