BERTHA’s summer news

The slightly-warmer season that we in the UK laughably call summer, has flashed by already. Here at BERTHA HQ we’ve not idled on the beach the whole time but been busy supplying BERTHAs to a few new restaurants, news of which below.

In Soho, Flavour Bastard, an unforgettably named new restaurant has taken cool eating in Soho to new heights, with a BERTHA centre stage in its kitchen. Head Chef , Pratap Chahal, formerly of Claridge’s and Chez Bruce, and the founder of Hungry Chef, has created a ‘cuisine-agnostic’ menu that draws from wherever it finds inspiration. It’s getting rave reviews and justifiably, with the pork belly being our pick of the mains.

Flavour Bastard, Soho, London.

Elsewhere new BERTHA’s have gone in at Mildred’s Dalston, the world famous vegetarian restaurant chain, after great success with BERTHA at their other sites. George’s Great British Kitchen have also installed 2 new ovens in their Liverpool and Nottingham sites and the Fancy Crab in central London, famed for it’s Red King Crab dishes, have added a BERTHA to their armoury. Whether it’s seafood, vegetables, breads or meats the BERTHA is such a verstatile bit of kit it can bring something to almost any restaurant concept you can think of.

Over in Belfast, new restaurant EDO Belfast has taken a BERTHA and is getting rave reviews from the hungry workers of Upper Queen Street. Our pick of the mains would have to be the Sugar Pit Pork chops with lentils. Delicious!

BERTHA gets Michelin Guide thumbs up

The 2017 Michelin Restaurant Guide was unveiled recently to include two new restaurants doing amazing things with the BERTHA.

The Ninth Restaurant in Charlotte Street, won its first Michelin star, under Chef Jun Tanaka’s. The menu includes dishes, such as chargrilled Iberico pork and flamed mackerel, cooked to perfection in the BERTHA.

Also appearing in the Guide for the first time was Foley’s, just around the corner from the Ninth, which received a coveted Bib Gourmand*. The BERTHA is an essential part of how they prepare the food here, being used for 90% of its dishes.

These awards prove one thing: that the BERTHA can help ambitious restaurants take their food to award-winning new heights.

Cornflake crusted popcorn chicken, at Foley’s Restaurant.

Cheese baked to perfection at Pea Porridge

Cheese, baked to perfection, at Pea Porridge

It’s our belief, at BERTHA, that what top chefs are looking for, most of all, from their kitchen equipment is the opportunity to be creative and inventive, to conjure new and interesting tastes and textures. And it’s the BERTHA’s ability to give chefs this creative edge that makes our oven so attractive to restaurants and hotels looking to establish a reputation for their food.

One such chef is Justin Sharp, exec chef at the award-winning Pea Porridge restaurant in Suffolk. His latest ‘signature’ dish is a prosciutto wrapped cheese, cooked to melted perfection in the BERTHA. It took a while to source the right cheese but Justin now believes he has perfect elements for an unforgettable dish.

Justin gets the cheese from St. Jude’s dairy farm in Suffolk, which uses milk from the Montbeliarde breed of cow. Julie, the owner, has been making cheese for over 10 years now, winning the James Aldridge Trophy in 2013 for the Best British Raw Milk Cheese. That was when Julie’s farm was in Hampshire – she has since moved to Suffolk for better milk where she now feels she is getting even better results.

cheese-baked-to-perfection-at-pea-porridge2

Wrapping the individual cheese portions in some prosciutto ham, Justin then bakes them in the BERTHA for a couple of minutes on each side, low over the coals, before they’re ready to serve. The taste is sensational – it really has to be tasted to be believed.  If you’re ever in Suffolk do go try one for yourself.

To read more inspirational ways top chefs are using the BERTHA, visit our Chef’s Page. Or to see for yourself how the BERTHA could transform your restaurant contact us for a demonstration.

Jun Tanaka and BERTHA

Celebrity chef, Jun Tanaka, of Cooking It TV fame, recently opened The Ninth, a new restaurant in London’s Charlotte Street, complete with a BERTHA. Relaxed dining and French-mediterranean cuisine are the order of the day, with stand out dishes including rabbit lasagne, butternut squash risotto and sea bream.

Mildred's gets a Bertha

Mildred’s gets a BERTHA

Mildred’s, the world famous vegetarian restaurant in Soho has opened a second shop in the heart of Camden… and installed a BERTHA in the process. Mildred’s is using the BERTHA to revolutionise their classic recipes and serve up something fresh for Camden’s diners, with recipes such as charred leeks and pan fried halloumi with chilli jam.

Another Bertha at Kurobuta

Another BERTHA at Kurobuta

Australian celebrity Chef, Scott Hallsworth has endorsed the BERTHA by installing yet another one (his third so far) into one of his restaurants, this time at Kurobuta, Harvey Nichols.The laid back restaurant on the 5th floor of the Knightsbridge is serving up Japanese tapas such as steamed buns with BBQ pork belly, cooked to perfection in the BERTHA.

Bertha makes an impact in Malaysia

BERTHA makes an impact in Malaysia

Top Kuala Lumpur restaurant Stoked is making a good impression since receiving the BERTHA. As well as its speciality steaks, done to perfection in the Bertha, they also serve exceptional vegetarian and seafood dishes. Top restaurant bloggers, The Yum List and Eat Drink KL have been quick to respond with highly favourable reviews.

Giles Coren

‘Out of BERTHA’s belly came some really good stuff…’ Giles Coren

Giles Coren reviewed the BERTHA oven in the Times Magazine Supplement on July 11th 2015. Below are some excerpts from the piece:

‘My friend Alan was sitting in the open window with a tiny glass of some very rare summer ale in front of him. I sat down and asked a waiter for the same and another one for Al.

