Even at non-interior design food pop-ups, I can’t seem to get away from all things green and botanical at the moment. 2017, you’re really spoiling me as regards all things lush and hey, I’m not complaining. Mr M and I snuck off site the other week for a Friday night treat in West Didsbury at the latest Firebird Hope pop up, a collaboration with wine specialists Love & Labour. Twas a very posh pop up indeed as pop ups go, with FBH founders Dan & Emma utilising the gorgeous space only very recently (and sadly) vacated by local favourite The Rose Garden.
Fresh herbs, moss, nettles and wild flowers were in abundance, a beautifully natural way of softening this very architectural space. The place was buzzing, both floors full of guests and the friendly FBH team providing attentive service with lots of smiles. As is often the case at pop-ups, we were seated with a couple we’d never met before: Jane & Tony – locals, foodies and a good laugh – a bonus on all fronts.Tickets were £6 which included a cocktail. Considering that you’re stung for up to a tenner in most places for a cocktail now, the night already felt like a delicious bargain. FBH pride themselves on experimenting with botanicals and flavours and the two cocktails I had, a Blackthorn and a Limoncello, were delicious. The tiny edible decorations were a lovely touch but having two for my £6 cause Mr M doesn’t ‘do’ cocktails made me even happier ;-)My brain is often quite tired at the end of the week. Being faced with 87 starters all jostling for attention is a bit much in many larger restaurants when there’s Friday night brain fail so the FBH approach nailed it for me. Two choices, salmon or veggie Poke. Simple. Simple and very well executed.
Poke is a Hawaiian raw fish salad, packed full of flavour because meaty fish like salmon or tuna can take the punch. And punch it did, perfectly proportionately. Fresh & juicy salmon from Out Of The Blue, a touch of chilli heat, soy saltiness and just the right amount of rice to feel like a decent sized portion without being overwhelming.
Never made it at home before, will be giving it a go.
Yeh, yeh but what about the chicken?
If a pop-up prides itself on chick’n lick’n expertise then the main act better be smokin’. I was tempted to be a greedy cow and get the half chicken but reigned myself in (eyes n belly n all that) to just a quarter. Still massive. Mr M had the half and demolished it. Along with sides of the crunchiest potatoes, crisp courgette and emerald green chimichurri, our table suddenly fell quite quiet for at least 15 minutes. It was good. How-chicken-used-to-taste good, before supermarkets turned it into that cling filmed wrapped anaemic stuff which doesn’t taste like much of anything. That it most certainly wasn’t.
Firebird Hope’s ‘thing’ is using free range, slow grown birds, succulent and packed with flavour. Ticked a lot of my food boxes : simple ingredients, sourced locally, cooked extremely well and presented with panache.
The total bill was just over £40 I think, excluding the gorgeous red from Love & Labour who were on hand to give wine advice and service.
Great value, great food and really top people too. Thoroughly enjoyed it and watch out for the FBH team visiting Moregeous Mansions soon(ish) for a collaboration here…..
PS I’ve a post & pics coming up on the Love & Labour pop-up we ate at in May at North Tea Power and enjoyed just as much. They’ve more coming up on the 7th and 21st June, make sure you check them out, or better still book one!