THE FORAGERS AT DEAD DOLLS CLUB - REVIEW - 26TH APRIL 2013
A few weeks back I was asked to review The Foragers menu which is currently at Dead Dolls Club every Wednesday to Sunday (it was previously at London Field’s Brewery) and I was really excited to try it out as I’d heard great things.
The Foragers are a team of hunters and gatherers who use ingredients that they forage themselves from the countryside of Hertfordshire. Their food venture started at their wild food pub at The Verulam Arms in St. Albans and is now featuring at The Dead Dolls Club, where we went to review. The Foragers also run Mobile Kitchens around the country and organise regular foraging walks, wild food banquets, demonstrations, expeditions and tastings.
When we arrived at The Dead DollsbClub on a Friday night it was peaceful and quiet but soon filled up with people ready to celebrate the weekend. I loved the decor inside which featured old wooden tables with vintage wooden benches and chairs and hand painted parisien country style walls.
We were given a jug of water with jam jar glasses while we perused the cocktail menu and I decided to try The Gardener (£9) and my friend opted for a Lady of the Manor (also £9). The Gardener was wonderfully refreshing with the gin, lime and cucumber and the ginger ale gave it a nice spicy kick. The Lady of the Manor was sweet and fruity with the peach purée and apple juice and had a nice amount of fizz from the prosecco.
While we were drinking our cocktails we were greeted by Debbie from The Foragers who was absolutely lovely and talked us through the menu and recommended her favourite dishes to try. The idea at The Foragers is to try a selection of small dishes and the menu is based around sharing, which I always enjoy doing on a night out with friends.
We took a while deciding what to pick as everything sounded so nice but eventually decided on Mutton Ham with brown buttered leeks, hazelnuts, hedge garlic and wholegrain mustard dressing (£7), Salmon Ceviche marinated in sloe gin & herbs served with crunchy fennel with a coriander, lemon, orange & stonecrop dressing (£6.50), Spinach, Goat’s Cheese & Beetroot Quiche served with watercress (£6.50), Sea Purslane fish cake served with cauliflower purée & baby spinach leaves (£7) and lastly, wild herb seasoned broccoli (£3).
It all came presented really well and we got stuck in straight away. I had never tried mutton lamb before, and had to ask Debbie what it actually was, but it came sliced really thinly and tasted a bit like Spanish charcuterie with a smoky taste, almost like chorizo, and the leeks and mustard dressing worked really well with it. The salmon ceviche was wonderfully fresh and the fennel added a nice crunch to the dish with the citrus fruits enhancing the flavour of the fish.
Whilst I am normally not the biggest fan of quiche (I often find them far to eggy and tasteless), the spinach, goat’s cheese and Beetroot quiche was my favourite dish that we tried and it was just delicious. The pastry was wonderfully buttery and the cheese, spinach and beetroot worked amazingly well together, with the extra beetroot on top adding further sweetness. It was so moorish that I could have eaten another one!
The sea purslane fish cake had a very different texture to a normal fish cake and was almost omelette like but was really tasty. The cauliflower purée was the hit of the dish however and it had a really amazing depth of flavour and I couldn’t get enough of it! I am a huge fan of broccoli and it is definitely my favourite vegetable so it was great to try wild broccoli. It was quite different to normal everyday supermarket broccoli and had more of a stringy and crunchy texture and a lot more flavour.
For dessert we decided to try The Foragers cheese board (£10) and this is quite a bold statement for Dotty Dishes to make, but it was one of the best cheeseboards I have had in a restaurant for a very long time. It came on a wooden board with a great selection of cheeses - a vintage Gouda, Brie, Goat’s Cheese, Cornish Yarg, Smoked Cheddar and a cheese I can’t remember the name of but will be known as the ‘stinky feet cheese’ - along with picked wild vegetables, crusty bread and chutney.
The Gouda was my favourite and tasted absolutely delicious and I could have easily munched my way through a whole block! All of the cheeses were incredibly moorish apart from the one I have named ‘stinky feet cheese’, which was extremely pungent and literally made me gag when I tried it! We had to push that poor cheese off the cheese board as it was cramping the style of the other amazing cheeses! The cheeses worked well with the crunchy fresh bread and the sweetness of the chutney and vinegary tanginess of the pickled vegetables.
We had a lovely evening at the Dead Dolls Club and I really enjoyed trying lots of different food, knowing that the majority of it had been foraged from the countryside. I would definitely recommend a visit and The Foragers have lots of other events coming up this summer including:
The Skyroom - The Foragers this month teamed up with Platterform and The Gin Shed to run a monthly residency every Saturday throughout May at The Skyroom rooftop venue in London Bridge. Platterform have developed a wonderful cocktail menu to match The Foragers 3 course foraged menu. There is only one Saturday left next weekend so get in quick! http://the-foragers.com/theskyroom/
Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum - every Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon The Foragers will be serving street food along side the Midnight Apothecary’s cocktail garden on the rooftop of the Brunel Museum. http://the-foragers.com/midnightapothecary/
The Foragers expeditions - every last Wednesday of the month The Foragers organise foraging walks in Hertfordshire near their wild food pub in St. Albans with a sublime feast after the walk incorporating the foraged goods found into the meal. http://the-foragers.com/hunt-with-us/
Dotty Dishes was a guest of The Foragers and Dead Dolls Club.
Dead Dolls Club, 428 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AA.