With this, my 50th post I’m feeding you with the exciting and terrifying news that I’ll be staying in cookery school for the rest of the year! Last month, just before starting school I sought out inspiration by dining at the masterchef pop-up restaurant at the Bluefin 11th floor in Southwark.
Little did I know how much I would empathise with the Masterchef contestants one month into my course, continually being assessed, budgeting for private dinner parties and menu planning group buffet assignments.
My family bought tickets for the lunch by Dhruv Baker (Masterchef winner 2010), Andrew Kojima and Tom Rennolds (both finalists in 2012), £26 per person plus wine. It was held in a pretty nice venue for a pop-up, with views of across the city and into the new Tate development. The terrace on the floor below was also open for drinks, but as it was the middle of the day so also hosted the smoking workers from the building. The menu read as follows (excuse the quality of the photo):
I had Dhruv’s crab cakes to start, which reminded me of crisp and soft Sri Lankan cutlets (spicy fishcakes), though could have done with a bit more crab. I tried some of the terrine too which was lovely, topped with air popped crackling, ‘popcorn’.
The fish main was easily the highlight, everything was cooked perfectly, served with unusual kelp-y seaweed and brought together with a umami-rich ponzu dressing. This dish was so good to just be a rare gem at a pop-up, it deserves a home at a restaurant so that I can go back and eat it again.
The portions looked small as they came out but it was a perfect lunch order, accompanied with some nice white wine. I finished the meal with the lemon tart, beautifully paired with the chai masala ice cream, thick pastry but I liked it. I had a taste of the pistachio cake too, which was equally delicious.
The service was over-attentive if anything, but I guess it helped when you want to change your order last minute. Not to sound too much of an anti-social being but I do think some waiters can be too chatty in the attempt for ‘fuss-free’ dining.
I can imagine it’s difficult to collaborate for one menu and make it all uniform on a page, so the written word didn’t translate to what I expected it to look like on the plate, which in this case was a pleasant surprise. It was a great showcase of the talents of the TV show, I would have liked to have met the chefs but we finished before the end of their service. Nonetheless it was a lovely lunch and gave me the encouragement to start school with a fire/food in my belly.