The Dumbwaiter ventured to Pop Brixton this week for lunch at Smoke & Salt. The London dining scene has changed so dramatically that chefs are now cooking exquisite food from a shipping container in South London – it’s all rather fascinating. Lunch consisted of some new dishes that chefs Aaron Webster and Remi Williams are adding to their menu that they are launching. The standout plate of food for The Dumbwaiter was a dish of chicken hearts with plantain, Korean salt and onion marmalade.
Tucked away down Newport Street it would be easy to walk straight past the Newport Street Gallery and the stairs up to Pharmacy 2 that lie within. Mark Hix’s influence on Damien Hirst’s restaurant is clear to see with the likes of monkfish curry and ‘HIX’ cure smoked salmon gracing the menu. The Brik a l’oeuf de canard with harissa was interesting and delicious in equal measure, and with bottles of Gavi di Gavi flowing freely (helped by a very attractive CODE app offer), The Dumbwaiter is sure to be back to this little pocket of Lambeth.
The Dumbwaiter was sceptical about the combination of squid ink, egg white and a cep infusion all in one cocktail, but at the master hands of East London Liquor Company, it was a pleasant (if savoury) surprise. Their event at BAO Fitzrovia showcased three further cocktails, which are in the running for a permanent spot on the menu. The Dumbwaiter devoured his fair share of bao buns to soak it all up.
In the railway arch underneath Cambridge Heath Station, Ellen Parr and Pete Kelly have created a funky wonderground for their north-western Chinese operation. Sad not be sitting in the disco ball cove, The Dumbwaiter was happily distracted by a beautifully braised bream in chilli and soy, a tender Xi’an lamb burger, and Yunnan aubergine and tofu. A couple of scoops of cream cheese gelato from a collaboration with Hackney Gelato rounded the meal off perfectly.
Burger & Lobster helped start the trend of restaurants focusing on a handful of ingredients and more restaurants have now followed. The latest is Fancy Crab that has now opened on Wigmore Street in Marylebone specialising in King Crab. The Dumbwaiter enjoyed a selection of dishes all featuring King Crab including a bisque soup, Singapore chilli crab and grilled crab meat with butter, thyme and hollandaise sauce.