Can’t recall the last time that has happened – so I guess I like it.
The food is good (but not spectacular); the service is enthusiastic and competent; the ambience is – well let’s stay positive!
The format is ‘nose to tail’ (OK I know that’s hardly a novelty) but the idea here is to change the animal each week. So, cow, pig, rabbit and lamb have all featured (with duck and chicken upcoming). But the important thing is how well this is done within that format.
A new menu every week – and that doesn’t mean just change the protein and leave the rest of the dish as is – and even the ‘week’ is a misnomer as there are changes, potentially daily, as certain parts of the animal are not sufficient to prepare large numbers of servings (e.g. we missed lamb sweetbreads – used on a different night, but did receive the ‘fries’).
The supporting ingredients are all fresh (last week had a pea soup (more of a puree) served with crispy strips of pig ear – great texture and flavours). There are typically half a dozen different ‘cuts’ of the animal served – the menu is a graphic of the animal with the parts numbered according to the courses – but the details are ‘mostly’ a surprise until the dish is served. Portion sizes are small (course #5 typically is slightly larger and serves as almost a main course).
But overall it’s a sense of fun that dominates – clearly everybody involved is enjoying this venture which is relatively informal (albeit structured) and doesn’t pretend to be fine dining – although the chef (ex St Johns in London) is clearly both creative and accomplished.
Because of the format, I’m not going to describe all the dishes we had – you’ll get something different anyway, but just give a few examples – even the dessert ‘attempts’ to stay within the theme (some liberties might be taken).
The dessert for the rabbit evening was ‘Rabbit ‘n’ Waffles’ – a riff on the chicken dish, using rabbit ‘nuggets’ , indeed served with waffles and a sweet sauce.
During the lamb evening, one of the courses was a liver pate with a fava bean topping – and the accompanying (optional) wine was, of course, a nice chianti.
One of the pig courses was the spleen – this had been flattened, bacon strips laid on it and rolled, then sliced to give a pinwheel – accompanied by steamed fiddleheads – which, of course, have a similar shape and appearance. Incidentally, don’t be scared by the thought of unusual parts – they don’t dominate(although always appear) – at the same meal the pork belly was served ‘2 ways’ – one piece braised to a tenderness; the other roasted and the rendered fat captured on a thin bread layer (fried bread) to give a crispy version.
So four meals – 24 courses (plus amuses) – only two repetitions (how many ways are there to prepare potatoes and fava beans?) that I can recall – none in my top 10 meals, but every one fun and enjoyable.
Clearly this pop-up (6 month planned) doesn’t take itself too seriously. Price is $65 for the 6 small courses (and usually a couple of amuses e.g. pork crackling with apple dust and a dipping sauce). Wine pairings for $35 (typically 4 small pourings) – a small wine list available.
Also, as it takes place in a ‘night club’ – after 10:00 (Thur-Sat) the music starts up later in the evening (and the restaurant essentially closes). Closed Tue/Wed.