What? As part of Shoreditch’s summer pop-up Lasts Days of Shoreditch, acclaimed chef, Ben Spalding, is serving up an regularly changing, menu of small plates.
New? It opened at the end of May and will run throughout the summer on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays.
Where? Last Days of Shoreditch, 288 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LA, www.benspalding.co.uk
On the Menu: The dishes are nothing if not adventurous, but they’re served without any pretentiousness, well they can’t really be given the setting – but that’s the best way to eat them, when you’re just thinking about the food and not everything else going on around you. The menu changes regularly, you’ll find the likes of cured and blowtorched Cornish mackerel with Nutella, mango, Marmite cream cheese and grapefruit zest; spicy cheesy skin on fries with Holy F**k sauce and Montgomery Jack cheese and Crispy Piggy! Skin with Korean BBQ, strawberry cream and meadowsweet flowers.
First Impressions: On a Friday night it was quieter than we thought it would be, but there was a real energy coming from the open kitchen and by the time we had finished most of the tables were full. Given it’s informal setting and fast paced energy
The Look: Set up on a terrace above Last Days of Shoreditch, it’s safe to say that it’s all about the food rather than the look of the restaurant. It’s dark inside and the focus lies on the open kitchen where you can see Ben and his team at work, other than that its simple. Not slick, it’s rough around the edges, it looks rather like it’s been put up quickly for the summer, which in fairness it probably has, but it lets the food do the talking, which is what we really care about.
What We Ate: Plates are small and come out fast, your ticket gives you four dishes, so choose wisely, or do as we did and share each dish between you, as it’s too hard to whittle them down. Continuing with the chicken butter and skin trend that is currently doing the rounds, there is a crunchy chicken skin sandwich stuffed with cheese; we had excellent mackerel was topped with Rice Krispies and served with fresh mango chutney. Duck on a brick was just that – top marks for presentation; it wasn’t twee in the way it is when your burger comes on a wooden board and your chips in a mini fryer (actually forget twee, that’s just wrong). A must is the teriyaki broccoli, certain to be like no broccoli you’ve had before, this is served with white chocolate and apricot jam, the sweetness working with the teriyaki perfectly. You also shouldn’t over look Mr Mung –rich, meaty, umami creamed mung beans with sharp radicchio to use as spoons.
Pudding has to be the Holy F**K fudge, which arrives on flames, there’s a wonderful, burnt, sugar, treacly kick to it and if you want to keep it classic with chocolate, you can, albeit as a peppery Szechuan chocolate mousse.
Ben Spalding Small Plate Sessions: Last Days of Shoreditch, 288 Old Street, Shoreditch, EC1V 9LA