Warwickshire Life Luncheon, Petit Gourmand, Kenilworth

PUBLISHED: 22:16 07 February 2010 | UPDATED: 15:59 20 February 2013

Amanda Bostock and Jacky Oakley

Amanda Bostock and Jacky Oakley

Warwickshire Life invited its advertisers and contributors to lunch at Petit Gourmand in Kenilworth to celebrate the magazine's recent successes.

Warwickshire Life invited its advertisers and contributors to lunch at Petit Gourmand in Kenilworth to celebrate the magazine's recent successes.

About Petit Gourmand

Guests were greeted with a glass of champagne or Buck's Fizz at the sumptuous restaurant which has earned itself two top awards since opening last year. The main restaurant is fabulously decorated in opulent French-style. We gathered in the private dining room upstairs which is light and airy with fully-licensed private bar. With seating for 50 people this room would be the perfect setting for an intimate wedding party, it is also used for conferences, meetings and parties.

Our meal

The food, as you would expect from an establishment of this calibre was first-rate. For our starter we enjoyed Petit Gourmand fishcakes with, petit ratatouille and pistou dressing. The fishcakes had that perfect combination of crunchy texture outside and flaky fish inside while the ratatouille had flavour, without overpowering the fishcakes. To accompany our fishcakes we were served a light white Chateau Anniche Blanc 2006. With the sun beaming through the restored sash windows of this elegant dining room and the grassy notes of our white wine it was possible to believe that Spring had arrived!

Our main course was a slow roast belly of pork served with wholegrain mustard mash and haricot vert. Pork belly is a popular dish with chefs and this was cooked to perfection. Slow roasting is the only way to cook this meat as it allows the flavours to develop. A fatty part of the animal, pork belly needs a long time in the oven to allow the fat to meld into the meat and give it that wonderful pork flavour - however, it doesn't work unless the meat is from an animal that has been reared outdoors, and this must have been. From a texture point of view, the meat had a bit of bite but also that wonderful 'melt in the mouth' feeling that only comes from a well cooked dish. The crackling is always a difficult thing to get right. How many times has an inferior chef tried to get away with serving slightly chewy crackling - too many in my experience. No such problems here. Two strips of crackling had been cooked to perfect crispiness and adorned a well-seasoned mustard mash. A glass of Brouilly Chateau de la Perriere 2007 turned out to be the perfect lunchtime red wine, not too heavy but with plenty of flavour on the palate.

Apple tart with crme Chantilly rounded off our meal nicely. The pastry was light and flaky and the apple filling had the perfect 'caramel' brown which made a lovely addition to the crme Chantilly. There were no leftovers despite our protestations that we 'might not be able to manage a pudding' after the delicious courses that had preceded it.

The entertainment!

Over coffee and truffles, Warwickshire Life's editor spoke to the guests about the exciting developments on the magazine. Since taking on the role in September the magazine circulation has continued to grow and Jane Sullivan told the guests that year-on-year circulations were up 30 per cent (in fact the day after our lunch circulation figures for the January issue showed the highest figures ever in the history of the publication).

Unlike other local magazines Warwickshire Life is a paid-for publication and Jane Sullivan pointed out how important that was for our advertisers. All our readers choose to buy the magazine and research by The Newspaper Society shows that this is a very valuable asset as paid-for magazines are read for an average of 59 minutes by their readers compared with around 12 minutes for a free magazine. For the editorial team, this is a challenge as it means we have to provide editorial that is of a quality that our readers will want to pay to read. Our circulation figures prove that we are offering our readers an entertaining and informative read.

Warwickshire Life's publisher, Jacquie Pond, also thanked our guests for their continued support of the title through difficult times and emphasised the success of the magazine in bucking the trend in the print media world for declining sales. County magazines - and Archant owns around 50 titles in this sector - are one of the only areas of print media that are growing. The county title market grew by around 12 per cent overall last year with titles such as Warwickshire Life putting on sales of around 30 per cent year on year. In the current economic climate that was something worth celebrating!

To book a table at Petit Gourmand contact:

Petit Gourmand

101-103 Warwick Road



Tel: 01926 864567


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