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The Brasserie

“Come a try our 7-course taster menu” the lovely lady at The Brasserie, at MK College, said. Rude not to, we thought, without really thinking it through. Now, having never had a 7-course taster menu I was unsure exactly how much food you actually get on each course. The word ‘taster’ implies not very much, enough to taste, but not fill you up? Oh the dilemma … but I played it safe and instructed my fellow diner that night not to have a big lunch.

Now, for those who don’t know The Brasserie, it is a student restaurant, located within Milton Keynes College at their Bletchley campus. As the description suggests – it’s run by students who are studying catering at the college. There is a professional chef who teaches and helps put the menus together but essentially the students
run the show. They prep the food, cook the food and serve the food – all giving them valuable hands-on experience.

You might be forgiven in thinking that as they are students, the standard might not be that great – after all, they are still training? But I can completely reassure you, that just isn’t the case. This was not our first visit and I can categorically say we have never have had even the hint of a bad meal; in fact, we normally come away thinking just how amazing the food is and how brilliantly it is presented.

So, back to the 7 courses…it is a set menu (smaller portions of dishes taken straight from their main menu). You don’t get any choice, the seven courses just come at you. Although, we were presented with the menu before we started, so we could see what we were going to be getting and were asked, very politely by one of the students, if everything was okay? It was all fine for us, but I’m guessing that if you were allergic to something – they could swap it out or give you another option.

And so it began, the sheer onslaught of food. You need not worry about going away hungry, for my first taster menu, the portions were just perfect. First up was mushroom soup, served in a small Kilner jar, with fancy chef’s foam on top. Then, after a very short break, we enjoyed whitebait with a caper and dill salad, again exquisitely presented and very tasty, two types of flavoured breadcrumbs were used which was unusual.

We’re just two courses down and so far we’re very impressed. Next up ham hock with little toasted brioche pieces, so far my favourite. Fourth course was mackerel nicoise complete with a perfectly cooked quail egg and delicious pea puree. By now, we were losing count, fifth
or sixth course next?

Turns out it was fifth and the star of the show; Chicken Milanaise – perfectly cooked, breaded, crunchy chicken and singularly the best part of the whole night – creamed sweetcorn! It sounds so simple but O.M.G we could have eaten a bucket full (we actually asked for the recipe).

At this point we were seriously asking ourselves could we manage the last TWO dessert courses, but after shaking each other vigorously, and telling each other to get a grip … we soldiered on. Firstly, we were amazed by the presentation of the ‘Autumn Mess’ – the way the plate was presented was incredible with a splash of colour (literally) and the taste didn’t disappoint either. Then on to our final course (yes, we made it) banana bread with a honey glaze. And here in lies our only tiny fault – there was a bit too much honey for our taste, which just drowned out the banana – but another person could have loved it.

Overall, we came away full, very full. No need to worry about the portions, they were very generous for a taster menu. The dishes were all presented immaculately and served by knowledgeable students who answered our questions with ease. The cost for this wonderful gastronomic experience – just £25 per head. What a bargain! The taster menu will be changing soon as their main menu swaps to Winter, so there will be a whole new seven courses to get to know and enjoy; we’ll definitely be back to try that one, what an amazing experience. Hats off to those students.