F O O D & D R I N K Delicious - and then some IN AN UNASSUMING CABIN IN THE DEPTHS OF A LOCAL GARDEN CENTRE LIES ONE OF LICHFIELD’S MOST EXCITING BESPOKE DINING EXPERIENCES, DUBBERLEY DELICIOUS, AS AMY NORBURY DISCOVERS Some of the best inventions in life have come about by happy accident. A melted chocolate bar brought about that household staple, the microwave, while a bit of experimentation with syrup and carbonated water led to the world’s most popular fizzy drink, Coca-Cola. And it was while playing around with ideas for using up a glut of foraged wild garlic that Lichfield chef Jack Dubberley hit upon one of the most moreish snacks I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying; wild garlic popcorn. The aforementioned tasty treat was the first introduction we had to Jack’s impressive culinary style at Dubberley Delicious, a bespoke chef ’s table experience based in a cabin at Lichfield garden centre The Plant Plot. Yes, you heard that right, a garden centre. But don’t let the somewhat unusual surroundings fool you. One you step inside the Dubberley Delicious cabin, the stylish and cosy setting certainly lives up to its fine dining billing. Dubberley Delicious is a completely different kind of dining for Lichfield. With a single table seating up to just ten guests facing the open kitchen where chef Jack works his magic in front of your eyes, this is a chef ’s table experience - just without the rest of the restaurant. And the difference doesn’t end there. The menu is tailored to each party, meaning you can enjoy something truly bespoke. You can choose to approve the menu beforehand or, like us, be greeted with a surprise of Jack’s making. Hell, you can even choose the accompanying playlist; the evening really is yours. Jack’s passion for food, particularly seasonal and local ingredients - and foraged where possible - runs through the Dubberley Delicious ethos. Starting his professional career in the kitchen at Swinfen Hall, Jack was then a driving force behind the launch of Larder, helping the Lichfield restaurant earn two AA Rosettes before heading back to Swinfen to help the team regain their three AA Rosettes. And anyone who has dined at either of those two venues will recognise some of Jack’s delicious signatures. It was at the height of the pandemic last year that Jack decided to strike out on his own, creating delicious deli goodies and dine-at-home feasts, then offering outside barbeque dining before finally 36 www.jaimemagazine.com
opening the doors to Dubberley Delicious in May this year. With the help of sister Lucy, a teacher by trade who runs both the front-of-house operation and behindthe-scenes promotion, Dubberley Delicious has quickly become a Lichfield must-visit. We started our evening with a glass of fizz and that sensational wild garlic popcorn, while Jack and Lucy ran through some elements of the menu and a selection of Noughties indie classics provided the musical backdrop. The drinks list is small but perfectly formed, offering just enough choice to suit everyone with wines, locally sourced beers and a handful of spirits, as well as soft drink options. Rather than freshly baked bread, it was black truffle crumpets and a healthy slab of butter which were first up, each a little mouthful of heaven. Crumpets were a staple on the Larder menu under Jack’s reign, and most definitely make for a welcome change to the usual bread offerings. The first course of sweet and sour tomatoes teamed with a smoked ricotta was a complete revelation, topped with puffed pearl barley to add a contrasting crunch to the smooth, rich cheese element. Exploding with flavour, these little bombs of tomatoey goodness are exactly how tomatoes should be served from now on. And the treats kept coming. Welsh wagyu brisket with wagyu fat crumb and an incredible mushroom ketchup was melt-in-the-mouth good, with delicate sea veg adding a salty balance. Then came perfectly cooked monkfish on a curried cauliflower puree with a sweet hint of mango, all crowned with the umami savouriness of Bombay mix. It was hard to choose a standout dish of the night, but the revelation that is lamb fat mash might just have sealed the deal for the main course. A beautifully pink piece of lamb rump, a fresh hit of peas and a charred roscoff onion were all delicious components, but it was the silky mash flavoured with lamb fat which stole the show. So much so that we were all asking for more - and still discussing its fine merits many days later. A little theatre followed with the first of the two dessert courses as Jack wielded the liquid nitrogen to complete the raspberry elements of his lemon, raspberry, meringue and shortbread concoction.w The final flourish was a piece of chocolate heaven, with a Manjari chocolate cremeux, raisins, a chocolate crumb and a delectable bay leaf ice cream which just complimented the intense chocolate flavours perfectly. Throughout the evening, Lucy kept the drinks topped up and the conversation flowing, creating the perfect double act with her chef brother and keeping us all completely engaged in each element of the meal. The food is, indeed, every bit as delicious as the name suggests. But Dubberley Delicious is more than its, admittedly fabulous, culinary offerings. It’s heart, passion, and a desire to create a different kind of dining event. We could just tell you how good the Dubberley Delicious experience is. But we strongly suggest that you book a table and discover it for yourselves. You can thank us later.