We sank 30 or 40 of them and then moved to the bar in the wooden-floored and white-tiled interior, directly opposite a huge pale-green wood oven called BERTHA.’

“It’s like a Josper except British,” said a nice hipster chef in a baseball cap. “And it burns wood as well as charcoal.”

I was about to say that was the hippest thing I had ever heard, until he added, “It was made in Wimbledon.” And suddenly it was the most bourgeois thing I had ever heard. You see? Hipsterdom is going over. Wimbledon, indeed.

Out of BERTHA’s glowing belly (she roared insided like the very forge of Vulcan) came some extremely good stuff. We had rare slices of deer haunch, smoky-ferrous and purple, served with veal bones split lengthways so as to dress the lean meat of the wild beast with the rich marrow fat of the farmed. Clever Hip. This with a sharp watercress and caper salad and some superb chips – the only fried thing on the menu. And hefty kofte kebabs made from venison and goat meat served with flatbread, harissa and yoghurt.

Previous to that we’d had tender, gently grilled little roundels of octopus on a plate studded with pungent aioli blobs and chickpeas, and some young leeks slowly roasted in ash that shoed great depth and fruitiness under a lentil and tarragon dressing. And best of all a handful of seared duck hearts on toast with the deglazing sherry juices drizzled over them.

So there you go. A long bar in Notting Hill with two hipsters and a Wimbledon-made wood oven behind it, banging out good cuts of wild and domesticated meat, fish and fowl…’

Jay Rayner Review - Image 1

‘I want BERTHA in my kitchen.’ Jay Rayner

Jay Rayner reviewed the BERTHA in the January 4th 2015 edition of the Observer Magazine. Here are some excerpts below:

Meet BERTHA. I like her… I’ve experienced what she can do, and what she can do is very pleasing indeed.. Without BERTHA I’m not entirely sure my lunch at John Doe, just off London’s Portobello Road, would have been worth writing to anywhere about, let alone home. With her, a set of humble ingredients were allowed to present the best of themselves. She’s that most admirable of things: an enabler. I won’t lie. I want BERTHA in my kitchen. After all, who wouldn’t want a serious chunk of bespoke wood-fired oven?

I first experienced cooking of this sort at Asador Etxebarri in the Basque Hills above San Sebastián, where the chef fashioned his own implements to enable him to cook literally everything over different kinds of woods for different ingredients. It was a personal mission verging on obsession. Ingredients sang. He smoked the milk for his ice cream and let caviar catch the hot wisps until the oils began to run.

John Doe is not quite on that scale, but the wood is used with enough intent to make a difference…

Jay Rayner Review - Image 2The result is a series of dishes with unapologetic heft; of platefuls which are unafraid of big flavours. Warm discs of octopus tentacle have a satisfying bite and a clean smokiness that I have not tasted since I was Greek island-hopping in the 1980s, when barbecue fish restaurants clustered along the harbour sides. The mess of chickpeas and the finely calibrated aioli do a good job of filling the gaps on the plate without contaminating your breath. Octopus is a diverting ingredient which does a lot of the work for you. It takes more skill to get something special out of a bunch of leeks, here roasted in ash until soft and served with a thick caper and tarragon vinaigrette, all aniseed and spark.

What’s interesting is the unexpected impact it has on certain ingredients. I’m not surprised that pristine mackerel fillets take kindly to the double treatment – a trip through the pellet smoker, a finish in Bertha – on top of leeks and mussels. These are foods that like to play rough and dirty. I am surprised, however, at the impact it has on a big piece of duck confit, served in a soupy mix of lentils, with a hint of mint. There is an extra crispness to the skin, a deepness to the flavour, a… oh, damn it… smokiness. For once, duck-fat-roasted potatoes are as crisp and golden and downright rude as you always hope they will be and so rarely are.

Jay Rayner Review - Image 3Victoria plums, with a scoop of thick mascarpone and an amaretti biscuit crumb, seem almost grateful for their time spent with BERTHA, the flavour concentrated, the flesh soft. The only clumsy dish is a banana and rum tarte tatin, which is quite simply burnt, in both caramel and pastry. With that much flame knocking around, it was always a possibility.

Starters are around £7, mains double that.

The truth is that none of the labels – organic, biodynamic, natural, Blue Nun – really matter. What matters is whether the wine contained in the bottle slapped with that label tastes nice or not. I have yet to taste a nice natural wine. My exposure to them is merely turning me in to a really big fan of traditional preservatives. Natural wine silliness aside, John Doe does not deserve to stay anonymous. It’s a simple idea executed with determination and, most importantly, good taste. And, of course, a little help from a gal called BERTHA.

Bertha and Burberry

BERTHA and Burberry

British luxury fashion house, Burberry, recently opened Thomas’s, a café and wine bar, in its flagship store on Regent Street. Named after Burberry founder, Thomas Burberry, the café is as stylish as you would expect, with attention to detail wherever you look, from the impressive menu to the sterling silver cutlery.

A celebration of all things British, the menu features such classics as Lobster and chips and afternoon tea, using seasonal ingredients from small farmers and artisan suppliers in the UK. To help them achieve the levels of taste and sophistication they are looking for Thomas’s have installed a BERTHA, which they state ‘plays a key role in cooking our signature Isle of Wight lobster’.

Thomas’s Café can be found at their store in Regent Street, address below:

 

Thomas’s
121 Regent Street
London W1B 4TB