Anemoia – a London pop-up
London is full of pleasant surprises and when Yiannis Mexis – sous chef at Michelin starred restaurant Hide – asks you to check out his supper club, well you say yes.
On top of his day job, together with Eva Rimoldi Rudatis (Bartender/Sommelier) and his mate Alper Mestan (FOH/manager), he created the supper club “Anemoia”. This latin word stands for a nostalgia of something which we haven’t yet experienced; an unknown void which needs to be filled. Although I was pretty sure that I had never felt anemoia before, I was still keen to see if they could “fill my void”.
This trio runs seasonal supper clubs during three consecutive days, with two different servings (6pm and 9pm) on each evening, which shows that these guys are real pros. Their 6-course tasting menu comes with a wine and cocktail pairing for £75. Although I did miss their previous dinners that took place last October 2018, I will definitely not miss any of their upcoming pop ups. This new and second chapter is a tribute to Spring, with a very eclectic menu. I read yuzu, tajine spice, potato rösti, gentian and kirschtorte on the menu and immediately wondered whether the chef had been around the world or perhaps around London’s varied multicultural neighbourhoods?
The meal began with canapés, a perfectly-cooked white asparagus tip and a violet artichoke covered with egg yolk shaving, which made it clear that dinner was going to be special.
Next came a very wow-effect dish: a cooked tulip which covered peas and small yuzu tapioca balls. I didn’t even know tulips were edible. They don’t have a very pronounced taste but they definitely add a soft texture to the dish – like cooked cabbage – which went will with the crunchy peas. The funny story behind this dish is that the tulips were handpicked by the team in a London park (but ssshhh).
My absolute favourite dish followed the edible flowers: morels stuffed with chicken mousse and cooked in earl grey butter, served in a consommé. Wild mushrooms are a rarity in London, so it’s always exciting to see them on your plate. Unfortunately, the side dish – a chicken brioche – sounded better than it tasted. Having seen it on Instagram, I was really looking forward to it and expected more fat to it, with the brioche’s butter and the chicken skin’s grease. Instead it was slightly dry and lacking salt.
The fish, a sea trout fished in London on that same morning (can’t get any fresher than that) had a very Asian kick to it. It was just slightly cooked, almost raw with an extra thin and crispy piece of fish skin all laid on wakame leaves.
The meat dish was a Hogget with Tajine spice and pickled rose served with kidneys wrapped in potato rösti. Personally, I thought the hogget was slightly over-cooked, but I get it, it’s hard to get everyone’s preferred cooking request at a supper club. That rösti ball though was just perfect.
The pre-dessert (a dish that is slowly disappearing from tasting menus) was a cold and spongy fennel meringue with rhubarb, gentian and black cardamom. I realise that “cold” and “spongy” aren’t really selling this dish but I really loved the unusual texture – just like a hardened île flottante. The gentian and black cardamom had a bitter taste like licorice, which definitely helped cleanse the palate for the actual dessert – and isn’t that the purpose of a pre-dessert after all?
The interesting twist on the menu was a cocktail which was presented as a dish: a blend of cognac and bitters garnished with a tasty milk, earl grey and black cardamom biscuit. “The idea here is for the cocktail to be fully enjoyed before dessert, as it sometimes can be hard to do when completely full after a meal” says Eva. And she’s right. If every tasting menu could have a cocktail between the pre dessert and the actual dessert, as a pre pre digestif people would walk out of dinner much happier!
Finally, a Kirschtorte or as most probably know it, a Black forest – but I believe that we should name food by its original name. A Kirschtorte can sometimes be very dry but not at Anemoia where the balance between the chocolate Genoise and chocolate ganache made it just right.