Remember Charlie Stocker? He was that little one on Masterchef. Looked about 12. Severed his hand in a horror-film-esque manner in the semi finals. Well now he’s ventured into the big wide world of pop-up restaurants. Stocker is a big fan of foraging, which is when you go to the woods to find things to eat which are not bark or slugs. It’s one of those ‘don’t try this at home’ type things, I reckon. I’d undoubtedly poison myself and die within hours.
Anyhow, this pop-up restaurant happened at The Old Sessions House in Clerkenwell, a big old building full of fine architecture, big high ceilings and stuff like that.
We began with house bread with home churned butter and Tollesbury sea salt. This was odd. The butter tasted of buttercream. I was confused by it. Then arrived an amuse bouche – beetrout soup, if you will. It was alright. Not amazing. Average. I don’t like beetroot though, I may be biased.
Crisp pheasant egg with wild garlic panna cotta, asparagus and st. george’s mushrooms was up next. This was much better. Wild garlic panna cotta was strangely delicious. Asparagus was brilliant. Hollandaise even better. My breath took on a nightmarish scent.
And then the fish. Mackerel, sea buckthorn, carrot, cucumber and Alexander, the menu said. I’m not sure i got any sea buckthorn. I don’t know what it is but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t there… Mackerel was delish. Cucumbers tasted of brine. Not very cucumberish at all. Quite interesting, quite tasty too.
Stocker’s main course was best end of Spring Lamb, crisp sweetbreads, hay, buttermilk gratin, turnips and cumin. This was odd because I got a thing which looked like a tail on my plate. I was all like “ooh a tail”. “It’s a parsnip, madam,” waitress replied, putting me right in my place, all the while looking at me like she’d just detected a waft of faeces. Hilarity ensued. Lamb was perfect, tail or no tail. In other news there was no discernible taste of cumin on the dish, which wasn’t a bad thing because everyone knows cumin tastes of armpits. False advertising, though.
After this there was ‘nitro’ poached lemon crème brûlée with sugar glass, thyme foam, ginger shortbread and London honey. This was tasty enough. The ice cream was very delicious in fact. However the plate was full of absences. There was no thyme foam AND no honey. I missed them and cried a little.
I just about had space for a couple of petit fours after that lot, which was good because Stocker provided marshmallows and fudge to ensure no gaps remained in our podgy bellies. These were my favourite part of the entire meal, actually. I would have quite enjoyed a plate of marshmallows for dinner. It’s frowned upon though, unfortunately.
£££ (£55 per head)
For more information on Charlie Stocker’s pop-ups visit http://charliestocker.com/