Disco Bistro EC4,
The Rising Sun, 61 Carter Lane, City of London, London, EC4V 5DY
Disco Bistro EC4 starts a 6 month residency at The Rising Sun Pub (Blackfriars), nr St Pauls from Monday 19th Nov. I visited on Tuesday as part of the Soft Launch. Here’s a taste of what to expect.
The room is an eclectic mix of retro film posters, paraphernalia from Carl Clarke’s previous ventures like English Laundrette and Rock Lobsta; some bench seating from London buses; fascinating bespoke chandeliers and a big blackboards shouting statements like “HORDES OF INVADERS”, “INSECTS OR INSECTICIDES” and “FUCK-TARDS”!
The punk style menu design is logically arranged into “The Beginning”, “The Middle” and “The End” (instead of Starters, Main and Dessert). There were 3 starters (shrimp, pumpkin or mutton broth), 4 mains (short rib; silver mullet; onion and mushroom pudding; and saddleback bacon chop) but only one dessert on offer on that day (quince cooked in cider), so be-warned those with a sweet tooth! The starters are a £6-9 with mains all hovering between £12-£17.
THE BEGINNING – “BURNT PUMPKIN DEVON BLUE, GINGERBREAD, SPROUTING SORREL”
When this arrived the waitress told me “this cheese is from the guy from Blur… his farm”, Musical heritage aside, this worked very well. The burnt pumpkin had a light dusting with sugar crystals giving an nice crunch alongside the pumpkin seeds which contrasted the gingerbread pieces. It’s a great flavour combo which I’ve not had before. The mouthfeel is the star here. Very unique.
THE MIDDLE – “SILVER MULLET COOKED OVER WOOD, CLAMS, POPPED BARLEY MARMITE AND MALT VINEGAR”
Marmite lovers, don’t get too excited! Whis wasn’t a mouthful of the stuff, but just enough to give a slight malty tang… particularly good for me and other non-converts to the brown stuff. The mullet was served as a nice thick cut resting on a bed of the popped barley with some young herbs (I believe I spotted some a light sage) and some cubed bacon (So all you non-gentiles check before ordering). The fish was lightly cooked and still very firm in the middle. Great anyone who loves their fish on the ‘meatier’ side. In a brief chat with Carl before I left, he told me that ‘birch sap’ was used on the fish to ‘seal in the flavour’
THE END – “QUINCE COOKED IN CIDER, GERANIUM ROSE CUSTARD AND OAT CRUMBLE”
This dessert looks extremely heavy, but what appears to be cream is in fact a light custard. The oat crumble is nice and chunky but still soft enough to bite through without worrying about chipped teeth! Quince is not a fruit I usually see unless it’s in jelly form and paired with cheese. I can only describe it as as having the texture of a hard apricot with a light complex flavour..
The room is peppered with lighting from designer Alex Randall (www.alexrandall.co.uk) who I’ve been told is a friend of Carl. All the pieces seem to be for sale with price tags on each. The large gramophone horn light is fantastic, (in the photo album) and look out for the up-lights which are made from stuffed squirrels.
I was impressed! Simply presented and lovely food. Minor comments – I probably would’ve preferred my white wine in a wine glass instead of a tumbler and maybe the bacon should be mentioned in the silver mullet dish (esp. for those with religious restrictions), but I’m really picking at straws now. For the second day of a soft launch this was great. The full cost was approx £40 inc for a glass of wine and a 3 course lunch. For anyone working in the St Paul’s area I suggest getting a lunch booking as I understand they are booked up till January for dinner! Well done Carl.