Last Summer, one of the most enjoyable afternoons I've spent was at Burnt Enz, a pop-up barbecue under the arches at London Fields. When one thinks of barbecue it's easy to conjure up images of long, slow-smoked pork and sticky ribs, as is currently in vogue. Burnt Enz had none of that; seafood and meat cooked quickly on charcoal grills, doused with interesting sauces and pretty dressings. And then they buggered off to Singapore. Sob.
Licky Chops, offshoot of Lucky Chip, has taken over this site this year. The grill area has moved across the yard, and big brick ovens installed. Not a burger in sight, the menu is just as interesting as its' predecessor.
A lone octopus tentacle was smoky, charred and tender. It yielded easily under the knife and fork on a bed of jet-black garlicky sauce, to be mopped up by a few firm and buttery new potatoes.
Mackerel had that same level of smokiness, and our plastic cutlery was defeated by the structural strength of the toast it lay upon. Bright, acidic tomatoes balanced the richness of the fish; it's not a new combination, but one done well.
Asparagus, new potatoes and wild garlic was tasty, but a bit of a rip for the £6 price tag as it warranted around a mouthful each. Still, with the sun uncharacteristically blazing on us, the green freshness was welcome.
Onglet steak with chimichurri was served very rare and seasoned generously with a good char. The chimichurri sauce could have done with a bit more punch. Fat, plump and juicy scallops in their shell came with dill and cucumber and while my friends weren't entirely convinced by hot cucumber, I thought it a clever combination.
The ovens were put to good use for the aubergine, smothered and baked in tomato sauce and covered generously with cheese. Hake with coco beans that day was a beautiful chunk of fish, though the beans were over-salted. So while the meal wasn't entirely perfect, at around £15 - £20 a head for the food, it was really reasonable for it not to bother too much. The next time the sun comes out to play, I'm going back for more; their menu is always changing.
Climpson & Sons Coffee Roastery,
Arch 374 Helmsley Place