Knowing friends in cheffy places is always nice, not only for the recipe jacking but knowing who has left the daily grind and has set up shop elsewhere. Pop ups are incredibly popular right now (even I have one with Pudding Society!) and the perfect way for a chef to flex their muscles and see if their ideas will work outside the confines of their head.
The latest residency that has come to my attention is Porchetta over at The Three Tuns. Headed by Chris who previously worked for At Bristol, he has flown the nest and has taken over the pubs kitchen for the foreseeable future. Serving an array of pub “snacks” and hot sandwiches, I was invited to bring a few friends to try the menu and see what we thought.
The bar snacks were more like small plates, with generous portions as standard so we treated them like starters. We tried the lot (greedy guts!) and were so impressed with everything on offer. The chicken wings were large, spicy and we loved the added crunch of the Bombay mix. The ham croquettes had SUPRISE CHEESE which of course delighted three hungry women, they were also crispy, large and full of flavour.
We weren’t sure what to expect with the five bean salad as we have all tried that sad, tinned monstrosity you usually get (and I used to serve back in my cafe cooking days). This salad, however, was fresh and zingy with bean sprouts, fried fava beans, green beans, haricot and mung. Under the crunchy bean medley was a dollop of humous and it was dressed with a light vinegarette.
A combined favourite of the night was surprisingly the aubergine. A slow roasted aubergine, blended into baba ganoush topped with chargrilled aubergine, miso, garlic and onion. It was incredible and I would happily buy tubs of this for lunch to stick in a bento box.
We all agreed we would be back really soon. The pub itself is cosy and always has a great range of beers on tap plus a nice wee garden out back. I highly recommend swinging by soon for a great feed from a talented chef.
For our “mains” we tried both the Porchetta sandwich (large meat ciabatta sandwiches stuffed with pork belly, salsa verde and crackling) and the massive fried chicken one with caesar dressing and bacon. Both come with chips and are quite the meal! The porchetta was absolutely stuffed with pork with crackling scattered through out the roll. The salsa verde really cut through the pork and the roast apple sauce was divine and more like an apple butter. Thick, caramelised and the right amount for dipping.
The fried buttermilk thigh was fantastic, juicy and came with crispy bacon, lashings of caesar sauce and lettuce. You practically have to unhinge your jaw like a snake to get the whole thing in, we gave it a good go.
We were all very impressed with the quality, portion sizes and pride that Chris had in his food, he has plans to set up in his own place as soon as he is able, so I suggest you head down and grab dinner to help him achieve the dream.