With winter well under way we thought it was about time to give you all a little update on what we've been up to and what were scheming!
After such a lovely summer our first autumn was always going to be a challenge and what a great challenge it was. Its been a steep learning curve which we really feel has helped us take our service, product and business forward.
With the weather being so unseasonably warm we were reluctant to go all out on our plan to dive head first into the wonderful world of warm comforting food. Instead we had to find a way to gradually integrate heavier more comforting foods such as porridge and jacket potato's whilst retaining light refreshing salads and breakfast dishes ensuring that we continued to provide our fantastically loyal customer base with a quality selection of dishes to choose from.
This was also a really interesting time in the structure of our business. We found systems that we had put in place to start with simply didn't work as well in the autumn and winter and were a detriment to both our business and the customer experience.
A good example of this was our booking system. In the summer with such great weather we could be much more relaxed about our booking system but with the cold & damp weather came restrictions and we soon realised that something had to change. So we did two things, firstly we stopped taking bookings in the daytime at the weekends and secondly we introduced a new system that gave people 2 hours at the table if they where dining before 8pm. This instantly improved both the structure,
organisation and more importantly the quality of customer service we could provide.
A restaurant is a constant work in progress and is never finished so while were by no means perfect we are doing our best to get there.
One to Try!
We are always being asked "how do you make this" or "what do you put in that" so we thought it would be nice to share one of our favorites with you.
This is a tricky thing to do because as a rule we never write a recipe down or follow a set guideline. We work with the ingredients to best enhance there naturals flavours. Ingredients vary and change day to day and need to be treated differently as such. Even the most specific recipes such as breads and cakes require subtle changes with the variations within the different types of flours, eggs and butters.
The creation of food is about taste, texture and balance. A good dish does not need to be complicated quite the opposite in fact, some of the best dishes around are some of the most simple and one of our favourite dishes of the season gone by was a great example of that...
Leek & Potato Soup with buttered sourdough
2 White Onion
3 Celery Sticks
Garlic to Taste
1 Fennel Bulb
3 Large Leeks
Equal Ratio of Potato to Leaks
Lots of Salt & Pepper
Your Favourite Savoury Herbs
Gently heat olive oil then start to slowly sweat down finely chopped onion, celery, fennel, garlic along with herbs and of course a good pinch of salt and pepper until cooked through without taking color. Keep the lid on to seal in flavor and moisture.
Add in chopped leaks and sweat down slowly again until thoroughly cooked through. Once leaks have cooked right down, season again and then add in diced potatoes. Cook gently until the edges of the potato just begin to soften, cover with hot vegetable stock and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through.
Remove from the heat and blend until smooth, the starch in the potatoes will be enough to thicken the soup. Place back on a very low heat and season to taste adding a splash of cream if you like.
(If the soup is to thick then thin with vegetable stock)
Serve in a large bowl with a hunk of good bread smothered with salty butter and enjoy with friends.
With Christmas just around the corner the festive season is in full swing. The decorations are up and the mulled wine is flowing.
The St Neot's Christmas light switch on was the start of Christmas for us and it really was a great day all round. St Neot's Town council did a fantastic job of organising a great event and finished it off with some awesome fireworks. So well done to all the organisers and volunteers that helped make it so successful.
In terms of atmosphere and ambiance the light switch on was probably one of our favorite Bohemia moments so far this year. The air was thick with smell of mulled wine, the Christmas tunes were playing and the place was alive with the chatter of all our favorite people. It really was a great evening filled with Christmas cheer.
This season also see's the introduction of a new initiative we are running over the next year where we dedicate a wall of our restaurant to local artists. Every 2 months there will be a new piece chosen by us to showcase local artists and creative groups. This is a great opportunity for artists to gain exposure & gives us a fresh new a regularly changing piece of art.
This months piece was created by the local community art company Vir2oso which was founded by the lovely Tracey Mowatt.
Vir2oso is a fantastically creative and inspiring community arts group based in St Neots. The piece was made by local children using only eggs filled with paint.
For more information on all of there great work just click on the picture!
Its been a challenging and demanding season for us but it's also been invaluable in terms of better understanding our business.
We managed to retain a lot of the trade we worried about loosing during the winter months and have really taken the time to talk to and listened to the feedback from lots of our customers. This has really helped us focus on areas of improvement and gives us real inspiration for the future. 2017 is going to be a good year and it will begin with the launch of a new Breakfast and Tapas Menu which we are very excited to share with you.
Christmas is going to be really fun this year too and we cant wait. After numerous requests we finally decided to open on Thursday evenings and the response was overwhelming. We are almost fully booked throughout the whole of December but do still have a few tables available here and there so if you are looking for a table this month then please feel free to get in touch.
We're even going to treat ourselves to a little festive break! We will be closing between the 25th and the 29th of December, re-opening on Friday the 30th for business as usual.
This year we are hosting a roaring 20's speakeasy fancy dress party to bring in the New Year.
Tickets are only £30 and include a glass of bubbly on arrival, canapés from 8pm till 10pm a fantastic party hosted by a guest DJ playing the best soul, funk, mowtown until 2am all followed by a hot bacon sandwich to help you on your way home.
Tickets are strictly limited and there already selling fast so don't delay get yours today!
So from all of us here at Bohemia thank you for your continued support and if we don't see you before then we wish you all a very Merry Christmas! ..