Shacklewell Spice: Barry’s Pop-Up Barbados

From the meat sword of Grisly Big Chef:

Meat Club Visit Barry’s Pop-Up Barbados
or We Came, We Saw, We Left Again, None The Wiser

A crazy, brilliant evening with some highs and some lows but never a dull moment, notable for being the furthest east that some of our company had ever ventured (at least in a geographical, rather than a culinary sense).

We got off to a flying start at our rendezvous – The Shacklewell Arms. If you are ever in Dalston, it’s a gem of a pub, unapologetically shabby without the veneer of chic that despoils so many old pubs. It has a very good selection of beers that they allow you to try before buying and on the night they seemed to be serving some pretty amazing burgers, special enough to merit a return visit at some point.

The great pub was merely an amuse-bouche though – a boozy appetiser before the main course just five minutes down the road at Barry’s Pop-Up Barbados.

I approached Barry’s house with anticipation but also a degree of trepidation – It’s a very different experience dining in somebody’s front room compared to a restaurant it’s somehow more raw – there’s more at stake and absolutely nowhere for anyone to physically or metaphorically hide if it doesn’t work out. It was also the first time that Meat Club explored West Indian food.

Barry greeted us warmly at the door and showed us in to the front room now converted into main dining area. So-far-so-good.

As the name of his venture implies, Barry is from Barbados. Like many island communities Barbadian cuisine usually includes a lot of seafood but Barry also creates menus from game and various farmed meats. He describes his style of cooking as “a fusion of culture and food from throughout the Caribbean and South America” and the menu he had proposed looked like it would deliver just that:

The Menu

To Start

Pickled Ginger Pig w Organic Date Crackers

Fried Fois Gras Sprinkled w Cinnamon Chopped Figs & Papaya served with Blue Maize Chips

35 Day Aged Beef Fillet Ceviche w Fennel Crackers

To Follow

Venison Slow Cooked in a Stew of Figs, Blue Berries, Exotic Herbs & Spices serve w Sour Dough Bread

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Lamb Chops w lambs Lettuce & Chard Salad

Carib Style Goat Stew with Coconut Rice & Peas

To Finish

All Chocolate Cake with Passion Fruit & Papaya Cream

It was a big menu and in retrospect it was probably too ambitious to pull off entirely satisfactorily, particularly as Barry informed us when we arrived that he had just moved house, wasn’t in his usual kitchen and had most of his equipment in storage. In spite of these setbacks he made a valiant effort.

Being comparative virgins to Caribbean cooking, none of us were entirely ready for the heat or the complexity of the spicing of almost every dish. After the initial shock it was a revelation. Not the big chilli hit of some Indian or South East Asian cooking, that tends to numb the taste buds, instead it was more nuanced, evolving with each mouthful, scotch bonnet piquancy against a backdrop of allspice, pepper and clove, fresh and rich all at the same time.

This was a good meal – perhaps not great but with some real high-points, just not any that we could all reach consensus on – which is unusual. Some people liked the pickled pork others preferred the ceviche of beef. The two stews – venison and goat, were virtually indistinguishable but both nice. The lamb chops with lambs lettuce was a welcome respite between the heat and spice. The sourdough was amazing but not made by Barry and neither were the ubiquitous crackers that came with almost every dish – I doubt either grace many tables in Barbados but in hindsight it didn’t really matter.

The chocolate cake with papaya and passion fruit cream was delicious and a great, clean, end to the meal.

Barry is a genial host and an inventive chef, his food is a mix of the recipes he grew up with and the dishes he’s subsequently invented and reinvented here. On the night it was as much sorcerers apprentice as sorcerer but that can probably be attributed to bad timing and a difficult brief. It was a sometimes intriguing, sometimes delicious, definitely memorable evening though that may or may not have been an excellent introduction to Barbadian cuisine.

Big Chef

2013: We’ll feast again

A year we went that little further West for a continued feast of flesh finery.

January
The Fox and Anchor, Smithfields EC1M (Breakfast)

February
Magdallen, Tooley Street SE1

March
Lord Nelson, Union Street SE1 (Fleshmob)

April
Between courses

May
Al Dar, Edgeware Road W2
Maxela, Old Brompton Road SW7

June
Dined delight

July
The Blues Kitchen, Camden High Street, NW1

August
Digestion relaxation

September
Princess Victoria, Uxbridge Road W12

October
Smoke House, Canonbury Road N1

November
Appetite advance

December
Bar Boulud, Kinghtsbridge, SW1X

The Fox and Anchor: An early tasty bird

Q. What do you get if you cross a London Tavern, Polish chorizo made in Ireland, several of the sturdiest members of Meat Club and a gut-busting breakfast?

