A couple of weeks ago I was defending food in London to a couple of French people. They were insisting that there is nothing good about the London restaurant scene. If I had met them after this dinner, I would have pointed them this way.
Sabel Food’s pop up is a showcase of what is exciting about eating out in London. They served up a creative modern British menu with big bold flavours. The loft like venue has a casual vibe which is the perfect backdrop for them to show off their family style dishes.
This Sabel pop up is a new family enterprise by Toby who has most recently been travelling the world as the executive chef for the Mercedez AMG Petronas F1 team. His CV include stints at The Square and Kitchen W8 in London to Momofuko and Gramercy Tavern in New York. This pop up is a precursor to them opening a proper eaterie. On the night, it looked like all hands on deck with his wife front of house and his brother helping to serve.
The multi course menu kicks off with a white port cocktail, some lovely Hackney Wild bread with the most ethereal whipped butter. This was followed by a deluge of “snacks”; a plate of spicy radishes with a delicious cod roe dip and some deep fried lamb scrumpets. It might be described as Modern British food, but it has hints of influence that Toby has garnered from his travels around the world. His training might have been in fine dining restaurants but the food he serves up here is more approachable, family style.
Swiftly following was an enormous plate Cornish sardines with fennel and bottarga. The portions are enormous. To balance out the menu, they served a large bowl of tomato and herb salad alongside. A plate of home cured native breed pork collar with some pickled pear is delivered at the same time. The senses are becoming overwhelmed by so many different flavours and textures. Everything on the menu is well thought out and well executed. Totally awed by the preparation that must have gone into executing menu.
The service was smooth and friendly with Toby’s family and friends on hand to help out. With the meal, you are served a choice of wines of soft drinks.
That was the end of stunning starters and the main course that was to come was the showpiece of the night. A large platter of creamy, buttery smoked mash is topped with an unctuous mound of braised beef cheek with girolles and samsons. The meat, slow cooked for several hours was meltingly soft bathed in a rich, reduced sauce. That mash, half butter, half potato made a grown man cry.
There was a lot of food and unfortunately, our end of the table could not do justice to that big platter of meat and mash as we had overstuffed ourselves with the fab starters.
After a short interlude, a flawless custard tart with berries was delivered for pudding. It would have been rude not to try this. Thin, light pastry and a custard filling with a slight wobble. It was so good that it was not a hardship finishing off my slice.
These guys at Sabel Food can seriously cook. You can see evidence of the world travels in aspects of the dishes. I like that they didn’t try overly hard in producing something fusion with too much of a wow factor. They just executed some great dishes really well.
If this is the quality of food that they will be serving, I can’t wait for the restaurant to open. Do try and catch with pop up this summer. You will have the most fab gourmet experience. You can check out the dates that the Sabel Food Pop Up is next up for booking on their website. Tickets are £35 each. Details on how to book is on there too.
EatCookExplore was a guest of Sabel Food