Pop-ups, pop-ups, pop-ups! They seem to be everywhere at the moment.
Shelina Permalloo winner of England’s Masterchef 2012 dedicated an evening to run her pop-up at The Thatched House in Hammersmith.
Having lived in London for a year and a half I am ashamed to say that I have not yet been to a pop-up restaurant though I have seen and heard loads about them. So now was my time to find out what all the fuss was about.
Having recently ventured to the new cocktail bar Smiths in Hammersmith recommended by both The Metro and Emerald Street and which I was hugely disappointed by (ordered food that didn’t arrive, cocktails were average to poor and waited 15/20mins for each round!) I have to admit that I was a bit sceptical about venturing back to Hammersmith quite so soon after. However, arriving at the Thatched House was a truly pleasant surprise! I should have known seeing as it is run by the same people that run The Ship at Wandsworth (a great place to go in the summer for those that don’t already know it). The bar area was nice and spacious with a mixture of big and small tables and chairs. The restaurant was on the other side of the bar which was pretty spacious and had a nice outdoor area as well…not that we ventured out as it was pretty chilly.
Having grabbed a bottle of wine at the bar we were seated by the lovely Jo who swiftly placed us along the ‘couples’ bench at the back of the restaurant.
The food was very swift to be served, we had been warned that we had to be their promptly as all food would be served at the same time…not quite your silver service but something along those lines!
The first serving was the chilli cakes which were nicely presented but slightly overcooked. A little too hard on the outside causing one to fly off my plate onto the table when I tried to cut into it. All great entertainment for my friend and all other strangers on the table. However slightly embarrassing for me for the red faced me!
The king prawns came shell on so it was time to dig in and get our hands dirty. The prawns were perfectly cooked and juicy, they had a lovely hint of spice. This was definitely my favourite course.
Getting stuck in!
Definition of licking the plate clean? Not quite, but a bloody good effort!
The main course was mutton curry which was nicely cooked but was too heavy as it came in a wrap…I was already feeling pretty full by this point and was at a bit of a loose end as to how I was going to fit everything else in!
Next came the soft shell crab. A light batter which was gently seasoned. The sauce wasn’t too heavy and therefore it didn’t overpower the crabs delicate flavour.
At this point I decided to stretch my legs and let my food go down a bit so I headed around to the other side of the bar to see if I could get any action shots of the kitchen…I was in luck. Shelina and Andrew Kojima were both plating up the desserts.
Mangoes. For those of you that watched the 2012 Masterchef you will know that Shelina had a penchant for mangoes! They had featured in our meal already but the dessert was where they featured the most. Cut into pieces and lightly dressed between two crispy molasses biscuits that were really subtle in flavour. The mango was surprisingly ripe and the marshmallow gave a gentle overall sweetness to the dish.
Shelina’s own spiced rum was delicious (though I didn’t neck it all!) it had lovely vanilla notes which I really enjoyed.
We then headed to the bar to finish off our second bottle of wine, yikes, and bumped into the lovely John Torode, Lisa Faulkner and Tim Anderson. Smiles all around.
Great end to the evening.