Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

The White Asparagus: SEEN Reviews

How fortunate are the residents of Islington? Just a step away from the bustle of the Caledonian Road is the leafy idyll of Hemingford Road and the N1 Cuckoo Gastro-hub. Hard to believe that this little slice of the country resides at the heart of the big bad city. This feeling was heightened by the closed-off road and the children happily playing ball in the street.

The White Asparagus Bratkartoffeln
The White Asparagus Bratkartoffeln
The White Asparagus Minted peas with curds
The White Asparagus Minted peas with curds

SEEN and her guest were there to try the Cuckoo’s new residency: The White Asparagus. Now SEEN hasn’t tried the white variety but the green version is definitely part of her death row meal. Led by Head Chef Sebastian Delamothe, The White Asparagus celebrates the short but starring role of white asparagus in Germany’s rich and subtle cuisine. For just a few weeks every spring, Delamothe’s second-generation, family-owned farm Neu Wendorf in Mecklenburg Vorpommern floods the region with this refined cousin to Britain’s own native green breed.

The White Asparagus’ residency is perfectly timed to correspond with this season and Delamothe’s menu demonstrates a reverence for the freshest ingredients. The starring ingredient, Delamothe’s white asparagus, will arrive on guest’s tables couriered directly from the farm. The menu, which ranges from small to large plates, will include Neu Wendorf Paté, with Cumberland sauce; Panfried Stonebass with curry butter; Morel and Mushroom ragout and Onglet with nettle sauce. House specials will include Grandma Inge’s White Asparagus Soup; Bratkartoffeln (buttery potatoes fried with onions), as well as, of course, lashings of white asparagus.

The White Asparagus morel with mushroom
The White Asparagus morel with mushroom
The White Asparagus Onglet with Nettle Sauce
The White Asparagus Onglet with Nettle Sauce
The White Asparagus Panfried stonebass with curry butter
The White Asparagus Panfried stonebass with curry butter

SEEN went for the Morel and Mushroom ragout and found it sweet and unexpectedly flavoursome and piquant. My guest had the Stonebass and pronounced it very good and fresh. We had some steamed Jersey royals and a spring salad to share. The white asparagus arrived, delicate and light in comparison to the green version we Brits are familiar with. We had a glass each of Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio that accompanied the food very well. The desserts were delicious and thankfully not too heavy: SEEN had a lovely soft Emma’s Brownie with salted caramel ice cream and my guest had Rhubarb and Quark cake, pronouncing it a good mix of texture and flavour. The vibe is relaxed, and the service friendly. The dining room itself is small and intimate but felt like home. As we left, the pub was beginning to fill up with asparagus lovers.

After three years traversing the world in superyacht kitchens and Michelin starred establishments such as La Vie [3*], Sebastian Delamothe has now returned to London with both feet and much imagination planted firmly on dry land. Delamothe’s fascination with foraged ingredients, many locally picked on London’s own Hampstead Heath, comes hand in hand with a passion for pickling and preserving; expect to see elements of these in daily changing specials. With 8 sold out Supper Clubs already in 2017, we can but hope that Delamothe’s White Asparagus residency will extend well beyond the season. SEEN recommends.

www.thecuckoon1.co.uk

The Cuckoo N1
115 Hemingford Road
Islington
London
N1 1BZ

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