20 August 2014

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Top pop-ups to try in July


Keep an eye on Square Meal’s pop-up restaurants page for the latest blink-and-you’ll-miss-them pop-ups, underground restaurants, chef residencies and quirky one-off food events happening in and around the capital.

Hidden Folk at Fika (from 26th June until October)

Scandinavian bar and kitchen Fika is falling down the Nordic rabbithole this month, landing in the world of the mysterious Huldufolk or 'Hidden Folk'. Part of the folklore of Scandinavia,Fika Hidden Folk dill cocktail 2014 - Fika_dill_cocktail_2014_WEB.jpg the fabled creatures will be celebrated via a temporary redecoration (the Brick Lane eatery will be dressed to resemble a forest complete with a troll grotto) and a new menu. Reportedly designed 'to trick and tease', the food will be laced with the unexpected, be that purple carrots, black truffle potatoes and elk burgers, or one of a range of forest-themed cocktails with birch, wood smoke or dill (pictured right). Dreamy artwork by Parisian illustrator Emma Farrarons will set the other-worldy tone, meaning Hidden Folk is set to be a full sensory experience.

Mele e Pere at The Sun & 13 Cantons pub

Mele e Pere’s head chef Andrea Mantovani has put together a menu of pub food with an Italian twist, to be served at nearby Soho boozer The Sun & 13 Cantons. Main dishes will start at £7 and include an olive focaccia sandwich with buffalo mozzarella, rocket and an aubergine relish, and a Barolo burger that is braised in red wine and topped with pancetta and Asiago cheese. There will also be Italian-themed bar snacks, such as cured ham with fried gnocchi and braised lamb meatballs, both £3. The menu is available until 2 August, serving weekday lunches and dinner from 5.30, Monday to Saturday.

Fountain Court Champagne Bar at Middle Temple Hall (every Friday in July and Thursday 31st)

If you desire a secluded alfresco spot for a Friday fizz fix, seek out Middle Temple Hall's new Champagne bar within Fountain Court. One of London's four Inns of Court, the hall respresents over 400 years of history -the first ever recorded performance of Twelfth Night took place here in 1602. The bar offers Lanson and Ayala as well as wines, beers and nibbles. Bottles pop from 5-9.30pm but be sure to arrive early if you prefer a seat with your Champers. 

Quinto/Quarto (ongoing)

Italian chef Adalberto Battaglia or Adha, for short, (aka 'The King of Gnocchi', according to those who have been lucky enough to sample his cooking at his food stalls in Brick Lane) is the mastermind behind Roman-style pop-up trattoria Quinto/Quarto, which specialises in nose-to-tail eating, much like our very own St John but with an Italian slant. Adha will be setting up at Cantinetta in Putney, where you can expect a choice between two menus, both featuring his famous homemade gnocchi. Don't forget to bring your own booze.

Death by Burrito (ongoing)

Death by Burrito used to be housed in Shoreditch’s Catch, but the Mexican pop-up has shifted south of the river to take up residency in Battersea’s Candlemaker pub. Expect the same big bites, tacos and eponymous 'deadly' burritos, as well as Sunday specials the likes of flat iron chicken and chipotle baby back ribs – that sure beats a Sunday roast.

Tongue ‘n Cheek at The Joker (until September 2014)

In residency at The Joker of Penton Street you’ll find Tongue ‘n Cheek, a foodie pop-up that puts an Italian twist on street food favourites. Throughout the week you can choose from Philly cheesesteak or pork belly buns, while Sundays are dedicated to a continental take on Sunday pub lunch. Instead of roast beef and Yorkshires tuck into brisket with polenta.

Bell & Brisket - 8682507606_17245eee27_o.jpgThe Bell & Brisket at The Duke’s Head, Highgate (every day from noon, pictured left)

A well-known Kerb trader, The Bell & Brisket now serves its famous salt-beef sandwiches (#SaltBeefAristocracy) at The Duke’s Head in Highgate. The sarnies are the real deal: glistening slivers of pink meat stuffed into a Brick Lane bagel or black rye bun and topped with pickled goodness. Get adventurous with The Viscount Kimchi: salt beef, kimchi and melted cheddar, or stay traditional with The Old Timer, a classic combo of salt beef, gherkins and mustard.

