London restaurant Wahleeah hails success of own-produced cheeses

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

Wahleeah now offers a cheeseboard comprised solely of the cheeses it makes in-house
Wahleeah now offers a cheeseboard comprised solely of the cheeses it makes in-house

Related tags: Cheese

London restaurant Wahleeah has started selling own-produced cheeses to be taken away following increasing diner requests for its innovative range. 

Chef and co-founder Dave Ahern, who opened the restaurant in Fulham less than a year ago, said his growing range of cheeses had become such a talking point among customers he'd decided to vacuum pack portions so they could buy them to take home.  

All six cheeses currently on sale - horseradish cheese, pickled beetroot cheese, garlic mushroom cheese, black garlic cheese, smoked ham hock cheese and blue cheese - are produced in-house by Ahern and his team of chefs from a prep kitchen on the restaurant's first floor. 

"We make everything from scratch here - we smoke our meats and fish, we make our own salt, pepper, bread and all our sauces, so it's not unusual for us to create cheese too, although I think we're probably the only place in London that does," he said. 

Burger topping

Ahern's obsession with creating unusual cheeses started when he put in a request to his cheese supplier for a horseradish cheese to top a beef burger at his former pop-up restaurant Burger Breakout.

"He didn't do it, so I decided to have a go at creating it myself," he said.

"I’ve a standard belief that if you have you only have to be as smart as the dumbest person who’s ever done it, so it couldn't be that difficult. Everything I learnt was from ruining a lot of cheese and shouting ‘please make this f**king cheese work’" 

The idea for cheese flavours came from the need for them to accompany different dishes, Ahern said, with a black garlic cheese created to top a turkey burger for example. 

"The pickled beetroot cheese came about because I wanted a pink cheese to top a burger for Breast Cancer Awareness month," he said. "That was probably the trickiest one as you’re adding acid to fat.

"We have had some that have gone badly wrong," he added. "I find it hard to add heat to cheese, so we didn't manage to make a piri piri cheese,  but mostly they are a success. People just go crazy for our garlic mushroom cheese and I’ve been plagued by friends who constantly ask me for various cheeses. I think if I stopped making cheese, my phone would probably stop ringing."  

Menu development

As well as including them in dishes, Wahleeah's cheeses are sold on a cheeseboard with homemade chutney for £12. 

"Someone asked once if they could have our cheeses on a cheeseboard, so we did it for them and now it's on the menu permanently," added Ahern. 

The chef continues to develop his cheeses and other products, with current plans to develop bacon and wasabi flavoured cheeses. He also plans to produce bottles of bacon ketchup, which is one thirdbacon by weight and currently served in the restaurant, to be sold in retail.  

Related topics: Restaurants, Venues, Business, Food

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