Young’s Pubs, in partnership with Plymouth Gin, has a supper club series to support the gin’s work towards sustainability and a fundraising drive for the Ocean Conservation Trust.

It was an absolute honour to be one of the first to sample the new seven course menu inspired by the best of British ingredients as part of the supper club series accompanied by Plymouth Gin at one of Young’s Pubs The Phoenix Victoria.

To celebrate seasonal produce the series “Food for Thought” is bringing sea, land and gin together in August and September at selected Young’s pubs. 

Over 15 pubs across London and the south of England will be taking part, from the Duke of Cambridge in Battersea to the Riverstation in Bristol and No.38 in Cheltenham to Clapham’s Windmill pub (full list below).

Food for Thought menus are created by Young’s Executive Chef Matt Sullivan with a focus on environment that showcases sustainably sourced ingredients with the aim of helping the oceans and native ecosystems.

Matt’s focus is to look for innovative ways to help the environment, thus creating the menu centering around ingredients, which are found in abundance but often underutilised.

On our menu we had Pacific Oyster martini, which is an invasive species from Pacific coast of Asia, now found in ample quantities around the coast of England. Despite being a bit of a pest here they taste delicious.

We also had Shropshire goat, bone marrow & chestnut gnocchi, which was a gorgeous dish, not too overpowering on the tongue. The meat comes from dairy goats, dairy animals are only kept for a few years before farms dispose of them. Sadly the meat doesn’t often get used for anything and becomes a waste.

I personally don’t see why that should be as it was an amazing dish, although I am aware that it is often more of a logistics issue with the dairy farms. We also had plenty of seaweed varieties accompanying our seafood dishes.

Unlike some of my neighbouring guests that evening I don’t believe every meal should consist of ingredients of animal origin. It is unhealthy too plus I love seaweed.

There are so many varieties and textures. I do wonder why Great Britain being an island doesn’t use the opportunity to snack on it all the time. I loved our Kelt & Sea Spaghetti citrus starter, which had various textures and flavours. It was so vibrant and healthy with a refreshing citrus kick. 

It was paired nicely with a Plymouth G&T. The gin notes were very subtle with a pleasant slightly bitter pink grapefruit tone.

The G&T also went just as well with our second dish – Devon spider crab, pickled sea beets and heritage apple. The sweet crab offset the beets well. It was a balanced dish.

It was followed by 2021 wild garlic pesto Dorset snails with porridge sourdough, which was a crispy sourdough bread really. The bread was lovely, but the snails were not quite my cup of tea.

They never have been, to be honest. I have tried snails a few times now but as an organic gardener who always fights their pesky relatives I have never been fond of gastropods in any shape or form.

They were quite tender with strong wild garlic tone. The dish was extremely popular with quite a few of diners, except me. I was certainly more fond of the next molluscs dish – kelp martini & pacific oyster.

Strong martini with sea flavour and kelp completed the dish perfectly. It was a good palate cleanser after rather overpowering wild garlic.

The snails and the oyster were paired with One for the Ocean gin. The tonic flavour was almost absent allowing for the gin herbs to flourish. It was served in a clear tall tumbler of engraved glass with a blue paint stripe, simple yet classic.

Next on our natural unbleached paper menu was wood pigeon with Scottish girolles & sorrel cream. I admire girolles, the little foxy mushrooms always add a lovely touch to any dish and so does a little sour sorrel.

However, I am way too romantic to enjoy pigeon dishes regardless of whether it is dove, wood or city pigeon despite the reputation of the latter. I cannot help but wonder if both partners were served on the plate or one is still flying out there heartbroken. Or perhaps providing for the young as a single parent.

Hence, I tend to avoid the dishes. It did taste lovely though especially paired with a classic mellow and sweet gimlet. Followed by the Shropshire goat mentioned earlier and then baron bigod – a brie style cheese and a plum chutney.

It was paired with Sloe Gin and Ginger, which was skipped due to my dislike of ginger. Instead I opted in for my favoured pink Plymouth G&T.

It was a delightful night. The chefs did a brilliant job, creating original dishes without the need to import something foreign from miles away. It was refreshing to see and try local and somewhat neglected by other restaurants ingredients. As they say new is well-forgotten old. Other restaurants please take note.

Upcoming supper club dates:

• Tuesday 30th August: The Prince Alfred, Maida Vale. Book here
• Wednesday 31st August: Lion and Unicorn, Kentish Town. Book here
• Wednesday 7th September: The Onslow Arms, Clandon. Book here
• Monday 12th September: Smiths of Smithfield, Farringdon. Book here
• Tuesday 13th September: Founder’s Arms, South Bank. Book here
• Wednesday 14th September: No. 38 The Park, Cotswolds. Book here
• Tuesday 20th September: The Leather Bottle, Earlsfield. Book here
• Wednesday 21st September: The Marlborough, Richmond. Book here
• Wednesday 21st September: The Windmill, Clapham. Book here
• Monday 26th September: The East Hill, Wandsworth. Book here
• Wednesday 28th September: Enderby House, Greenwich. Book here