A Bit Smarter Eating Out London

Nomad Popup at Social Pantry, Clapham

June 28, 2016

Fridays are usually only notable as that day I breathe a sigh of relief and bid farewell to the working week that was. Last Friday was a different story; Friday 24 June is not one many in the UK will forget in a hurry. The day after the night before, a day of celebration for some and commiseration for others but either way, history was made. We said see you later to the status quo and hello to the coming months, or more likely years, of uncertainty.

On a day when more people than ever were thinking and talking about national identity and pride, I thought it was timely and ironic that we were headed to a supperclub which billed itself as intimately British in style yet leaning on its Chinese-Malay, French and Spanish heritage. This speaks volumes to me about our ever developing global communities where traditional lines of ethnicity, race, religion, and opinion are slowly being crossed or erased. As a child of migrants, and now a migrant in this country, this scenario of blurred lines is the type of national identity I respect and believe to be our current reality.

I hope for this country’s sake that they believe it too and both sides of the referendum debate drop their rhetorics of vilification and accusation, to focus on the next step, however that might pan out. Just a bit of food for thought. But enough of that now… instead, let me tell you about the bit of food for comfort we had that night… five courses to momentarily forget all of those Brexit worries! We settled into the rustically set communal tables, nibbled on the roasted cashews whilst choosing a wine and perusing the menu; it all sounded fantastic and I had high hopes for Nomad.

Nomad_table1

A prawn salad with prawn crackers, fennel, peppers and a laksa style sauce was a vibrant opening. The textures and flavours were fantastic; the prawns were well cooked and still retained their sweetness, while the intensity in the sauce made from the prawn shells was lovely. My only quibble is that I wish it was spicier… if you promise me laksa, don’t be shy on the heat.

Nomad_prawns3

This was followed by a beautiful plate of cured and flame grilled mackerel with apple sauce and beetroot. Distinctly British and distinctly delicious, at the end of the night most of us proclaimed this our dish of the evening. Though I’ve had fruit and fish before, I was still a little skeptical. I shouldn’t have worried, the apple sauce was an inspired choice. I’m seeing more and more mackerel dishes on menus these days which I am pleased about. It has incredible flavour and is quite versatile, we’ve even experimented with it at home a few times.

Octopus, on the other hand, is something I’ve never cooked myself. It’s all too easy to overcook so best left to the experts for now; in this case it was perfect. The baby octopus, potatoes and an impressive confit egg yolk to bring everything together was moreish, though I was disappointed in the hardly detectable morcilla in the mayo. Despite this, it was still a strong nod to the Spanish influence.

Now before you think it’s all about the seafood, the Nomad boys delivered their version of a Hawaiian ‘poke’ which was a combo of beef carpaccio served on miso rice with smoked brisket on the side. As an avid consumer of raw meat, I quite liked the simplicity of the thin slices of beef on rice with the added excitement of the spice and sharpness of the pickled chillies. The smoked brisket I was less impressed with, I found it dry and bland but others around the table defiantly disagreed and even opted for another slice. Each to their own.

Finally we moved onto the sweet treats; I was eager to taste them given Nomad claim in black and white that they have eliminated gluten and sugar from their food. As a pudding traditionalist, one or both of these elements are usually present in the desserts I devour. The little pre-dessert spoonful of chocolate panna cotta was quite divine, the chocolate certainly felt luxurious and sinful, and was perfectly elevated by the hints of orange.

The last hurrah was a banana and peanut parfait with banana bread, blueberry syrup and fresh blueberries. A combination which certainly works but I knew I’d be a tough crowd as bananas usually have me running for the hills. It was actually surprisingly subtle as I found the overwhelming flavour to be from the peanut parfait which was refreshing and delicious. This was not a dessert I would have ordered but the beauty of set menus is that you just trust the chef and go with it, and more often than not will come out trumps!

For a few hours at least, we forgot all about the events of the day, the conflicts that had passed, and the uncertainty that lay ahead. I loved how we unwittingly found ourselves at a meal which celebrated the fusion of different cultures and flavours, and we happened to be happily sharing the experience with friends and strangers alike. It may feel trivial but when all else fails, I truly believe that food will always be there to bring people together.


Are you a fan of fusion food? How did you celebrate or commiserate on that momentum Friday?

Thanks to Tabl for enabling our comfort eating that evening, if you need a mood lift or general dining inspiration, go check out the upcoming supperclubs on their site! As always, all opinions are mine and mine alone!

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  • Connie this looks delicious! I think I comfort ate all weekend to try and get over Friday’s result :'( xx

    • We all needed a dose of comfort on Friday didn’t we?! I was, still am, so shocked… but I’m so glad I had this treat lined up that evening!

  • A shame it didn’t all quite hit the spot – the does look beautiful though!

    • None of my little quibbles were deal-breakers; overall, the dishes and flavours were really interesting! I think they’ll continue to improve and be absolutely amazing!

  • Ooooh the sound of that octopus is divine! Sometimes comfort eating is the way to go!

    • It was a really interesting dish – definitely want to try cooking octopus and confit eggs yolks now! It was a nice reminder of how inclusive food is!

  • This food all looks amazing – I’m super fussy but sometimes a set menu makes it so much easier, no decision anxiety or food envy! x

    • I love a set menu for exactly that reason – no pressure to choose, just trust the chef!

  • It’s funny, I don’t normally end up eating out on Friday night but I did last week and have never been more glad of the distractoin -that was Indian food too, once again showing what a multi cultural city we are. Now that peanut parfait looks divine…though perhaps I’m just starving since my tummy starting rumbling even at the sight of the cashew nuts in this post!!

    • Yes! Food transcends all barriers and prejudices I think – it gives people from all walks of life and cultures a common ground to share and learn from each other! And anything to distract myself on that ominous Friday was most welcomed!

  • Such beautiful, compositional plates! (That is something I never thought I would say or type, ever)

    • They’re gorgeous aren’t they?! My photos honestly don’t do them justice!

  • Aaron Vallance (1dish4theroad)

    Sounds like they’re delivering some really interesting global fusion-food. So many supper-clubs seem to be in East London – great to know about one down South!

    • I hate that too – East London thinks it’s the best at everything cool hahaha! But there are definitely some good ones down South – definitely keep at eye out on Tabl!

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