A. This morning’s cross-cultural-meaty-mash-up at the Fox and Anchor.

President Schnabel’s inaugural meat-meet took the form of an extremely competent breakfast at the aforementioned public house.

The 7.45am start proved too great a hurdle for some of our less ardent brethren and there was the inevitable flurry of last-minute apology-texts citing ailments from the norro virus to gender reassignment. However those hardy enough to brave last nights drunks and the perishing weather were rewarded with a pre-breakfast trip around Smithfield Meat Market (hence the mongrel chorizo acquisition) followed by a smashing fry-up.

The Fox and Anchor is a fabulous venue for lunch or dinner but it really comes into it’s own in the morning. As everyone who has succumbed knows – there is something anarchically hedonistic about a pint before work particularly when accompanied by a fine fried breakfast.

The breakfast in question did not disappoint although it was about as English an affair, as President Schnabel’s chorizo is Spanish. On our plates were a brace of poached eggs (well it is January), a fine pork and savory sausage, white pudding, black pudding, liver, kidney and a small sirloin. This cornucopia of flesh and offal was accompanied by a vegetarian garnish consisting of a grilled tomato, baked beans, two hash browns, fried bread and a mushroom.

The meat was fantastic, the sirloin and liver were meltingly tender and only the kidney was slightly ‘over’, eggs were good and you can’t really go wrong with white and black pudding. Even the Anglo-American garnish was consumed with relish; everything helped on the way to its gastric resting place by pints of ……………….. and pots of Earl Grey.

As our company settled into a state of post-repast reflection, debating topics including ‘the evil that is email’, ‘the relative merits of fad diets’ and ‘which of us is sporting the finest facial hair’, we were united in the knowledge that we had braved the elements and the wrath of colleagues for a good cause – a sterling breakfast and the maiden voyage of the Captain Schnabel’s good ship Meat Club 2013.

Meatclub Cannt Festival

‘Meat and mates’ a more truthful description of what Meatclub represents; a small detail I was happily reminded of by former President ‘Gor today. But today was about opening the doors a little, for the first (and perhaps only) time in our ten years, to a breakfast at Hawksmoor, Guildhall with some of our members and ten student/graduate winners of our competition set in collaboration with the Cannt Festival 2012.

Having being inundated with entries from all over the UK (and the world) we chose our ten who responded to the brief. The winners work is here: (in alphabetical order)

Alice & Ellen – The Meat Bow Tie
www.aliceandellen.com
https://vimeo.com/44061894
Alice Ratcliffe (alice.ratcliffe@hotmail.co.uk)
Ellen Svenningsen (ey_ellen@hotmail.com)

Hannah Catchlove
hannahcatchlove@hotmail.co.uk
be.net/catchlovecre8




Janelle & Johnny – The Art of Meatistry
www.cargocollective.com/singafornia
www.cargocollective.com/itstartedwithapencil



Matthew Thompson – Ode to Meat
mt.thompson90@gmail.com


Rose Tuffney – 10th year anniversary
tuffrose@me.com
roseelizabetht.tumblr.com



Soofiya Chaudry – The Vegetarian(!)
soofiyachaudry@gmail.com
cargocollective.com/soofiya
soofiyachaudry.blogspot.com



Tom Evans – Ode to Meat (illustration)
etomevans@gmail.com



Ty Stanton-Jones – Ode to Meat
tystantonjones@gmail.com
www.tystantonjones.co.uk
www.tystantonjones.tumblr.com



Our thanks to the Meatclub members who took time out of their incredibly busy schedules and to Hawksmoor, Guildhall who were (as ever) brilliantly attentive and suppliers of fine Beef Tea followed by a magnificent full english and polished off with homemade jam doughnuts.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is some of the awesome food enjoyed at Hawksmoor today:













Meatclubs announces Cannt Festival 2012 breakfast winners

We were really very honoured to have received so many entries for our special Cannt Festival 2012 Meat Greet Eat Breakfast. Some fine talent from across the globe (seriously!), along with some unusual ones too (you know who you are.)

