The best way I can describe this experience is like going to an amazing wedding without having to dress up, buy a gift or endure any of the boring bits. I had read reviews of the previous Hidden Harewood events but nothing can prepare you for such a unique immersive dining experience. The event is described as a moving feast as guests are guided around various locations across the estate to indulge in wonderful seasonal produce, most of which has come from the estate itself. The chef behind the food is Josh Whitehead, who you might know from The Ox Club in Leeds.
Arriving in glorious sunshine at the cricket pavilion, we checked in and made our way over to collect our welcome drink (included in the ticket price). We both chose a wonderful gin and tonic made with Harewood Gin, garnished with blood orange. It was so delicious we had to get another one afterwards. We were then treated to our first canapé, which unfortunately I don’t have a photo of because I was just too excited to get involved! It’s described on the menu as Buttered radish, Lamb fat and Parkin. Radishes were buried within a lamb butter with a Parkin soil sprinkled over the top. To try it, you had to grab the stalk of the radish and scoop it through the parkin speckled butter. It was so much fun and so delicious!
After the first canapé, We were shown to the ‘party buses’, which looked like this….
What followed was a bumpy but incredibly picturesque journey around the estate where we saw Deer, Hebridean sheep and lambs, rolling hills and beautiful nature. We eventually stopped at the Bluebell Forest. It looked and smelled absolutely incredible! The next bit of fun was looking out for our menus that were hanging from the trees, what beautiful menus they were.
As we arrived at the other side of the forest, we were introduced to our next Canapé, Raw lamb leg, katsuobushi “Tonnato”. This was beautifully presented on small log coasters.
Next, we made our way across a field to a small barn containing two long bench tables which were beautifully decorated with candles, flowers and soft lighting. The barn doors were left open leaving a stunning backdrop of the sun setting behind the forest trees. It was a tight squeeze you had to get used to sharing your space very quickly.
The first thing brought to us was called Paris – Brest. It was a nod to the Tour De Yorkshire. It was a wheel of sweet pastry filled with lambs liver chantilly. It was absolutely delicious. There were a few of these wheels spread out amongst the two tables in a real family dinner type sharing style. This helped to set the tone and encourage guests to get familiar with each other. You could tell it was the first course as there were leftovers due to everyone being too polite to help themselves!
The next dish was a Glazed Autumn Ale Bread, the glaze made with Harewood Ale. This was served with Wild Garlic, Black Truffle butter and Yorkshire Rapeseed oil. The bread alone was incredible and the accompaniments really enhanced the dish.
Then came the next course which was Watercress Potage with Asparagus, Egg Yolk and Yuzu. This was a lovely palate cleansing dish and the Asparagus tasted really fresh and lovely. For me, I struggled to find the Yuzu flavour but enjoyed the dish all the same.
The highlight of the meal for me was the main course, the Harewood Hebridean Lamb served with War of the Roses Sauce, Rhubarb Sambal and Smoked Eel Fricassée. This was absolutely delicious, I could have eaten it twice. My only complaint here is that there wasn’t a lot of the accompanying veg to go around and the dish was quite small for a main. That said, we didn’t go hungry and we did get a generous Yorkshire Pudding served on a little log coaster.
The next course was really unique and one of my favourites. It was a Yorkshire Blue cheese ganache with grapes, celery and oats. For me this was a wonderful blend of flavour and texture, I liked how the sweetness of the grapes balanced out the saltiness of the ganache and the oats added a lovely crisp texture.
The final course was a Yoghurt Parfait with Elderflower and Whipped tea, which came with some lovely crunchy bits. This was pleasant, nicely presented and a good mix of textures.
Through the course of the night, guests became much more sociable with each other and it was lovely to spend the evening with other like-minded foodies. The hours flew by and I only noticed how late it was because it started to feel chilly. There was a slightly awkward bit after the final course when people were unsure of where to go next but we were soon shown through to the Carr House where there were comfy sofas inside and benches and firepits outside. Blankets were handed out and it was a really sumptuous environment to relax in. My husband and I took our drinks outside to enjoy by the firepits. I had an Espresso Martini and he had a Gin and Tonic. The Espresso Martini was made with Gin rather than Vodka and it didn’t quite work for me. It was nice to try it as it was a twist on the usual but I just couldn’t enjoy it. The Gin and Tonic was delicious and I had total drink envy. The menu did state at this point that there would be Parkin and “Whitby Goth” but I couldn’t find either of these things. My husband did ask for some Parkin which was brought out to us swiftly but I’m yet to discover what Whitby Goth is.
Before long it was time to return to the Tractor to be taken back to reality. The evening was truly magical, an amazingly unique experience and I would urge anyone to book on to one of these events if you get the opportunity. Tickets were £75 per person and that included one welcome drink, further drinks went on a tab to be paid at the end. Between us, my husband and I spent another £50 on drinks and we didn’t go without. We had Gin, Beers, Wine, Prosecco and Cocktails. We were never without a drink. A total of £200 for the two of us to have amazing food and drinks in a phenomenal environment was totally worth it. I will definitely be booking on to Hidden Harewood event in the future. I can’t wait to see what else the team think of. Thank you Harewood Food and Drink Project.
Service 9/10 (Simply because we didn’t know how to access the Parkin and Whitby Goth!)