pop up restaurants continue to be a feature of the london dining scene. having had my first experience courtesy of nuno mendes and his loft, and hearing a few too many tales of being charged for food little better than what any averagely competent cook can knock up, i’ve been wary of disappointment. david and i had a lovely meal courtesy of anna colquhoun, who i interviewed for the blog back in 2008 when she’d just finished her internship at chez panisse.
reading about ben greeno at tudor road, and his training at sat bains and noma, followed by a stint at the loft, made me realise i had found another place worth trying.
the menu that ben sent through in advance was simple, and very intriguing.
onions, ponzu, sesame
mackerel, horseradish, cucumber
egg, mushrooms, potato
pork, courgette, garlic capers
apples, gingerbread, brown butter
we were greeted with a glass of pink cider from normandy (and from ben’s local off licence, bottle apostle) which was incredibly good.
ben’s food was wonderful – like nuno mendes, there is a level of creativity and playfulness that is a joy to encounter. the dishes are imaginative and i enjoyed every single one, feeling in each case that ben was exploring and pushing at boundaries, but not just for the sake of it.
so, the dishes…
- the onions were chargrilled, sprinkled with earthy black sesame and a light citrus dressing
- the mackerel was served raw (a surprisingly delicate flavour) with fresh horseradish shavings and an intense dill dressing
- the eggs thrilled me – they were cooked long and slow and had an incredible texture, reminiscent of a poached egg but so much better. the snail, garlicky mushrooms and french salt made this dish sing
- slow-cooked belly pork served with broccoli (in place of the advertised courgette) and a fun sprinkling of crushed pork crackling, salt n vinegar crisps and capers (I have to try this)
- and finally, a pudding which ticked every autumnal bonfire night box. plus spoons of chocolate salted caramel to lick as we had coffee
ben was a wonderful host and I really enjoyed chatting to him, when we arrived and after we’d eaten. sadly our dining companions were less easy – a group of 12 who made us feel as though we were intruding on their private supper. no matter though, ben’s food and hospitality worked its magic.
ben’s kitchen has a shelf life of the end of january so, if you want to go, and i really do suggest you do, you should book asap. i’m interested to know where ben ends up next as his cooking intrigued me and i am sure i’ll continue to enjoy it in new and different settings. it feels like he is on a journey and i’d love to be witness to future stages.