Fusion Seafood Art by Andy Freedman
The rain beat down hard on the window and I watched as pedestrians dashed past Café Rust, in search of shelter. A tremendous downpour had occurred just as I’d arrived at the café for this evening’s pop-up dining event – ‘Seafood Special – Fusion Seafood Art’ by Andy Freedman.
It was an event I’d been looking forward to for weeks, being that I love seafood, and because just looking at the menu, even before sampling, I felt convinced it was going to be a treat.
Café Rust is an understated venue with a whole new personality by night. The walls are mostly bare, with the odd dried flower and rusty object placed without symmetry or organisation. This evening, twinkling fairy lights hung from the windows adding a warmth and cosiness to the minimalist interior, which would have felt cold without. Chunky candelabras were placed on the larger tables, alongside silver tin cans with a hand-written menu tucked inside. Just one thing was lacking – a little music to create a more welcoming ambience for the night.
The first course, a Home Cured Salmon Gravadlax with Horseradish Celeriac, Tapioca Caviar and Toasted Rye Bread turned out to be a huge surprise. Ordinarily I wouldn’t touch raw fish, especially not salmon, but this gravadlax had me hooked. The salmon cured in salt, sugar and dill had the most wonderful delicate infusions of flavour and came beautifully presented, criss-cross, on a clamshell and garnished with an edible purple pansy. There wasn’t a morsel left on my plate after this course.
The second dish was Chilli and Garlic Salt Squid infused with Sesame. I found it a little over-salted and a tad chewy, but I still scoffed it down. Again the plating up was beautiful, with what I guessed to be squid ink smeared beneath the two battered squid portions.
The third course of Devon Crab and Crayfish Gratin was indulgently cheesy with a subtle hint of lemon through it. Full of flavour, again the dish was devoured.
The fourth course was my favourite – tied with dessert, although not without room for a little improvement. The dish was Foil Baked Cod with Clams, Mussels and Chorizo with Potato Dauphinoise and a Lemon, Oregano and Fennel Salad. The cod, clams, mussels and chorizo complemented each other, but the potato dauphinoise was a little firmer than I would serve and although a perfectly formed stack, it would have been tastier (and naughtier) with a little more cream oozing from it.
The fifth and final dish was the sweet. A creamy, Lemon Posset with an Oat Crunch and Candied Lemon Twist and topped with another edible purple and white pansy. A perfect balance of tart and sweet and almost too beautiful to eat… almost!
RATING: Must Go | Worth a Try | Give it a Miss
PRICE: £30pp (without drinks)
Despite a few small things, each course wowed not only my taste buds by my eyes. I also consider it extremely good value for the price per head. The stand out for me was the dessert with not one fault to call. I would definitely book again and encourage my seafood-loving friends to give one of Andy’s regular pop-up evenings a go too. In summary, a promising young chef and one to watch this year!
NEED TO KNOW:
Andy’s next 5-course seafood event is on Saturday 5th March at 8pm and costs £30pp (not including drinks). To review the menu and book visit the link here and book through Tabl.com.
*Disclaimer: I was invited to review by Tabl, but as always, my opinion isn’t swayed by freebies and you are getting my honest opinion on the whole experience.