To eat the most exciting food at the best prices, sometimes a little tramping of the streets is required, down cobbled streets and through industrial archways. Thus we found ourselves in East London, on the hunt for a Marmot hidden behind a man with a clipboard under a violet street light. We knew it would be worth the trip after visiting their Leeds pop up and took along some friends for the tastebud ride. As you can see from the menu below, which we didn’t see ’til we arrived #topsecret, there were some unusual combinations and ingredients I hadn’t ever heard of before – tosaka anyone? That’s what I love about pop-ups, sheer indulgence and mostly for an excellent price, in this case under £50 for six courses. A treat yes, but one guaranteed to get you talking, get you inspired and get you taking a risk with your cooking!
The first course was delicious, balanced and moreish, full of umami and richness. I love shitake mushrooms at the best of times but these packed a punch. One of the guests commented that he was particularly fond of powerful nuts. No answer to that really is there.Next up was a lighter dish, tempura whitebait with the tosaka, or seaweed to you and me. Quite delicious and most of us wanted at least another couple of whitebait to do the seaweed justice. Team Marmot had prepared two different wine flights, plus arranged cocktails and beers all complimentary in flavour to the courses. I stuck to gin and damn fine they were too, the rest of the table waxed lyrical about the wine choices.
Pretty much my favourite dish of the night was the smoked ahi tuna which had been smoked that afternoon using a home smoking gun used with a foil sealed pan. It was utterly delicious with the kimchi tapioca pudding – check out this Independent article on the rise & rise of Korean ingredients. Coupled with the sweet earthiness of the yellow beet, it was a winner. At least two blokes near us were heard to be putting in their Santa’s list order for smoking guns.
A wee foodie debate then ensued about the next course, a delicate poached cod with liquorice soil topping, which I’d have put before the tuna because it somehow felt a little weak in comparison. Of course it wasn’t actually weak at all but my tastebuds were blown away by the tuna. Loved the soil which you apparently make from liquorice and cocoa beans, amongst other top secret things, stunning.Now then. The main course. What a challenging dish. Seared venison – delicious & perfectly cooked. Caramelised yoghurt, tangily sweet but not overpowering, but then blackberry, peanut, stem ginger AND cocoa nib crumble. I liked it, I ate it, but I’m still getting my head round it and that’s what’s so great about these type of events. You eat dishes you wouldn’t ordinarily order, try things out of your comfort zone. I can still recall all the flavours five days later and that’s kinda the point isn’t it.
I battled my way through two puddings, helping Mr M as usual, not difficult with pecan crumble and sweet potato ice-cream 😉 Interesting how three events we’ve been to this Autumn have featured veg type puddings, not bad thing, just an observation. As you can see below, we were all Very Happy People. Thanks to Mike & Em, Rob & Anita for your lovely company.The service was top rate, the flow and organisation of food and delivery spot on, not easy from a temporary kitchen in a space which isn’t normally a restaurant. Theo and Danielle, the hosts, are friendly, knowledgeable and unflappable which has the result of it seeming like even the staff are having fun. The artwork was very L.A., maybe inspired by guest Chef Laurent Quenioux, who specialised in French Nouvelle Californian cuisine and who Team CM had come across whilst across the pond and collaborated with for this event.
Thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to fellow food lovers – check them out on Twitter and watch out for further events. Maybe even in Manchester….
You’d think we’d be still full the next day but oh no, like the great fatties we are, we set off on a breakfast mission to The Breakfast Club in Shoreditch first thing the following morning. My excuse is that big meals the night before stretch your stomach, don’t they?! Oh, those fried potatoes with dippy poached eggs, worth seeking out if you’re down that way x