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  1. Chateau Marmot

    November 13, 2013 by Dini

           A transatlantic voyage of  international bistronomy


    8th November 2013

    Oh what a night, it was definitely a ‘transatlantic voyage’ as the menu had described. Tonight’s Chateau Marmot temporary dining experience was created and exacted by the talented Laurent Quenioux (LQ) and entourage flown in from LA. The location was a minimalist warehouse in deepest darkest Shadwell, sharing a clandestine back street with The Times newspaper HQ, Pennington Street.

    Laurent Quenioux (LQ)

    Laurent Quenioux (LQ)

    The six course menu (£49) was a circle navigation of the globe, one could say fusion cooking, but as LQ calls it ‘international bistronomy’. I especially like the fact he had taken heed to ensure ingredients were seasonal showcasing root vegetables, venison, chestnut, and persimmon, to name a few.

    Rosana was my dining partner, we both settled upon the Butlers ‘75 (£10) as an aperitif to kick off the evening. It was a heady little number, fizzing with both champagne and small batch gin, aiding our bubbly conversation for the rest of the night. To accompany the rest of the courses, we shared a taste of the 125ml glass wine flights on offer: The Marmot (£26) and the Haute Marmot (£36), giving us a chance to compare and contrast the matches and see what worked best.

    Course 1: A refreshing dish, with hints of spice from chipotle, cleansing guacamole and delicately soft razor clams.

    Course 1: Razor clams, guacamole, carrot pico de gallo, chipotle, huitlacoche

    Course 1: Razor clams, guacamole, carrot pico de gallo, chipotle, huitlacoche


    Course 2: I’d never had venison rare before, the addition of the raw quails egg was a great binding agent but didn’t mask the taste. In the past when I’d tasted venison, it would have a rich gamey taste, this didn’t, it was fresh and held it’s own. I loved the yuzu, giving a real citrus zing. Wine 1: Percheron Old Vine Cinsault or Richard Rottiers Moulin a Vent

    South Downs venison tartare, yuzu kosho shisho gel, basil seeds, chocolate soil, chicken liver, cardamom

    South Downs venison tartare, yuzu kosho shisho gel, basil seeds, chocolate soil, chicken liver, cardamom


    Course 3: I found the aji chile amarillo piquant against the salmon. The addition of samphire, was pleasing, not adding colour to the plate but additional seasoning, to awaken the root veg. Wine 2: Laurent – Perrier Brut NV (served for both flights)

    Salmon crudo, aji chile Amarillo, parsnip/swede/turnip salad, watercress & tarragon varnish

    Salmon crudo, aji chile Amarillo, parsnip/swede/turnip salad, watercress & tarragon varnish


    Course 4:  By breaking the soft hen’s egg, it cleverly gave extra body to the chowder. The sliver of foie gras was sufficient enough to add richness to the crispy hushpuppie. Wine 3: Macon Charney or Riva Ranch Chardonnay

    Chestnut chowder, bacon, corn, pumpkin pie spices, poached hen’s egg, huckleberry hushpuppie, foie gras

    Chestnut chowder, bacon, corn, pumpkin pie spices, poached hen’s egg, huckleberry hushpuppie, foie gras


    Course 5: This  was one of my favourite courses, down to the superb quality of the pork, my knife cut through it like butter, shredding so easily. The mash was unusual in that it was a potato -plantain combination, thankfully that was less avant-garde than had it actually been banana. Wine 4: Borsao Garnacha or Charge Rioja

    Slow cooked pork cheek “parmentier style”, banana mash potato, Cointreau, confit shallots

    Slow cooked pork cheek “parmentier style”, banana mash potato, Cointreau, confit shallots


