Caterina Giammarresi reviews the Forgan’s Harvest Evening hosted by the Fine Food & Dining Society on 22nd October at Forgan’s on Market Street.
The Fine Food and Dining Society kicked off their first dining event of the semester with a six course meal at Forgan’s. This was the first dining event I had ever attended and, after a lovely evening, it certainly won’t be my last.
I had never been to Forgan’s before this event, and I didn’t know anyone who would be attending, so I really had no idea what to expect. The atmosphere was lively and I was greeted by friendly Forgan’s staff and members of the Fine Food and Dining committee. I was a bit nervous to sit down as I literally knew no one there, but when I finally did, excited talk about the event and the menu was enough to keep things from being awkward. The conversation turned seamlessly from small-talk to more interesting conversations about our shared love of food and various experiences with the society. I do have to say that I learned quite a lot about the people sitting around me because it took about an hour for our first course to arrive after being seated. I didn’t mind the wait so much because I really enjoyed that this event allowed you to get to know new people. In fact, I wouldn’t have noticed it had been a full hour if it weren’t for another girl at the table mentioning it.
When the first dishes finally did arrive there was a bit of confusion because it was unclear to most people that the dishes were meant to be shared between two guests. This had been explained in an email, but probably could have been explained again at the event just for further clarity. It didn’t cause much of a problem though, and once it was figured out we all eagerly dove in.
The first dishes were game and wild mushroom terrine with a duo onion compote and lobster risotto. I had the vegetarian options which were pan fried mushroom bound in a grain mustard cream, topped with shaved parmesan and a panned poached egg, served on ribbon vegetables with white wine cream. The mushrooms were delicious and though the egg was less-so, it was still quite impressive. The next dishes brought out were pork loin wrapped in bacon and chicken in a pickled walnut jus, served with leek and barley risotto. As I had ordered the vegetarian option, I was supposed to be served gnocchi with rocket and sundried tomatoes as well as a chargrilled vegetable stack. I was initially upset that the first plate didn’t arrive, but my disappointment soon passed after being served the vegetables. Normally, I would be disappointed because I think grilled vegetables are a massively unoriginal idea for vegetarians. However, these grilled vegetables were topped with melted goats cheese and an orange and beetroot dressing, making them the most enjoyable dish I ate that night. Not to mention, it had the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement as well. This dish was followed by dessert, of which there were three options: strawberry and hazelnut cheesecake with peppered strawberry compote and Chantilly cream, baked apple and blackberry crumble, and brulee cream rice pudding. I tried the cheesecake and rice pudding, and both were very nice. Throughout the entire meal, conversation and drink were abundant.
Judging from this event, it’s no surprise that in the four years that the St Andrews’ Fine Food and Dining Society has existed, it has twice won Best Society and twice won the Town and Gown award. I spoke with president, Daisy Zeijlon, after the event and she seemed very pleased with the way things went. She explained that the committee was trying to move things in a different direction this semester. She said, “I think the event went really well. I think it was a good opening event because we’re trying to move away from the stuffier, white-table events. We’re trying to do things this semester that are more relaxed but still with good food and good value especially.” The committee definitely achieved their goal. With members paying only 15 pounds for the evening, it was definitely worth every penny.
Overall, I enjoyed the food, but my favourite part of the evening was just being at the event itself. It was really lovely to take a break from essay writing and sit down for a few hours and have genuine conversation with new people. And of course, there was food involved, and that’s always a plus. Congratulations to the committee for a fantastic evening; I look forward to attending more dining events in the future.
Photo credits: Caterina Giammarresi