Alexandra Kalinowski checks out the latest pop-up at Borough Wines & Beer’s Brewery Below: Chef Michael Thompson’s Fodder.
If you’re like me and find yourself channelling your inner child in a candy store upon entering a wine shop, Borough Wines & Beers won’t disappoint. After shaking off the rain droplets and calming my breath post my mad dash into their Islington shop, I warmed in the rather intimate store. Perusing the shelves lined with British red and whites, I indulged my current natural wine obsession whose flavour ever evolves once the cork has been unscrewed. I’d describe it as a luxurious walk-in closet, which simply adds to the charm and intrigue of what lies below …
In the belly of the wine shop is Brewery Below, a nano-brewery and event space. Its most recent and third ‘tenant’ is Michael Thompson, former chef of Fera @ Claridge’s with his first solo concept: a three-night pop-up. ‘Fodder,’ aptly named for his use of seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, combines familiar yet intriguing flavours in a nine-course degustation. Highlights from the menu are most definitely the squid ink cracker with mackerel alongside the crab, elderflower and torched tomato (what can I say, I’m a sucker for fish), but just as promising is the confit pork belly, watercress & fermented cabbage.
Each course is prepared before your eyes in what’s advertised as an open kitchen. Unglamorously speaking it’s literally a counter with a bit of kitchen equipment running along in the background. And it’s perfect. The unpretentious atmosphere mixed with fine dining and well-sourced ingredients from The Food Assembly and The Clay Collective make for a comforting and delicious evening. Even more enjoyable is Michael’s friendly and open attitude as he explains the thought behind each dish, allowing you to explore the flavours he’s carefully pieced together. It’s fascinating what he’s able to create within the space and the pressure of all eyes, and well, palates on him.
The pop-up runs from 7:30pm on 15th, 16th and 17th June. Tickets start at £45 but you’ll want to add a wine or beer flight for the full sensory experience.
‘Fodder’ at Brewery Below is located at 344 Essex Road, N1 3PD. Tickets can be found at boroughwines.co.uk/15-17-06-michael-thompson-presents-fodder.