    Course 6: It was the first time I had tasted persimmon, it’s orange hue is so distinctive in the market stalls at the moment, so was glad to try it. The pudding  slightly sweet but dense with the fruit pulp, I loved the textures of indulgent panna cotta, ice cream against the tart sticky gel. Wine 5: Williams & Humbert 12YO Oloroso or H& H Madeira

    pudding, corn streusel, corn panna cotta, barley ice cream, cranberry gel

    pudding, corn streusel, corn panna cotta, barley ice cream, cranberry gel

    Artisanal cheese board: An expertly chosen selection of complementing European cheese. I especially loved the Livarot AOC (a first for me) and a favourite of mine, Comte AOC, it’s nuttiness blended with the tart hedgerow jelly. Wine 6: The Wolftrapp Red, SA (£7)

    Artisanal cheese board: Golden Cross Goat (UK), Ossau Iraty (France), Comte AOC (France), Livarot AOC (France), Haford Organic Cheddar (Wales), Fourme D’Ambert AOC (France) – served with CM hedgerow jelly, chutney and crackers

    Artisanal cheese board: Golden Cross Goat (UK), Ossau Iraty (France), Comte AOC (France), Livarot AOC (France), Haford Organic Cheddar (Wales), Fourme D’Ambert AOC (France) – served with CM hedgerow jelly, chutney and crackers


    A lot of care, attention and expert planning went into the menu creation, ingredients sourcing and presentation of these dishes. I loved the textural contrasts, plenty of firsts for me and supreme excellence in plating to draw your eye to each and every little detail. If you see the chance to dine at CM or at an LQ event, I can’t recommend it enough. As a touring experience there’s another one in November 2013 in London and a couple in Bath in December 2013. If you’d like to attend a dining experience like this, then check out updates from Grub club and for LQ or CM specifically.

    *Rosana (Hot & Chilli) was invited along for a complimentary meal to blog the experience and I took up the offer as her plus one and it’s her photos that kindly grace this blog.


  2. Street Feast

    May 16, 2012 by Dini

    Street Feast – In the beginning…

    May 2012

    Nestling around the corner from Brick Lane lies the Scalter street carpark, and the host venue for the inaugural ‘Street Feast’.  London’s appetite for street food fayre is at full throng with markets and pop-ups springing up across the capital. A few favourites from already popular markets have formed the collective for this Friday night shindig.

    Here’s a video of some of the highlights:

    (thanks to Street Feast / Yin & Yang’s for the use of their youtube video)

    What sets this market apart from the others, is that it’s a night-time affair with a fully licensed bar and dining room aptly named ‘The Carwash’, because it usually is one!

    It’s a little rough round the edges but the table service and vibe more than compensates for the surroundings.

    My first visit’s street feast picks were:

    The Rib Man – moreish and tender pork ribs, falling off the bone and smothered in a choice of BBQ or Holy F*uck hot sauce


    Mama’s Jerk Station – Spicy chicken with a cooling mix of salad and a jazzed up tropical mayo


    Homeslice – Fresh wood-fire baked thin crust pizza’s with simple but delicious toppings, such as chorizo, rocket and parmesan

    Which means next time I need to make a beeline to check out …

    Big Apple Hot Dogs, Hardcore Prawn and  The Bowler – I tasted the hotdogs before and know it’s a great offering and read review on the others, so curious to try out… I’m sure the vendors will come and go as the weeks go on, but it’s good to see how they mix things up and create wacky executions of their classics like the HomeSlice – RibMan mash-up pizza (as seen at Eat Street) and Beas of Bloomsbury’ deep fried brownies (as seen at Stock MKT).

    I don’t recommend that you dart there for 5pm before the crowds as the vendors will probably be still be setting up and getting going. Give them a chance to set up by having a post work drink then come over, I have a feeling the street feast party vibe kicked in post 9pm, judging by tweets that night…

    Street Feast is usually held on Friday nights
    Website:  – for updates on venues
    twitter: @StreetFeastLDN

  3. Bonnie & Wild SupperClub

    June 21, 2011 by Dini

    It was Bonnie & a ‘wee’ Wild…

    19th June 2011

     Showcasing the best of Scottish produce, Bonnie Gull, Fisherman’s Mission and Wild Game Co have joined forces to create some unique pop-up supperclub nights. 

