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Feast from the East

Pop up restaurant in a cosy Arts & Crafts house with cuisine inspired by the food of the Middle East

 

THE LOCATION

Tucked around the back of Castle Cary, you enter what appears to be a secret garden festooned by twinkling lights on the banks of a babbling brook and discover a hidden restaurant, perfect for a cosy fireside meal.

 

THE VIBE

Gorgeous Arts & Crafts house – you’re in the home of Levant owner Tanya. Bit of a bistro feel, with wooden furniture, bookcases filled with actual books, a harmonious and personal collection of paintings and old photos on the walls.

SCOFF AND QUAFF

Guided through the menu by our charming young waiter and venerable host Tanya, whose family lineage extends back to Egypt (hence the cuisine), we started with a complimentary sharing plate of delicious warm filo pastry parcels filled with feta and pumpkin and a spiced rapeseed oil dip, while we opened the chilled bottle of Chenin Blanc (in the sexy little red zip up) that we’d brought us – this is BYO.

Next we had a selection of mezze: lamb kofte with Labneh chickpeas and puy lentils, warm aubergine and red pepper dip (my favourite) served with a selection of artisan breads from Lievito bakery.  For mains we had golden chicken with perserved lemon, pomegranate molasses and harissa which was outstanding – a recipe clearly honed over many years.  Also a braised pork with ginger and star anise served with pink fir potatoes and steamed greens – a more oriental dish that was slightly out of kilter with the rest of the Mediterranean fare.

For desert we had Sephardi dark chocolate and almond cake with honeycomb ice cream which disappeared very quickly and a Levantine knickerbocker glory – a creamy and unusual take on the original.  We finished with fresh mint tea and some handmade baklava.

MUDDY VERDICT

A great place for trying something a bit different in a beautiful home. Tanya is a warm and welcoming host.

Good for:  Couples wanting a candlelight dinner and who enjoy sharing plates, groups of friends happy to chat and wile away the evening. Vegans and vegetarians with advance notice. They’ll organise a party for you (Xmas office do?). Oh, and takeaway, too but call them up first. You can stay the night, via Airbnb.

Not for: Fine dining aficionados, families with young kids, those looking for pub grub or a big menu. You can’t just turn up – you must book.

Opening hours – Fri and Sat evenings from 7.15pm and during December, Thurs and Fri lunch times 12.30pm – 2pm, too.

 

Levant, Brookfield, Station Road, Castle Cary, BA7 7BX. Tel 01963 350248. levantcatering.com

 

 

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset