The Soul Fire Restaurant illustrated by Kayleigh Bluck.
A gourmet three course meal served up by a world class chef (Charlie Nicoll, formerly of the River Cafe) – at a festival? You could be forgiven for thinking you’d just heard wrong. But this was exactly what I enjoyed on Friday night at the Soul Fire Restaurant at Secret Garden Party this year.
Guests were encouraged to book their place online, and the restaurant (housed in three cosy yurts backing onto a kitchen preparation area) was busy as soon as we arrived for the first sitting at the leisurely hour of 9.30pm.
In the first yurt diners were treated to some live music, and out back we were seated in candlelit surroundings at a shared table, with walls decorated in contemporary art. The waiters were delightful, and from the incredibly reasonably priced £30 three course menu we were soon chomping on our starter choices of Uig Lodge Smoked Salmon Blinis with Sour Cream and Avruga Caviar, and a large portion of succulent Wild Mushroom Arancini with Rocket and Aioli.
Illustrations by Katie Harnett.
My only quibble with the menu was the lack of an obvious main vegetarian option (we had to ask for it) but in the end we all settled on the same dishes – French Freerange Guinea Fowl with Sweet Potato Dauphinoise and Greens. I am generally a vegetarian but will occasionally eat freerange and organic meat – and this just sounded too good to pass up.
French Guinea Fowl by Tigz Rice.
“The Soul Fire menu has been deliberated over with the utmost love and attention to offer guests an exquisite choice of fine food to suit all palates,” states the press release for the restaurant, which served only ethically and locally sourced food. I can confirm that our guinea fowl was absolutely delicious, sentiments agreed on by my two dining partners as we enjoyed our meal with an accompanying bottle of wine.
Illustration by Dee Andrews.
For desert we chose Lemon Curd Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce and a moistly rich Chocolate Brownie with Ice Cream, which were both superb and again arrived in very reasonably sized portions that would set us up nicely for a long night of partying.
Puddings by Lisa Stannard.
It may seem slightly strange to choose such a fabulous dining experience at a festival, but we returned to the madness outside refreshed, relaxed and fully sated.
On our travels later we overheard a punter passing the restaurant say “Best Eggs Benedict ever” to his companion. My only disappointment was that I was unable to sample the Soul Fire brunch experience for myself – by the time we made it back to the restaurant in the mornings it was always full already. It’s funny how news of a good thing will travel so fast.
I very much look forward to news of the next Soul Fire pop up restaurant in a yurt. This idea could grow and grow…
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