    Hosted in a M.Manze’s traditional Pie & Mash shop in Chapel Market (Angel), diners are seated in wooden church-like pews. Mo-town classics are the background sound-track, heightened by the chatter and laugther of the other diners. My dining guests and I went on their first  Saturday night and it was completely sold-out.

    The organisers’ ethos is to provide sustainable, organic, fresh and British sourced food.  For this they tick all the boxes, the seafood and game cooked to perfection but sides and sauces needed work. The one option for dessert – ‘Burnt Cream’ was a disappointment and I’m not sure what it was supposed to be. Alas, I’ll give them a break as they were only starting out and we were getting a reduced rate (3 courses for £20, usually £29).

    Watch out: Cash only… so make you make a trip to the ATM first

    Make sure to: Take advantage of the BYO


    Bonnie & Wild, 74 Chapel Market, N1 9ER








  4. ‘MasterChef’ Friday Food Club

    April 11, 2011 by Dini

    Friday Food Club Meza Pop-Up


    Wednesday 6th April 2011

    Not a Friday, not in Lee (Creator in the Kitchen) & Fi (FOH)’s usual BlackHeath residence and not a humble supperclub menu like any other…

    Instead, I joined quite a few others in booking in for a special pop-up in Meza hosted by the Friday Food Club, pulling in a few of their friends… Anna Hansen (of The Moden Pantry) and these two:

    'Chefs' - Dhruv Baker & Lisa Faulkner

    'Chefs' - Dhruv Baker & Lisa Faulkner



    Soho Breeze


    Friday Food Club Amuse Bouche

    (Possibly the best amuse bouche I’ve ever tasted, with sweet green peas and chorizo, a vividly decorated and tasty delight)


    British Asparagus with Tarragon Butter, Deep Fried Burford Brown Egg & Parmesan Shavings

    served with

    Christophe et Fils Chablis 2009 (from Naked Wines)

    (Firstly, apologies for my photos, I haven’t done the Burford Brown egg justice. The ‘money shot’ indeed was on the slice when the yolk seeped)


    Pan Fried Sea Bream, Crispy Squid & Compound Butter


    Belly of Pork, Spiced Stuffing, Butternut Squash Puree, Pomme Anna, Apple Jelly & Coriander Jus

    served with

    Fairhills Vineyard Fairtrade Mendoza Malbec 2009 (from Origin Wine)

    (The spiced stuffing balls were divine as was the crackling, which I snuck extra’s of from the platter)


    Bison Grass Vodka & Mint Panna Cotta, Roasted Cardomom & Honey Figs on Shortbread

    served with

    Benjamin Dernault Montahuc 2007 (from Naked Wines)

    (The combo of Zubrowka bison grass vodka with creamy panna cotta wasn’t for me, however it did have a stunning wibbly wobble)


    Mint Tea


    I loved the fact that all diners, were given a Friday Food Club muffin at the end of the night. For those who could eat another morsel either there or in the cab home (which I couldn’t) or in my case, devoured for breakfast the next morning. It’s cute touches such as this that made me appreciate the night and value the efforts of our Host and Organiser – Lee (not forgetting wonderful Fi, not pictured!)


    Our Host - Lee

    Our Host - Lee

    To find out more details about Friday Food Club and future events, go to



  5. Franck Pontais’ The Glass Kitchen

    March 25, 2011 by Dini

     Taste Lab

    23rd March 2011


    Nestled on the 5th floor of Harvey Nichols (London), is the the Taste Lab, an area which displays gourmet delicacies with a twist. I was invited by curators Global Food Consulting to sample Franck Pontais’ The Glass Kitchen concept. To be fair, I had no idea who Franck was and had never seen an episode of Iron Chef. So, the big draw for me was truly an interest in terrines (one of Franck’s specialities) and verrines. A Verrine is the presentation of food in glass vessels that can also be presented in layered stacks. Common place in Michelin fine dining, but its Franck’s mission to bring it to the masses and hence the stint in Harvey Nichols, a book and hopefully a licensing deal with the manufacturers.

