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Ben Spalding @ Workshop Coffee Co: France night

Ben Spalding @ Workshop Coffee Co: France night

The 'tube map' dinner menu

The ‘tube map’ dinner menu

 

“Qui monsieur, c’est la nuit du France avec Ben Spalding bien sur!”

 

Foodies across London have been on high alert since Ben Spalding announced his departure from John Salt due to disagreements with its management. While he’s deciding on a location, format, etc for his permanent restaurant Spalding is still doing pop-up stints in the meantime. In this vain Ben Spalding recently announced a new pop-up project. We were fortunate enough to score some tickets to his latest stint at the Workshop Coffee Co. in Clerkenwell.

Snails with garlic mayo and fried crumbs (9/10)

Snails with garlic mayo and fried crumbs (9/10)

Ratte potatoes with Ebene caviar and roasted mushrooms (8/10)

Ratte potatoes with Ebene caviar and roasted mushrooms (8/10)

Oyster with piment d'espelette (8/10)

Oyster with piment d’espelette (8/10)

 

Over the course of several weeks Ben Spalding will focus on the cuisines from different countries and give his culinary interpretation of them through tasting dishes.  When we visited the focus was on France and the meal consisted of around 6 courses with extras. The total dining experience is intended to last around 2.5/3 hours.

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Salad (8/10)

Salad (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

 

As a venue Ben Spalding has chosen the Workshop Coffee Co. in Clerkenwell. We’d seen the place walking past it to and from St. John Street but had never ventured in until this visit. We were pleasantly surprised by the interior of the Workshop and look forward to visiting it again so that we can try some dishes from its in-house restaurant and off course sample their coffee :)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)

Ragout of lamb (Pyrenees): Ragout of lamb shoulder, puy lentils, Alsace bacon, red wine & rosemary braised for 36 hours (9.5/10)

Ragout of lamb (Pyrenees): Ragout of lamb shoulder, puy lentils, Alsace bacon, red wine & rosemary braised for 36 hours (9.5/10)

 

Back to Ben Spalding and France night at the Workshop Coffee. The France night tasting menu consisted of the following dishes:

  • Bread and butter (Brittany): Sourdough bread, Brittany butter seasoned with Sel Gris salt (7/10)
  • Nibbles: Snails, Oysters, Ratte potatoes and salted beef (7/10)
  • Salad (8/10)
  • Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)
  • Scallop (Provence): Raw scallop with trout flakes, grapefruit juice and cardamom (8/10)
  • Ragout of lamb (Pyrenees): Ragout of lamb shoulder, puy lentils, Alsace bacon, red wine & rosemary braised for 36 hours (9.5/10)
  • Cheese (7/10)
  • Apple tart (Normandy): Granny smith, frangipane, cinnamon & vanilla ice cream (8/10)
  • After nibble (Paris): Pistachio ganache macaroon (8.5/10)

 

It was the second night of service and the experiment clearly still had some teething issues to sort out. Some of the dishes took an awful long time to arrive and in general the menu could do with a few more rounds of tweaking and perfecting. However, several dishes stood out as exceptionally good. Particularly the lamb ragout was extremely good. Normally we’re not big fans of ragout, but when it’s executed with such depth of flavour and texture, you can’t help but be bowled over by it.

Cheese (7/10)

Cheese (7/10)

Apple tart (Normandy): Granny smith, frangipane, cinnamon & vanilla ice cream (8/10)

Apple tart (Normandy): Granny smith, frangipane, cinnamon & vanilla ice cream (8/10)

 

Tickets to the event cost around £65 per person and when we visited the total bill came to £150 (including optional service charge and a couple of soft drinks).

After nibble (Paris): Pistachio ganache macaroon (8.5/10)

After nibble (Paris): Pistachio ganache macaroon (8.5/10)

After nibble (Paris): Pistachio ganache macaroon (8.5/10)

After nibble (Paris): Pistachio ganache macaroon (8.5/10)

 

Food rating for Ben Spalding at Workshop Coffee: 8/10

Service rating for Ben Spalding at Workshop Coffee: 7.5/10

Overall rating for Ben Spalding at Workshop Coffee: 7.5/10

(Overall rating is based on personal taste, opinion of the ambiance and price)

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