Last Saturday, I headed east to check out Ben Spalding’s latest venture. Ben used to be the head chef at Roganic and was behind the successful Roast Sunday held a couple of months back (which I missed). When I heard about Stripped Back, I know I wasn’t going to miss out this time.
When we got there, the eight seats were taken and we stood around patiently and waited for our turn. It was a delight to stare over people’s shoulders and observe what Ben was like in operation. We even had to stare at Goz (Plusixfive) who was in the earlier seating (haha!)…
When it came to our turn, we started with bread – yoghurt, muesli and malt bread with jersey butter and home made sea salt.
Ben served us fizz next – 42c below NZ vodka and meadowsweet. The drink was simply divine.
Our starter was chilled pea and mint sauce soup, greasy chicken skin, cherry tomatoes, mugwort oil and roasted macadamia nuts. The whole experience of Ben putting the soup together in front of us, was a delight to watch. The crispy chicken skin was a great accompaniment to the soup and the different textures came together so well.
Next up, we had cured and poached wild salmon, sweetcorn and nectarine. Gourd juice seasoned with shiso vinegar, bronze fennel and roasted almonds. This was a definite highlight for me. Pretty on the plate and melted in my mouth.
Our third course was a simple wrap filled with angus beef, spices, blow torched lettuce and home made sour cream. When I learnt that beef was on the menu, I had to tell Ben that I did not take beef. He was prepared and had a vegetarian option with onions and peppers for me.
Lastly, we finished with dessert – brownie rocks with mahlep seeds, dill puree, kentish cherries and lemongrass cream.
I love the set up, the way that it is just a simple eight seater in the middle of a Saturday market. Relaxed and chilled, enjoying food stripped back, raw and personal like they described. The interaction with Ben on such an intimate setting is one you should not miss. It’s great to see someone so passionate about food, explaining to you the ingredients used, his latest discovery and how he experimented with each of them. It is fine dining in a totally casual setting.
I highly recommend checking it out if you are in London. £15 was all I paid for the amazing 4 courses. The price is going up to £17.50 this week as Ben promised the best ingredients which he can sourced. From what I heard, razor clams are on the menu this Saturday! The menu does change regularly so do follow Stripped Back on twitter for the latest news! I might just see you there one of these Saturdays! You can read J (Feast to the World)’s review here. As for me, I hope the photos did the talking!
London Field’s Primary School Playground