    My guest and I selected one savoury and one sweet dish each, so we could taste each others. Franck worked with Belgian glass manufacturers Durobor, to bring to Harvey Nichols a selection of different glass vessels and serving combinations. The displays were beautiful and certainly attracting interest from the glamorous set of 5th floor shoppers. I can definitely see the benefit of using verrine style; dry ingredients remain texturally and visually intact without becoming soggy or usurped by sauces. What was also interesting is that they had a ‘tardis’ quality, as they looked so dainty. However, it wasn’t until Franck poured out the contents of one dish on to a plate, that we actually realised the vast amount of contents.

    Franck’s style of cooking is fusion and combining interesting flavours and ingredients (such as lotus root) to create beautifully designed dishes. To taste parts off some dishes individually just didn’t work, but as dishes in their entirety, they worked splendidly. We watched the assembly of a terrine and also the verrine live, thankfully a lot of the prep had been done before hand. It was incredibly meticulous and credit to Franck offered us different alternatives when for instance I didn’t like the taste of lavender (which I always find too soapy). My favourite dish was, what I thought to be a sophisticated spin on a breaksfast dish – the smoked duck breast with lardons, poached saffron quail eggs and crispy fungi mushrooms.

    He seemed to think of everything, to capture the Harvey Nichols audience of shoppers, he also had some pre-prepared items that could be purchased too. This is a niche concept and I’m not sure how widespread verrine use will become, but at least Franck can be happy that his terrine will be replicated more easily, thanks to his cookbook!

    Details for both verrine and cookery book purchase can be found on Franck’s website –

  6. Meateasy – The Original

    February 28, 2011 by Dini

    Pop-Up Burger Dining – 25th Feb 2011


    For months prior to Meateasy’s opening and then afterward there was a lot of twitter buzz, proclamations were being made about it being ‘the best burger’ and experience in London. Alas, the guerrilla pop-up was located in New Cross, quite a trek and is a burger really that worthy? Brain child of Yianni Papoutsis, here’s the story –


    Another month went by and the surge of fandom had reached the mainstream with coverage in The Evening Standard and The Metro. So, I decided the pilgrimage had to be made. My fellow diners the @CriticalCouple had ‘reserved’ a table, thankfully meant that we could queue jump somewhat, I certainly didn’t fancy waiting two hours for any burger!

    On arrival there was a buzz of activity, very cool and already full to the rafters by 6pm. We had delicious cocktails (Mojito and a French Martini) by Soul Shakers, to quench our thirst and keep us amused during waiting. Every so often we’d hear a clanging, this was done when a donation was made to the new Meatwagon van fund (The old van was sadly stolen).

    To reduce waiting time there was a limit on food, so one could only order three items from the menu, so my friend and I opted for three different items each so we could share. I loved the chicken burger in particular, juicy and tender meat with a real crispy breadcrumb. The fudge brownie ice-cream sundae which I assume was one of the least ordered items (due to rationing and the burger being the main event), was a deliciously gooey triumph.

    One brave soul on our table @corkgourmetguy (Dave Ahern) ventured to take on the ‘Triple Chilli Challenge’. This was a timed record challenge of speed eating three different ‘chilli’ menu items, the fastest winner being entitled to queue jump, on visits thereafter. A lot of water and plenty of beer was consumed at any rate and I’m sure there was indigestion too.

    Since closing down the pop-up, the meat wagon has popped up at a Dalston Festival, a residency in Peckham-Rye,  the Soho Food Festival and Glastonbury. So, the work of dastardly thieves thankfully didn’t scupper the stellar work of the Meatwagon and Yianni’s latest venue is under the guise of @MeatLiquor nestling in Marylebone.

    Follow Yianni on twitter on @themeatwagonuk to keep up with his adventures…

    2013 Blog update: since my blog Yianni has opened up the following venues…

    MEATLiquor     74 Welbeck St, London W1G 0BA
    MEATMarket   The Deck, Jubilee Market Hall, Tavistock St, London, WC2E 8BE
    MEATMission   14-16 Hoxton Market, London, N1 6HG