Depending on how you look at it, being situated in the middle of what has become London’s Mecca for all foodies has both pros and cons. There is in fact only one con, and that’s purely financial. If I could have my cake, preceded by both starter and main course, I’d eat in the village every.single.night. Once a week is more justifiable and a dinner at Happy Dumpling, which gets a bad rep by some reviews, did nicely last week, in part due to our lovely (read comic if you may) waiter and his complimentary custard buns.
However, introduce one passionate chef, a highly descriptive account of her new menu, plus the 11am. hunger pangs and I’m booking a table for my second market-based meal in so many days. The stakes were high; lunchtime had seen further deviation from my once-weekly eat-out rule in the form of two plump and spicy samosas from our neighbours at Elephant. As a result dinner at Cornercopia, to sample chef-in-residence Sherri Dymond’s new menu had to justify this third-round dining decadence.
Every morsel a taste sensation and well worth breaking the rules for. Not being a knowledgable foodie by any means, I can’t offer a deep insight into why it’s so good, but the cleverly thought out, seasonally focused dishes are both inventive and resourceful. Sherri sources many ingredients from the surrounding area where possible; UK mainly and further afield where essential. The menu will be changing monthly, therefore what we ate is no longer available (sad to see the Sea Bass go in particular), but from the whispers concerning what’s in store for Easter there’ll be no waning in either the creativity or quality. And so to what we indulged in…
HalfHitch Gin and Blood Orange Cocktails
Awaiting licence, Blue Jay is currently BYOB. As fortunes would have it, and not because she’s a total alcoholic, trusty dining companion London Street Foodie had just come from a Partridges Food Market press event where she’d received a handy little bottle of gin by these London based distillers.
At no extra cost, Blue Jay combined (our) gin with (their) soda into a refreshingly simple cocktail complete with a blood orange infusion.
All three starters, which are generous in size and suitable to share, including —
Beetroot, hazelnut gramolata, pomegranate, greek yoghurt
Warm and earthy. The scattering of toasted hazlenuts and fresh pomegranate seeds atop a generous dollop of yoghurt sliced through the boldness of the beets, lifting the plate to wonderful lebanese heights.
Cornish Octopus, freekeh, blood orange, parsley
Highly unusual due to the nutty texture of this ancient middle eastern grain coupled with the meatiness of the octopus yet sweetened by the fresh tang of blood orange. A favourite of mine, although this particular dish divided opinion, and the photography does little justice.
Charred endive, panchetta, girolles
Peppery yet delicate, fruity yet meaty…girolles are an oxymoron in fungus form but also utterly delicious. In fact the perfect umami taste to sit alongside salty pancetta, tender yet slightly bitter endive and satisfyingly pulled together by a creamy-rich sauce providing that all essential sweetnes. Very little not to like!
Showing some semblence of restraint, we decided to save the full three course feast for another time, but the mains and pudding looked equally delicuious and included:
Sea bass, leeks, lemon & chive butter, roasted cauliflower;
Braised pork shoulder, sauerkraut slaw, new potato;
Jerusalem artichoke, Barley, almond milk, pesto.
And to finish…
Orange polenta cake; Picos blue, oat cake.
In summary Blue Jay’s on fire and what’s more, there won’t be any extinguishing of this passion-infused pop-up for many months to come.
Times: Thursday, Friday & Saturday Evening Menu (Lunch & Dinner)
Costs: Starters £7, Mains £12, Pudding/cheese £5; Three courses for £22 (cash only)