BA.RN, Institute of Light Review

I was recently invited by BA.RN to sample the menu created by Chef Leon Borja at The Institute of Light. It was pitched as “no fuss food cooked with love and honest ingredients” which is the way I like to cook, so this sounded right up my street.

Brazilian chef Leon Borja quickly joined our table to explain that his menu was inspired by his time in Brazil where the concept of eating is a very social affair; with everyone tucking into shared meals with their hands. He advised us to do exactly the same so I wasted no time in testing this out with my eyeball-like pork balls…

I loved how they were served. This is skull on a a stone plate with food presented as eyes. Totally nuts, but it really just worked!

Next up we were served lamb ribs.

With black gloves.

Black gloves?

Yep, again, fairly bonkers, but this additional hand fashion meant we could well and truly get stuck in without a worry about getting greasy fingers. It was fairly liberating just grabbing for the nearest hunk of meat and tuck in.

I really enjoyed the hands-on element of this, particularly with ribs which can never truly be expected to be eaten with a knife and fork!

…The beans were trickier and I was glad the camera wasn’t around for this part (!) but the concept made it the perfect way to eat this dish.

Before our final course, we were treated to a surprise additional slider burger. This little beaut of a brioche bun was served with the most mouth watering burger, cheese and relish combo and finished off with crunchy crisp fries (like the type you buy in a packet for school lunch) – it was ABSOLUTELY MEGA! We both said it was the best burger we’ve ever had and it was only let down by…being so small…! I would 100% go back for the full size version of this burger alone. Absolutely glorious.

To finish things off, and what I feel is one of the highlight of this place, we had cheese. Not any old cheese but home made, halloumi-style, charcoaled cheese. Oh. My. Gosh. I just wish I could explain flavour and texture better in words. Let’s hope the photo does some kind of justice…

There it is, all drizzled in honey just waiting to melt in your mouth…

If that’s not done it for you, the table next to us had pretty much as VAT of ricotta with huge hunks of bread.

So long as cheese, bbq or getting dirty with your food is your thing this is worth a visit.

What’s more, on Sunday’s they’re going to be doing hands-on roast dinners; served ‘platter style’ to your group where, again, you can just tuck in with your hands, picking out the bits you like the most. Sounds to me like the ideal way to combine social summer time with a Sunday roast.

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