Root To Table: Wester Ross Salmon

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16th May 2016 by Ronnie Kimbugwe

Work & life are blissfully blurred for Daniel Knowlsome, owner of a small-scale (no pun intended) artisan smokehouse business in West Berkshire. Dan never set out to smell of bonfires on a daily basis but has always had an inherent love of food – he is a professionally trained chef who made the decision to try something a little different.

Located just a few miles from our door, there are so many reasons why we love West Berkshire Smokehouse. First and foremost, they use bespoke traditional oak smoking methods, handpicking and lumbering their own wood, with not an additive, flavour or preservative in sight – which undeniably adds to the texture and flavour.

I witnessed the care and precision taken to fillet and slice the salmon by hand when I visited the site on Manor Farm near Yattendon last week. What makes Dan & his team even more endearing is the fact that they have never been interested in expanding, preferring to focus on maintaining a quality product. At the moment, Dan is able to oversee every part of the process from start to finish – the way he believes it should be and I couldn’t agree more.

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The fish of choice is organically farmed Wester Ross Salmon, synonymous with the finest Scottish smoked salmon. Hand reared and grown with as much care as Dan uses to smoke his fillets, the welfare of the fish is of utmost importance. These lucky salmon are hand-fed a responsibly-sourced diet and a high-quality, sustainable fish meal. In fact, Wester Ross have one of the world’s best feed conversion ratios significantly reducing the dependency on wild fish.

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Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I took the opportunity to sample the smoked salmon prior to packing and converse with Dan at length on a mutual passion for good food. In my mind, a great product such as this is best served simply and avocado is a great place to start. The mild creamy flavour pairs perfectly with the boldness of the salmon. Chilli adds a touch of heat without overpowering the fish & a squeeze of lime cuts through the richness of the salmon. Of course, salmon also has a natural affinity with eggs – scrambled with a generous sprinkling of chopped chives. However, anything more would be gilding the lily.

Try it for yourself…

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