Over the last few weeks I have found myself in an extremely privileged position. On my days off from the Begging Bowl I have been helping Andy Oliver with his pop-up Thai grill, located in Peckham’s ‘Bar Story’ (underneath Peckham Rye railway).
Andy’s take on Thai/Vietnamese street food is a wonder to learn, cook and eat. The increasing popularity of his pop-up proves I am not the only person that thinks this. Complex dishes range from Plah Pao (Grilled fish, in this instance whole aromatic seabass), to Nham Yang (Grilled fermented pork sausage). Each dish presented in a unique and outstanding manner, with an original twist that me as a full time foodie and chef, has never come across before. It is obvious that the time and care that goes into every dish can be tasted from the other side – It’s amazing to think that it is virtually all prepared by three chefs, within 24 hours of the grill opening. If it continues how it was last week it also only takes under three hours to completely sell out of food (staff dinner! Not a chance – everyone couldn’t keep their hands off).
Every week new dishes have been added to the menu, last week the count was ten, including one portion of Pet Yaang (Whole grilled duck, served with a special jaew), that’s not too far off an entire restaurant menu. Let me tell you now, three chefs, one grill, one table and lot’s of hungry people is not an easy feat to pull off (we certainly managed nonetheless). In the short time it has been open the Thai grill has been increasingly attracting attention, which in turn has allowed Andy to show off what he is capable of with some weird and wonderful dishes that I can certainly state now ‘you will not find at any other barbecue in London’ (especially not for the prices that they are selling for at the moment). Listed below is last week’s menu, the quality, care, attention and creativity in each dish is characteristic of a top end restaurant, with a lengthy waiting list – yet for the next few weeks, I will be serving it with a fellow chef of mine from the Begging Bowl (Craig Broadhurst) and Andy in Peckham’s Bar Story;
-Mu Yaang – Whiskey marinated pork shoulder with chilli and garlic (£5)
-Nam Prik Nuum – Roasted green chilli relish, served with soft duck eggs and homemade pork scratchings (£5)
-Bo La Lot – Vietnamese style lemongrass beef in betel leaves (£5)
-Som Tam thai – Bangkok style Green papaya salad (£6)
-Gai Yaang – Grilled chicken leg with two dipping sauce (£5)
-Mu Ping – Grilled pork skewers (£4)
-Naem – Fermented pork, cabbage, peanuts and ginger (£5)
-Pla Yaang – Stuffed seabass with seafood nam jim dipping sauce (£12)
-Gung Kamin – Turmeric prawns (£4)
-Pet Yaang – Whole grilled duck, served with a special jaew (£25)
As I said before, this menu is in no way solid – who is to know what culinary delight may be up for grabs next time?
We were accompanied in the first few weeks by ‘The Skinny Bib’ (click for review). It was an absolute pleasure to serve such a widely read and respected food blogger, especially serving him his own cuisine. His positive review of Andy’s menu lead the way for a busy few weeks after his visit, last week we were accompanied by ‘Feast to the world’ (click for review) who shared nothing but praise and delight to their readers about the culinary experience they had at ‘Bar Story’.
So far my experience cooking Andy’s food has been nothing but a pleasure to be involved with. It certainly keeps the blood pumping when something that was originally expected to be a playful experiment, instantly turns into a busy and extravagant success. Anyway that’s enough from me for today – I look forward to what awaits us at ‘Bar Story’ this coming Monday, something is telling me that it is going to be busy.
If you would like to find out more about Andy Oliver’s food check out his blog ‘The Cook’s Broth’, or find him on twitter @andy_oliver – thanks for reading and I will see you next time.