136 – 148 Tooley Street
5th floor, Magdalen House
I’ve long lamented that, because I don’t live on the coast, the freshest seafood is usually beyond my reach. But stuff me with butter and bay, and douse me in pouilly fumé if the seaside didn’t come to me. For two weeks at least.
From the 5th to the 21st of July, the British seaside and some of its choicest fruits moved inland to our capital. To the fifth floor of Magdalen House on Tooley Street, SE1, to be precise, just a pebble’s throw from London’s newly opened 1,000ft Mammon tower, the Shard.
What happened was this. A food and drinks events organiser called **Platterform** teamed up with a responsibly-sourced British-seafood purveyor called **Bonnie Gull**, for a three-week period in London’s **Skyroom**. The result: the Bonnie-on-Sky Seafood Supper.
Alex Hunter, Co-founder and Director of Bonnie Gull** (who I met at the Bonnie-on-Sky supper), experimented with a similar project last year. Bonnie Gull** ran a ‘part-time’ seafood restaurant in a former pie and mash shop in Chapel Market, Islington, and another in Broadway Market, Hackney. There's a plan to open a proper, full-time restaurant, (to be called Bonnie Gull Seafood Shack), in Fitzrovia in September. Given the sad lack of top-quality, unfussy British seafood restaurants in London, this is a glad arrival.
On the night I visited, I shared with my mate Ryo starters of Isle of Lewis mussels steamed with cider and Cumbrian bacon, plus smoked trout, potato pancakes, golden beetroot and horseradish. Both fairly straightforward but no less tasty for the fact. The mussels and smoked trout were as good as they could be.
We then shared mains of Whole Devon crab, brown meat mayonnaise with chopped salad, plus sea bream baked in a bag with Pernod, fennel, Isle of Wight tomato and spinach. The bream was full of flavour and beautifully fresh. The crab, particularly the brown meat mayonnaise, was so good I couldn’t leave it alone and was again, song-singingly fresh. Pudding was a light floral muscat melon ‘soup’ with water melon and summer berries. No complaints there either.
For the remaining fortnight of the supper, the trout starter and crab main stayed on the menu. They were joined by queen scallops with Yorkshire (yes!) chorizo and burnt lemon dressing; crispy barbecue mackerel with gooseberries and vegetable coleslaw; and Eton mess. Other dishes featured over the three-week run included Scottish langoustine, pickled apple, roast pork belly, endive and watercress; North Sea beer-battered haddock with chunky chips and mushy peas; and Eccles cakes with clotted cream for pudding. All of this was served up by a guy who should know his fish: former Ceviche chef Alejandro Bello.
If you’re keen on the rooftop pop-up dining business, keep your eyes open for **Platterform's** other events to be held at the Skyroom** over the course of 2012. They’ll be hosting a London Picnic Club, celebrating the great British summer. Experimental picnic dinners, summer cocktails, garden games and live music’ promised. That launches on the 26th July and runs for the duration of the 2012 Olympics.
**Skyroom:**** **5th floor, Magdalen House, 136 – 148 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU.
**Written by: **Darren Smith
t>th floor, Magdalen House, 136 – 148 Tooley Street, London, SE1 2TU.
**Written by: **Darren Smith