After following En Place on Twitter for a while, it was time to see what their fine dining pop-up in a coffee shop after hours would be like, so I booked myself and Eat With Ellen onto the Thursday 9 July evening.
For two nights a month, Mike and Josh take-over the tiny kitchen at Six Eight Kafe in Millennium Point. Imagine a private dinner party in a public space, where even though you’ve seen the menu in advance every course still holds a surprise and you get an idea of ambience.
The contrast between sweet and citrus in the Beetroot air and chilled orange shot granita got the meal off to a great start.
A cool sliver of cucumber marinaded in fiery spices was a side to the mojito in-spherification – a clever geleatine ball ofalcohol that dissolved on contact with your mouth which was a definite talking point.
An updated salmon tartar, with crispy scraps, curried apple, aioli and rape seed oil crumbs gave us an insight into how Mike and Josh enjoyed mixing up textures with ingredients that were not quite what they seemed.
After two treats, we were presented with our starters. I’d swapped the black pudding for a tasty sliver of skate when I’d booked, but kept the cauliflower puree, capers and spinach.
In my main course I’d also swapped the lamb for chicken and appreciated the crispy skin even more after Josh said that he had nearly burnt his hand in the process of cooking it!
This level of contact, with Josh introducing and serving all of the dishes personally, was not just informative but charming and showed you just how much En Place care about giving diners a great experience.
A simply stunning dessert of cherry jelly drops, almond crumb and peanut butter parfait was next and was so moreish that everyone demanded seconds. On the plate this deceptively simple looking dessert hid the complicated process of blending meringues with cream, then freezing for four hours to achieve the final silky smoothness of the parfait.
Petit fours of strawberry and clotted cream fudge with chocolate mousse and honeycomb bites ended our meal.
This isn’t something you see every day – the ‘black book’ of recipes (complete with scorch marks) reveals the partnership of Mike’s more traditional style with Josh’s modern take and how they fuse together to create dishes like sticky toffee pig cheeks.
Throughout the dinner, Mike had kept the flow of food going in the kitchen, so it wasn’t until the end of the night that both chefs took a well earned beer and accepted the praise of happy customers.
My photos don’t do this meal packed with carefully thought dishes, that are anything but ordinary, justice. £35 seems a small price to pay and offers outstanding value for such a lovely dinner. So take a group of friends and your favourite drinks, then sit back and savour a fab evening.
The next En Place pop-up is on Thursday 6 and Friday 7 August where you can expect:
- Pea, goats curd, wasabi,
- Mackerel, smoked vodka, cucumber, lemon sherbert,
- Belly pork, lentils, carrot, apple, piccalilli,
- Banana, peanut, jam, dark chocolate