Top chef chooses UK’s best gourmet bar snacks

Popcorn Chicken Nuggets Lauren Mcleanl

A quirky bar snack, McTucky’s Popcorn Chicken Nuggets (pictured), at Parlour restaurant and bar in Kensal Rise, west London, was among winners of this year’s Leffe Gastro Bites Award.

The dish, created by Parlour’s chef and owner Jesse Dunford Wood, was praised by award organiser, chef Kevin Love, for its creativity, originality, taste and appearance – and its suitability for enjoying with Leffe beer.

Other winners at the awards ceremony held at The Hinds Head in Bray, Berkshire, were: a salt beef scotch egg from British Larder in Bromeswell, near Woodbridge, Suffolk; a pork crackling salad from Jury’s Inn in Sheffield; lobster tails from The Wrygarth Inn in Great Hatfield, near Hull; and a gourmet sausage roll from The Jolly Cricketers in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire.

Kevin launched the Leffe Gastro Bite Awards in May to champion the growing quality of bar snacks, especially as an accompaniment for beer.

Kevin said: “I firmly believe that kitchens are now becoming more involved in bar snacks to provide more gourmet offerings. Pubs can really put themselves on the map nowadays with a tasty bar snack recipe.

“It was an inspiring journey to try each snack within its local setting and it shows the popularity of the bar snack, with smaller pubs paving the way in offering gourmet beer accompaniments.

“We were ultimately looking for five snacks which demonstrated great creativity, originality, appearance and of course, taste. The five recipes we found ticked all these boxes and really complemented the slight hint of bitterness, quince, gooseberry, bitter cherry and apple flavours of Leffe Blonde and the slightly sweet taste of Leffe Brune with its notes of coffee, vanilla and cloves, so they thoroughly deserve to be crowned the UK’s best.”

Emily Kraftman, senior brand manager for Leffe at AB InBev UK, said: “As a premium Belgian abbey beer, Leffe tastes delicious with a wide variety of dishes, so we were intrigued to try the top snacks in the country.

“Like Leffe, all the selected bar snacks have been carefully crafted for a superior taste, making them worthy winners of our first ever Leffe Gastro Bite Awards. Our aim is to grow these awards year on year and encourage more pubs to start serving up great bar snacks for their customers to enjoy with a beer.”

Amanda Baker, licensee at The Jolly Cricketers, said: “It’s fantastic to be handpicked by both Kevin and Leffe and be rewarded for the hard work and effort we put in to this snack and others for our customers. Our famous gourmet sausage roll has proved to be a very popular bar snack with the locals, and hopefully after this award even more people will pop in for a beer to try it.”

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