Check On presents Great British Classics at the Sanderson Hotel
Pop-ups continue to be on the rise in 2013 – everyone wants to be part of something with limited availability – but some pop-ups just stand out, as is the case with Check On, dreamed up by unlikely duo George Craig (frontman for the band One Night Only) and Terry Edwards (formerly Hix and Le Gavroche). The two have become pioneers of “pop-up”, with Great British Classics being their third to date.
Set in the quirky Sanderson, we are offered a refreshing Gin and Cucumber Martini in the iconic Purple Bar before being shown to our seats in the Billiard Room. The first course swiftly follows: introduced as Ploughman’s Lunch, it turns out to be the prettiest ploughman’s I’ve ever seen, and one of the tastiest too, with sweet-smoky ham hock cut through with sharp Lancashire cheese, topped off with lightly pickled onions and a quail’s egg. Not wasting any time, the Chicken Salad arrives: tender poached chicken breast and sautéed baby gem lettuce are lifted by the smattering of blue cheese, crunchy chicken scratchings, and chive oil – slightly under-seasoned, but nothing a sprinkle of salt couldn’t fix. The third course of Bacon and Eggs played perfectly on the texture and flavour combinations of a “bacon and egg buttie”; the soft-boiled egg was slightly overcooked but still worked wonderfully with the earthy bread sauce, salty bacon and tangy ketchup gel.
Their take on Fish and Chips was a sophisticated one. A plump scallop encased in crunchy batter on top of a rough pea puree and scatterings of matchstick fries was a delight. Course number five was the Pork and Apple: a melting piece of pork belly topped with crackling, alongside a savoy cabbage puree and zesty apple Jelly, perfectly finished off the savouries for the evening.
The first dessert was Terry’s Chocolate Orange: dark, velvety chocolate mousse with a hint of Cointreau and unexpected popping candy enrobed in a delicate orange jelly – a delicious and fun take on the shop bought variety. Next it was George’s Marvellous Medicine, a milkshake-like blend of raspberry and aniseed cream. Served in a “Calpol-looking” bottle with a straw, it could easily have been a concoction out of a Roald Dahl book. Last was the rather perplexing Cup of Tea (earl grey), a mousse and jelly served in a teacup, with a classic McVities Rich Tea biscuit on the side. The earl grey flavour came through nicely but really could have done with a few more minutes of brewing time.
All in all, the meal was a whimsical and light-hearted play on a nation’s food that is not necessarily delicate or attractive. In a time where British food is experiencing a revival, these boys should be very proud of how they are portraying good old British grub. The dinner setting was beautiful and the evening was clearly enjoyed by all. Be sure not to miss out on this unique dining experience.
To book a ticket for Great British Classics at the Sanderson Hotel, 50 Berners Street W1T 3NG visit here.