When I saw that Brockley Market stallholders Mike and Ollie were hosting a series of dinners I knew it would make the perfect post marathon celebratory meal.
Being a pop up event, and never having eaten at their market stall, (marathon enforced diet that I intend to correct soon) I had no idea what to expect from the evening. All I had to go one was a list of tantalising ingredients that I received when booking the night.
The event was held in Mike's kitchen, which had been set up with two long tables to fit the twenty six diners that attended the evening. When we arrived the first table was already full of people sipping their blackberry bourbin and mint julips. We sat at the second table, quickly joined by some fellow diners.
The lethal julip was deliciously thick with blackberries. I enjoyed drinking it while being able to watch all the action in the kitchen. Every now and then Mike would open the oven to let out a dramatic busrt of steam, but I couldn't quite glimpse what was cooking inside and good manners prevented me from running over to take a peak!
And then Mike started doing something which looked rather odd. He was serving up direct onto a makeshift table he'd set up never to the kitchen worktop. Why isn't he putting the food onto plates? How is he going to get the food off the table and over to us?
Here comes the food!
Then suddenly the 'table' was lifted up into several planks which were rolled towards us. Here comes the food!
Our first course was free range suffolk pork belly with a poached plum. The pork belly might have been perfectly tender and the crackling wonderfully crisp, but the star of the dish - and the evening - for me was the wonderful poached plum. Cooked in red wine and spices it had a wonderfully succulent, slightly sharp and fruity flavour.
Homemade raw milk mozzarella
After the pork our serving plank cum trolley was taken away only to be returned to us with a homemade raw milk mozzarella with roasted beetroot and hierloom tomatoes.
I'd love to know how to make my own fresh cheese from raw milk and it was interesting to see Mike quickly submerge the mozzarella into hot water to give it the perfect texture and consistency before laying it on top of the roasted beetroots and hierloom tomatoes.
Home cured mackerel
Our third savoury course was the most awkward of the evening to eat. The home cured mackerel with a celeriac and apple slaw served with a shot aquavit was surprisingly delicious. The oily mackerel is one of my least favourite fish, but the cure had taken away all of the 'fishy' taste and left a really clean flavour.
The only downside was that the fish was a little difficult to skin and cut with the knives we were given which led most people round the table to tear the flesh into bite sized chunks.
I was a big fan of the celeriac and apple slaw that was served on the side.
Calamari with harissa aioli
Our final savoury course - replacing the game that was unavailable due to not enough shooting during the week - was calamari with a harissa aioli. The harissa aioli had a fiery kick to it and worked surprisingly well with the tender calamari cooked in a tempura batter.
Poached quince with vanila parfait
Dessert was poached quince, vanilla parfait, cobnut brittle and maple syrup served with sloe gin. I'm not sure if I've had poached quince before, it had a pear like texture with a more robust flaovur. The sloes, and I suspect a bit of sugar, had given the gin a rich and syrupy flavour.
Even though my belly was fully it had been such a fantastically high standard of food that I couldn't help but be a little disappointed when the evening was over. I wanted more!
All in all it was an excellent night. All of the food was cooked to an incredibly high standard and it was great to know that it had been sourced and foraged as locally as possible. There was a buzzing atmosphere in the room with only the odd silence as people devoured the delicious courses that were put in front of them. The homemade julip and sloe gin kept us all lubricated too.
I enjoyed it so much I've add Mike and Ollie to my Top Eats page.