However after four pots of beef tea, a huge breakfast and much debate we have chosen our ten winners. They are:

Winners (in no particular order)
Tom Evans for his Illustration
Alice and Ellen for their Bow Tie
Hannah Catchlove for her Plates
Janelle & Johnny for their Hand
Matthew Thompson for his Ode to Meat
Soofiya Chaudry for her Vegetarian attempt
Rose Tuffney for her Logo
Ty Stanton-Jones for his Ode to Meat

You will be joining this array of legendary talent around the Hawksmoor, Guildhall breakfast table next Wednesday:

Meatclub Elders
Marcus Hoggarth – Design Director of Native
Simon Gill – Executive Creative Director at LBi
Massimo Pini – Co-founder Netro42 and NEWCARNET
Davide Quayola – Artist
Chris Dumont – brand & packaging design consultant
Graham Wood – Head of Art, JWT
Tony Davidson – Global Partner & Executive Creative Director at Wieden & Kennedy
Simon Waterfall – Creative Director, Fray & Board of Trusties at The Design Council
Steve Price – Founder/Creative Director at Plan-B Studio
Angus Montgomery – Editor at Design Week

A winner for the logo and Ode to Meat will be announced on the day.

We need your email addresses and also if any of you really are vegetarian(!), or has dietary requirements can you please email LilChef: steve@plan-bstudio.com

Bloody well done (or blue). See you lucky lot on Wednesday morning at 08:30am, full details to be emailed.

Meatclubs Special Cannt festival breakfast

Here is a lovely poster to feast your eyes on:

‘Gor’s Breakfast

Breakfast
12oz Kobe Bavette
Today’s breakfast was this rather wonderful 12oz Kobe Bavette. (And, you know, some eggs.) The Japanese don’t export Kobe/Wagyu higher than grade 5, so they just make their own in Idaho. I think this was a grade 7. Kind of a protein onslaught but the Gor-metabolism is well primed and ready to handle this kind of thing.

Meat, Greet, Eat

For those who can’t go to Canne there’s Cannt, a brilliant, week-long design fest for those staying put in London. (www.cannt.org) co-founded by Ex-Presidenté Gilly and Laura JB.

This year Meatclub has been invited to take part and we thought we’d host a breakfast. A special breakfast where we invite ten budding new talents (students or graduates) to win a place at the breakfast table with the Elders.

But there’s a competition to win your seat. We’ve written a brief and everything! Successful entrants will be given a choice of briefs to answer:

1. Ode to Meat
Take our Ode to Meat and do what you like with it; re-write it, make it in to something, illustrate it, whatever.

and/or

2. Design our 10th year anniversary badge.
To commemorate our tenth anniversary you can design the badge to adorn our Meat Jackets. This can be any kind of badge. The more meaty, interesting and strange, the better.

Important dates:
Deadline for submissions: 18:00, Wednesday 13th June
Winners announcement: 5pm, Friday 15th June
Breakfast: 08:30, Wednesday 20th June

The Brief: Meat, Greet, Eat: Meatclub Cannt Festival Breakfast

It’s Nice That



That’s a nice little post on the It’s Nice That blog. Per Johansen, gluttony and art.

Meat People

29th Feb 2012

A fabulous little establishment in the crux of Essex Road and Upper Street in Islington (in the old S&M place), tastefully decked-out in an eclectic mix of pie & mash tiles, cafe stainless steel, Scandinavian panelling and 60s print wallpaper. Not as busy as it should have been upon our arrival, it instantly became quite crowded as we elbowed ourselves into occupying a full half of the restaurant. I’d speculate that the lack of patronage may be due to the chef’s almost ruinous distain for salt, perhaps that the food was not salty enough, or it could be that almost every dish needed a little more salt. I know that sodium chloride is the current pariah of dietary health but when one is indulging in already cardiac-arresting red meats and saturated fats one might, at least, enjoy them.

Otherwise, they did us proud with the menu: a smorgasbord of meatiness veering between guaranteed favourites and slightly off-piste I-ought-to-order-that-more-oftens; the staff were delightful and didn’t seem to tire of being so, even after our 20th bottle of wine; the sweetbreads* and springbok were spectacular; and the prices very reasonable.

All in all good, but use the salt shaker.

Meat People, 4-6 Essex Road, London N1 8LN
020 7359 5361
www.meatpeople.co.uk

An aside note to the proprietors: Your site lists your phone number as “0207″ 359 5361. This is a one of those bugbears that drives me to disproportionate apoplexy. The “7″ is part of the phone number and not the area code – if one wants to call the restaurant from within London, one would need to dial 7359 5361 not 359 5361… And it’s not just you, it’s bloody everywhere. I can’t understand how a first-world educated population of such a broad cosmopolitan city can demonstrate such obtuse parochiality. Also, with an indifference to modern navigation, you don’t have your postal code on your website. You instead refer to “… just off Islington green”. With a lower case “G”.

* And – before I get off my horse – “sweetbreads” is one word, not two. I was expecting fried brioche…

Tig x

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