I've blogged about The Pickled Fork and their South London supper clubs many times before; first there was the Brixton Diner, then there was the #Grimedining evening and finally the pop up at Brixton Cornercopia. Now Australian chef Alex is running #Pickledpopup evenings in Earlsfield and Wandsworth and very kindly invited me and Steve along for dinner last week.
With a monthly changing menu depending on what's in season and what Alex has managed to grow in his allotment the theme is always fine dining without the frills and hefty price tag. £35 gets you 4 wonderful courses of fresh, inventive food and you're guaranteed to leave with a smile and full belly.
I looked at the menu in advance (my friend Peckhamite had been the previous week) and knew straight away that I was in treat as cheesy cauliflower, roasted vegetables, venison and fudge are some of my favourite things to eat. Expectations were high!
Our first starter consisted of roasted cauliflower and mature cheddar on top of a crumpet, accompanied by crispy pig ears and charred endive. The cauliflower and cheese concoction was simply delicious with the vegetable retaining a decent bite and the mature cheese adding a rich, indulgent flavour. Combined with the bitter salad, chutney-esque sultanas and slightly salty pigs ears this was really was a delicious dish with all the different flavours coming together in a wonderful harmony.
The second starter was a more simple affair with a plate of roasted root veg, red cabbage purée and curd. As you can imagine the curd with slightly sour but combined with the sweet red cabbage this created a heavenly sauce for the vegetables to be dipped in.
I was really excited about the venison wellington as it is some what of a special occasion dish in my family with my mum doing a fantastic job of cooking the beef version. As you can see the meat was slightly overcooked and lacked a juicy pink finish, however it still tasted wonderful with that gamey taste venison possesses. The leek lasagne was wonderful and rich, as was the cockle pate and the slightly sweet liquorice gravy really added a higher dimension to the flavours of the dish.
The pop up was held in the Earslfield cafe, Bean and Hop that specialises in coffee and craft beer. It's a lovely site with a stripped back, casual vibe and I'm looking forward to checking it out during the day time. The range of craft beer is impressive with many different local brands including a selection of ciders.
The dessert was a wonderful display of home grown rhubarb including rhubarb and milk pudding, rhubarb and caraway fudge, and a toffee apply doughnut with smoked rhubarb dipping sauce. Every element of this plate was delicious with my favourite being the sweet fudge. The doughnut was perfect with a crispy outside and fluffy centre, heavenly.
Every time I've been to a Pickled Fork event the food has been perfect. Speaking to Alex you can tell he loves being a chef and coming up with new ideas and it's experiences like this that make me want to return over and over. I can't recommend this pop up enough, especially if you live in South West London and even if you're not local it's worth the trip. I know I'll be returning again, especially as there's talk about a 5 course menu with Sipsmiths Gin!