Burger Bear at The Old Nun’s Head (Saturdays from noon, Tuesdays 6-10pm)

Burger Bear (aka Tom) might be a constant figure at KERB and R3D Market, but you can now find his bangin’ burgers with bacon jam in fashionable SE15 at The Old Nun’s Head pub (a stone’s throw from Peckham Rye). Forget being good, pop along for beer and burgers. Doesn’t get any better, right?

Camberwell Love_pop-ups - Islington_Steam_Room_thing_Tomato_Tea_with_Crab_and_basil.jpgCamberwell Love at The Stag's Head (monthly event, pictured right)

For two days every month, Harwood Arms sous chef James Cochran heads up Islington pop-up Camberwell Love, which regularly changes residency, but currently finds a home at Hoxton's The Stag's Head. The evenings feature an eight-course tasting menu that mixes influences from Cochran’s professional stints at Michelin-starred restaurants including The LedburyRead’s in Canterbury, and the Harwood Arms. The next event is on 20 March and costs £45, including a welcome cocktail.

Dirty Apron at Simmons Bar, Camden and King's Cross (Wednesdays and Thursdays)

Dirty Apron has teamed up with Simmons Bar for a playful pop-up event every Wednesday (King's Cross) and Thursday (Camden). At King's Cross, expect pulled pork, lamb and harissa meatballs and crispy polenta fries, while in Camden, tuck into a variety of hot deli sandwiches, including a Dirty Yanker - a tangy sandwich stuffed with pastrami, mayo, Swiss cheese, balsamic cabbage and mustard. Wash it all down with one of Simmons cocktails while you groove to the eclectic beats.

The Good Egg (weekends)

Weekends were made for brunch, and where better than The Good Egg, which currently takes place in two different London locations. Firstly, there’s Cortado at Gainsborough Studios, where Cotswold Legbar eggs are served with merguez every Saturday and Sunday until 4pm. And then there’s The Hangover Club in Hackney Wick, where The Good Egg holds court until 4pm on Saturdays. The West Coast-style breakfast burrito sounds like as good a hangover antidote as any.

Tommi’s Burger Joint at The Princess of Wales (monthly)Tommi's_2014_-_TBJ_Burger_web.jpg

Primrose Hill pub The Princess of Wales plays host to popular Marylebone fixture Tommi’s (pictured right) on the third Thursday of each month (5-10.30pm). Diners can look forward to some of the most popular patties from Tommi’s menu (including the much-celebrated steak burger), plus a specially created one-off dish exclusive to the pub. Plus, diners can take advantage of the pub’s craft beers, cocktails and live music.

The Mussel Men (Tuesdays-Sundays)

The Mussel Men are back in business, this time over on Kingsland Road. The name says it all, really, with mussels served in steaming cardboard takeaway boxes. Order moules frites and enjoy with bubbly at their special mussels and Prosecco events – surely a match made in heaven?

Tom Conran - TOM1.jpgNew Tom’s (ongoing)

This 12-month pop-up from west London restaurateur Tom Conran (pictured left) is to offer up a modern daytime bistro to Notting Hill locals, with The Dorchester’s Tom Straker in the kitchen. New Tom’s is set to take over the site of Tom’s Deli from the end of March, serving breakfast, lunch and early dinner in an informal setting. Conran, who also owns Crazy Homies, Lucky 7 and The Cow in the area, has sourced ingredients from Straker's Herefordshire family farm. Meanwhile, a modern European menu that includes veal short rib ravioli with root vegetable and pancetta broth has been cooked up by the kitchen team. There should also be a smoker in operation in New Tom’s garden, embracing the change of seasons.

Smoke'n'Roll at The Black Heart, Camden (every day from noon)

You'd usually find some smoke trails from Smoke'n'Roll's stall in Camden Lock Market but now they're rolling into the murky depths of The Black Heart, a 'music pub with an edge' (once home to Kimchi Cult), with some of their finest smoked goods. The name of the game is home-smoked and home-rolled and you'll find yourself getting messy with sticky ribs, chicken wings, beef brisket or pork-shoulder sandwiches smothered with one of their signature sauces (mixed-berry mustard, anyone?).

Adalberto Battaglia

Keep an eye on this page for more of the best pop-up restaurants to hit London!

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