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Sunday, February 19, 2012

Go Young Turks!

"Pheasant and Pine Salt" (buttermilk pheasant nuggets)
Hendricks Gin and beetroot juice
Pig's blood cracker, pear and lardo
Smoked cod's roe with bread
January King cabbage, seaweed and mussels
Mutton Faggot, neeps and barley malt
Old Spot chop, chicory and anchovy
Spareribs of Old Spot chop served not the side
Rhubarb, chervil and buttermilk with crumble
Milk ice, pear and crispy coffee
Isaac McHale, one of the two Young Turks, in the tiny kitchen
LOCATION: Young Turks pop-up restaurant at The Ten Bells pub, 84 Commercial Street, Spitalfields, London
CATEGORY: Modern British, pop-up
DRINK: Hendricks Gin and beetroot cocktail
Mosse Anjou Blanc 2010, Agnes and Rene Mosse, Loire
Nedjma 2009, Gilles Azzoni, Saint-Maurice-d'Ibie
Saint Romain 2009, Mark Haisma, Burgundy
Belloti Rosso 2010, Cascina Degli Ulivi, Piedmont
WE THINK: We had quite an occasion to celebrate (congratulations, Kiyo!) and decided to throw a party at the Young Turks' pop-up restaurant in Jack The Ripper's favorite spot, The Ten Bells pub. We got a private dining room on the 2nd floor for the evening, which meant that we missed the cozy buzz of the 1st floor, but could be as rowdy as we wanted to. Since our first encounter with the Young Turks last year, when they cooked with the Clove Club (see here), the hype around this venture by James Lowe and Isaac McHale seems to have increased exponentially so that their short residency at The Ten Bells was extended by several months (lucky for us as it meant we could get a reservation). It was therefore with great anticipation that we descended upon the Ten Bells this evening. And the food was...pretty good. Not "fantastic". Not "meh". But somewhere in between: nice? Maybe it was the size of our party--relegated to the private dining room upstairs; maybe it was the heavy, and somewhat bland, Burns Night-inspired menu; maybe the Young Turks just had a bad day? Whatever it was, it didn't matter too much as there were enough delicious bites to warrant a second visit a week later. Favourites this night were the delicious pig's blood cracker, the crispy coffee dessert and our incredible beetroot gin cocktail!
So...a week later we were back again! This time in the normal dining room at a dangerously wobbly Victorian-era table. This was during a 5-day residency of Canadian chef (formerly of Noma and Momofuku), Daniel Burns, who was responsible for part of the menu. A much better version of Burns Night, we think! The food was really, really delicious this time! Favourite dishes included all the starters but in particular a beautiful dish of duck heart and celeriac and another tasty concoction with mussels, lovage and potato. We also loved a main course of blood cake with onion and baked pear and a very fresh and zingy beetroot and rhubarb dessert. And the wines this evening...we had the same as the first visit (listed above) plus a whole lot of other delicious wines, till way past closing (the Young Turks can drink!). Followed by a bad hangover the next day. 

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