Having received an invitation to experience Yummy Choo’s cookery from friends to attend a Pop-up at Tooting Market (where close friends and pop up restaurateurs Kusina Ni Lola had previously appeared to showcase their Filipino cuisine) as a diner rather than my previous pop experience of working a rather hectic shift at the Williamson Tunnels for Kusina Ni Lola in February, I arranged a weekend away in London to take in a rather enjoyable and colourful experience.
The transformation of Tooting Market from a bazaar comprising mixed cuisine street food kitchens, carpet sales, butcheries, barbers and hairdressing services to a night time oasis of colour and fragrance was marked. Picnic bench seating and fairy lamp lighting adorned the market place, soon filled with the sound of Sega Dancers and Mauritian music which was followed by a procession of some delicious and competently prepared food and heady rum cocktails provided by the Pop-up Dining Club Bar.
The Gajack Platter starters comprised three deep fried components and two dipping sauces to compliment the split pea and chilli fritters, aubergine and chickpea fritters and shrimp croquettes. Each of these fritters had a perfectly fried coating, satisfying crunch and seasoned, flavorsome inner, working rather well with the coconut and mint sauce and coriander and chilli chutney providing an earthiness twinned with fragrance, spice and refreshing herbal flavours.
Cari Poulet is a Mauritian style chicken curry cooked in a variety of spices, with a much less oily and creamy texture than Indian counterparts, something reminiscent from days spent in the kitchen with a friend at University, also from Mauritius. The dish had a good robust spicing and depth of flavour thanks to the use of chicken thighs rather than breast meat.
The Prawn Rougaille a creole style prawns in an earthy smoked sauce edging towards a burnt flavour, very succulent and slightly sweet. The dish was a welcome contrast and a good foil for the chicken in filling up one’s plate.
Along with the curry style dishes, a plate of soy eggs and rice was presented to each table to give ballast to the main course, it was again, complimentary to the other dishes, fluffy and eager to soak up the sauces, with the taste benefit that the soy eggs provided an interesting twist to the sundry.
Dessert was a caramelized vanilla pineapple dish, deliciously sweet and juicy with a contrast in temperature and texture with a coconut ice cream; a pretty satisfactory combination to end the pop up experience.
Tooting Market is a great setting; having a low-key vibrancy and events such as this provide a shot in the arm to the market itself, making use of a public space and thus adding to the character of an area. Pop ups are a great alternative to dining at a restaurant or café, somewhat akin to eating at a large dinner party, but with a much more convivial atmosphere and often more strangers than you can shake a stick at, who are usually on the same wavelength. On this occasion, I was even lucky enough to meet a fellow blogger from London who made me feel less anxious about breaking out my camera! The event as a whole was a success, full tables and full stomachs with plenty of rum flowing around the market. The hard work from Selina will no doubt take her far, with future ventures already gathering momentum.
Pop-up Dining Club will no doubt be back at the Tooting Market as they have hosted Mexican, Korean and Filipino experiences in the last 6 months or so, stay tuned on the Twitter feed for forthcoming events.
Yummy Choo Website: http://www.tastemauritius.com/
Pop-up Dining Club: http://www.edibleexperiences.com/p/68962059/Pop-Up-Dining-Club
Tooting Market Twitter: https://twitter.com/TootingMarket