I was invited along to Island Stories press event in Essex, for an evening of prosecco, mingling and luxurious food!
Island Stories is an Essex based catering company for events and functions in and around London, but they aren’t just any ol’ catering company!
In fact, Island Stories have catered at many exclusive, high-end events and cooked for celebrities. The exclusive functions include the recent launch of L’Oreal’s mascara blogger launch, and cooked for Joe Cole, Marvin Humes and Kian Egan – to name but a few!
Island Stories held an exclusive event for press and special guests, and luckily I was amongst other Essex bloggers chosen to sample the incredible dishes. Island Stories take great pride in creating a fusion of food with different cultural influences. Their menu offers a selection of dishes that they call ‘island food’; inspired by exotic isles around the world.
Ikram Naim and Devon Ricketts are both co-owners of Island Stories, both with a deep passion and love for the world of catering.
Devon Ricketts, originally from Jamaica, has over 25 years experience in the catering industry, having worked in the airline and cruise-line industries. Devon was also the Executive Sous Chef at the London Marriott Hotel Country Hall, and has worked as Head Chef at an exclusive private members’ club in Soho.
Ikram Naim comes from Sri Lanka and has reputable experience in the business world, including working in senior management roles for several companies, including high-end hotel chains, a Michelin-starred restaurant and exclusive private members’ club in London.
Ikram and Devon are two island people from two far-flung places, arriving on another island, Great Britain, which is where the company name Island Stories originates!
It’s time to get down to the nitty gritty – the delicious dishes we were able to sample!
So I was quick to try these but sadly not so quick at getting a photo – so this photo has been nabbed by Zoe at www.lifeinlustre.com! For canapés, we were treated to: beetroot cured salmon & dill creme fraiche, smokey aubergine and feta tart, bread tuna, chilli & coriander jam and quinoa & fresh coriander cake.
Of the four, I tried the quinoa cake and the beetroot cured salmon. The quinoa cake was so delicious. The outside was crunchy and the quinoa inside was soft and delicate, with a coriander kick. There was a lovely little sweet chilli dipping sauce to go with it too, which gave it a nice kick. The beetroot cured salmon was lovely too, it had a little sharpness but the softness of the base really balanced it out. I absolutely loved salmon, so that was a winner for me!
Mini cheese burger, tomato relish & sesame brioche bun
Next up, we tried the mini cheese burger sliders with a sweet tomato relish. It’s worth pointing out that these burgers were far from mini – they were bigger than your average slider – but who are we to complain?! The burger was incredible. The meat was cooked just right so it was slightly pinky in the middle and the soft cheese oozed out of the toasted sesame brioche bun. The sweet tomato relish really gave the burger a delicious after taste – such a tasty “little” burger!
Bowl Food Range
Rare Tuna Nicoise Salad
I didn’t try this dish but the salad look incredibly fresh and the tuna super tender, it was a big thumbs up from Zoe who tried it! The salad had new potatoes, fine beans, boiled eggs, gem lettuce heart, tomatoes, olives, fresh tuna loin, anchovies fillets and basil leaves. It also had a lemon, garlic and olive oil dressing drizzled on top; an incredibly fresh and light dish over all!
Wild sea bass, artichoke, preserved lemon, asparagus and fresh peas
I absolutely love fish, so this hearty pan roasted sea bass fillet was a great summery dish to try out! The fish was soft and flaky with a deliciously crunchy skin on top. The asparagus had a nice bite and the zesty, garlicky dressing on top was divine!
Island Stories Secret Dishes
Stewed aubergine, sweet chilli, spring onion, coriander & jasmine flavoured wild rice
This photo does this dish absolutely no favours but my god, this was absolutely divine! Served in traditional moroccan pottery, the aubergine had been stewed in a sweet, sticky chilli sauce and sprinkled with spring onions. The aubergine was delicate and super mushy and so flavoursome, and the accompanying wild rice soaked the sauce up well! Mouth wateringly good.
Beef fillet, shiitake caramel & horseradish mash
Sadly there weren’t enough portions to go around, but this beef fillet dish looked absolutely insane! The beef fillet was cooked to perfection, and the sweet caramel sauce complimented the fillet well. I would have loved to try to the horseradish mash – what an unusual combination!
Spiced chicken fillet, pomegranate & roasted vegetable cous cous
Another dish I didn’t get to try and another failed photo, le cry, but it smelt and looked incredible! Served in the traditional moroccan pots, the chicken fillet looked juicy but tender, and sat on a bed of vegetable cous cous with a small garnishing. The chicken smelt deliciously spicy – fingers crossed I’ll get the chance to try it one day!
Chocolate delice with passion fruit jelly
I have an incredibly sweet tooth, so boy was I happy to see this slice of dark chocolate mousse presented to me! The luxurious dark chocolate delice is a truly indulgent dessert. The dark chocolate mousse was incredible, super rich but super fluffy at the same time. The chunky walnut base gave the indulgent dessert a great little bite to it, and the passionfruit jelly on the top gave it a lovely little fruity pop!
Lemongrass panna cotta with a mixed berry compote
I’d never tried panna cotta before so I didn’t know what to expect – but I was pleasantly surprised! The delicate floral, lemony flavour of the panna cotta was fresh and cleansing, and the fresh berry compote gave it a bitter and sweet bite. I don’t think I’d have enjoyed the panna cotta however if the berry compote wasn’t there – I think it has an acquired taste!
Do you have an event coming up and fancy wowing your guests, be it a wedding, birthday or work function? Island Stories can provide the most delicious food and friendly company!