Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘pop up restaurant’

Alexis and Kristjan know how to feed a crowd. Testament to that is the speed at which you now have to book your place for the Mi Casa pop up restaurant. Missing out on a place at the first of the Mi Casa pop up nights at the Big Chill bar, we managed to bag one at the second sitting on 2nd June. 

The small room upstairs at the Big Chill bar, with its beautifully ornate ceiling and tongue in cheek wall hangings, was a world away from the previous venue* at the Benjamin Perry Boathouse (not least because Alexis had a full kitchen to work in!).

A tight squeeze forced you to become familiar with your neighbours, lovely they were too, but on the day of a heat wave in Bristol, was a little too stifling and uncomfortable. On another day, the venue would certainly have been more charming.

Mi Casa is a communal dining experience. Diners sit in rows on long tables and food is served on boards and platters to share. It’s all about interaction – with the food and with your neighbours. It’s conversation, it’s discovery, it’s family-style dining on a large scale. Above all it’s ‘fine’ dining. Not in the sense of white tablecloths, waiters in tuxedos, small portions and hefty prices but fine in the sense of skilled and high quality.

A foraging trip for Kristjan and his son led to the loose theme of the menu and the Dirty Old Town artwork up for auction (sadly the artists had created the artwork at the previous session and we were unable to see them at work). ‘Where the wild things are’ served up wild fennel, elderflower and sea beet among the plethora of delightful dishes.

Just as at previous Mi Casa evenings we’ve attended, the memorable food kept on coming. One thing’s for certain, you’ll never go home hungry!

Herby wild fennel cakes with sauce vierge were followed by Somerset asparagus with slivers of Manchego and an amazing macarona almond and sherry vinegar puree before we received plates of sea trout delicately cured with elderflower.

We moved on to morcilla (Spanish black pudding) with perfectly cooked scallops, broad beans and sea beet before being treated to grilled quail, rose petals and pistachios (you needed your fingers for this one) served with lemon and mint Jersey Royals.

As if that wasn’t enough, the meal was rounded off with two desserts; English strawberries with mint sugar and a rich chocolate pudding which came with unusual accompaniments of olive oil, sea salt shortbread and peanut brittle.

Simply stunning. We can’t wait for the next event. If the rumours are true, it will prove to be their most adventurous and exciting yet. Can I book my place now?!

*The Mi Casa hosts are always on the look out for new and dramatic venues suitable for a communal dining experience – any ideas, please get in touch with them.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

I’m still buzzing from last night’s Mi Casa dinner. I was very excited to be heading there for the second event after the roaring success of the first, though I have to admit to feeling slightly nervous that it wasn’t going to live up to the experience we’d had on the first occasion. I needn’t have been.

I’m in awe of Kristjan, Alexis and the team behind Mi Casa. The dedication, hard work and passion they put into running the restaurant for the evening is incredible and they make it look so easy and effortless. A completely calm exterior may have been hiding a lot but it led to everyone feeling at ease, welcomed, and ultimately what I’m sure they wanted to achieve, at home.

Last night’s food followed a Moorish theme – Spanish with a North African twist – not dissimilar to one of my favourite London restaurants, Moro. It was exquisite. I’m going to simply let the photos do the talking.   

   

                         

                             

Is it out of the realm of possibility that pop up restaurants could be awarded Michelin stars? In what could be the new ‘pop up restaurant’ category, if they haven’t been met already, Mi Casa is definitely not far off meeting the five criteria considered in awarding stars: quality of ingredients, skill in preparing them and combining flavours, level of creativity, consistency of culinary standards and value for money.

Read Full Post »

November has been a month of two foodie firsts for us. Our first underground supper club experience a couple of weekends ago and, last night, our first dinner at a pop up restaurant.

The pop up phenomenon hit London some time ago and has been going strong with restaurants appearing for one night only on barges, in warehouses and disused buildings. You name it, someone is sure to have the skills, the foresight and the contacts to be able to turn it into a chic and exclusive dining venue.

Last night was, as far as we’re aware, the first pop up to hit Bristol. Our chef for the evening was Alexis, by day a chef at Papadeli, and front of house was run by Kristjan, formerly manager of the Riverstation and now teacher at the Bordeaux Quay cookery school. The surprising venue was a scout hut on the waterside, the Benjamin Perry Boathouse at Phoenix Wharf, where we joined around 40 other guests for a Spanish-themed meal.

The team of three girls in the kitchen and two guys front of house must have been working like trojans to pull off the meal and service with such high quality and class. Hampered by traffic delays because of the bad weather and starting late, you’d have never have known they were so far behind schedule getting ready for service.

As guests arrived, the buzz in the room grew louder and the Spanish guitarist began to play and sing. The atmosphere was in warm contrast to the freezing weather outside.

The dining experience was communal – we were sat on long tables and the food arrived on boards and in large bowls to be passed around and shared, with neighbours helping to serve each other.

Our four course meal consisted:

  • Tapa of aubergine caviar with flatbread, piquillo peppers stuffed with goats cheese and pine nuts, braised squid with potato
  • Cocido of chicken, beef and chorizo with a romesco sauce, chick peas, savoy cabbage and butternut squash, fennel and orange salad
  • Seville orange cake with Pedro Ximenez soaked raisins and cream
  • Manchego and membrillo

The aubergine was heady with garlic and silky smooth, the sweet Spanish peppers, which are charred over wood and peeled by hand, were delicious with the tangy goats cheese and the squid, which had been braising for hours, was deliciously tender and fragrant with orange.

Cocido is a national Spanish dish with many regional variations. It is a rustic stew with a light stock, simmered for a long time until the meat falls off the bones. This version happily transported me back to my time living in Northern Spain.

                               

The cake was moist and topped with caramelised Seville orange zest and the plump raisins were bursting with sherry as you bit into them. The cheese and quince jelly were the perfect end to this sumptuous Latino banquet.

The evening drew to a close with guests writing comments and leaving contact details for the hosts on a large makeshift board with a view to being invited to the next Bristol pop up in the, hopefully, not too distant future.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: