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It was the event everyone had been waiting for. The napkins were piled up, prosecco fizzing in its glasses and display tables loaded with finger food. The Square Meal Canapé Cup 2012 was about to kick off.
As the judges poured down the stairs and into Old Billingsgate’s vaults, there was a buzz in the air. Now that the one to beat, three-time winner Cinnamon Kitchen, had bowed out gracefully, who would take home the new Special EFX-designed trophy?
Would it be plucky younger sibling Cinnamon Soho? Or Eden Caterers who, despite being critics’ choice, just missed out on first place last year. Or perhaps it would be one of the new kids on the block: The May Fair, Sodexo Prestige or The Brewery? Read on to find out the results.
The presentation really wowed the panel, who said it looked ‘very inviting’, with a good combination of simple ingredients and ‘flair’ and ‘originality’. The tangy cheese complimented the sweetness of the blackberry and honey beautifully, and the showcasing of British produce got bonus points too.
The panel praised the vibrant flavours, excellent balance of spices and of course the well-pampered wagyu beef, ‘I could eat ten of these’ remarked one judge. Some thought the beef was slightly overshadowed by the other more complex flavours.
There were high hopes for the Cinnamon Soho entry and they didn’t fail to deliver. Judges liked the flavour of the pie and its ‘robust spice’, but said it ‘crumbled’ when eaten so didn’t pass the one bite test.
Bubble’s deviation from its trademark molecular style was well received. Judges thought that the use of sea bass was a nice upmarket twist and the pop of the crisps gave the compilation ‘nice bite’.
The wheat-free and sugar-free vegetarian offering from The Window got thumbs up from the judges for being healthy and tasty. It was ‘lively’ and ‘full of flavour’. Some felt that the tacos were missing the conventional crunch.
While the panel agreed that a ‘nice kick’ was produced thanks to the horseradish and pickled cucumber, some quibbled with the ‘lack of crispness’ of the crumb coating.
The presentation of the sushi was praised by judges, who thought it looked ‘very appealing’. However it didn’t quite deliver on taste as the dominant flavour of the daikon overwhelmed the freshness of the tuna.
The panel – especially our critics – liked that this wasn’t shy on spice, and tasted ‘authentic’ and ‘lively’. Extra points were given for the creative use of simple ingredients, as well as the ‘beautifully crafted’ canapé, but when it came to the eating, many found it a little ‘fiddly’.
The panel applauded the sustainable ethos of this dish and the freshness of the fish, but weren’t convinced by the ‘overly soft’ texture.
This high-end canapé did not fail to impress, from the first bite of the ‘delicious’ sesame snap to the freshness of the fish. Its only downfall was the size of the spoon it was served on, which some thought was ‘a bit tricky to eat from’.
This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events Autumn 2012.