Well it looks like the howling gales and driving rain of the past months are showing no sign of letting up, so we’d better find some nice places to hibernate until spring comes.
And I can’t think of a more suitable way to shelter from the mid-Atlantic storms bashing the city than with a seafood-themed popup from the same team that brought us the fantastic lumberjack bar – Skylodge – before Christmas.
This time the Platterform collective has magicked the London Fields rooftop into a barnacle-clad ship, decked out with rigging, compasses and salty little sea shacks. Lasting 15 weeks, the Sea Adventure Series will see a series of guest chefs taking up residency to dish up a succession of sensational fish suppers.
Taking the helm for the Maiden Voyage section of the programme are in-house chefs Michele Sweetman and Leona Williams. The inspiration for their menu is the NorthWest Passage – the Arctic waterways that connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans – playing on Dutch, Scandinavian and British palates.
We kicked off with a magnificent little bowl of smoked haddock chowder with juicy little nuggets of sweetcorn and some lovely savoury scone-like ships biscuits. It was hot and hearty and fully delicious.
Next we walked the plank. Or ate the plank. A plank of dark rye bread that is, with fat pink curls of honey-pickled Scottish salmon, crunchy beetroot salad and sweet little gherkins. It looked beautiful, the fish tasted as fresh as if it had just jumped from the water and onto plate and it tasted all kinds of lovely.
It’s a four-course set menu including drinks and portions are decent without being overbearing – which is lucky, because next comes the Lekkerbek. Or Dutch fish and chips to me and you – with a remoulade sauce made from mayonnaise, sage, tarragon. The little bowl of emerald petit pois with onion and sage was a lovely play on mushy peas. The batter was delicate – not overwhelming the tender flaky fish as it often can. Pudding was a delicious creamy key limey pie.
If that’s not enough to tickle your kipper, the cocktails coming out of the Shanty Shack will certainly put hairs on your chest. We tried the Zissou Sour – a fiery little concoction of egg whites and mezcal and there are plenty of others to stick your oar in.
The next chapter in this seafood adventure is Maid in the Mist, with Dave Yorkston of Yorkston Smokehouse setting up his own cold smoking house up on the rooftop. His fare is reportedly so good he sells it to his own fishmonger, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
If the Sea Adventure Series is anything like as popular as Skylodge you better fix up look sharp and get yourselves some tickets. Walk-ins also welcome to pitch up and hang out at the bar with drink and snacks.