Offal Good at Platform 1
by Chloe Walden - Tuesday May 23, 2017 1:05 pm
71 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22
Offal Good is the brainchild of Jim Benfield, who spent a year exploring the offal-based food culture of Galicia, and Seb from The White Asparagus, a sustainability-focused chef. Following the success of their first event, they launched a second supper club to showcase the best of underused cuts of meat, highlighting that it doesn’t need to be expensive or unsustainable.
The supper club was hosted at Platform 1 – a fantastically unique space which calls itself a ‘permanent pop-up’, supporting and helping start up chefs serve and experiment new and unique foods in a cosy, welcoming location. What’s more, they have a bar and cocktail menu featuring creations made with their own homemade syrups, a kumquat syrup cosmopolitan – possibly the best I have ever tasted.
The Yam Somo – Thai black pudding with the most vibrant noodles and fermented pork belly – could have been an amazing dish but it felt a bit rushed, a bit ‘slapped on the plate’. The noodles with red cabbage were a fantastic shade of pinky-purple, and had a great warmth to them, but there were a few too many on the plate.
The Thai black pudding was soft but slightly lacking in depth of flavour. The egg, which I think should have had a runny yolk, was hard boiled. However, the fermented pork belly (which could probably do with a slightly sexier name to attract the masses) was divine – I could quite happily eaten a plate of it on its own. Think ultimate pork scratchings – salty from soy sauce, crisp on top with melt-in-the-mouth layers of fat underneath that made these little morsels shine.
Next on our offal-adventure was Gang Kow Wan Kidney, which translates to Thai green curry with kidneys, leaks and rice served sharing-style in the middle of the table. The kidneys had the deep, earthy flavour you expect, but they weren’t overpowering or in your face.
When you had a piece of kidney that was pink in the middle, combined with the smooth, well-spiced, warming curry sauce, it really was a thing of beauty and you would never know you were eating offal. For those who are squeamish about insides I would recommend trying it.
My favourite dish of the evening was the one I had been most apprehensive about when first reading the menu – chocolate, cherry and blood pudding. When you first delve into it with your spoon you expect a soft, spongy texture but it has a crunchy, caramelised exterior. It was rich and sticky, almost reminiscent of a figgy pudding/cinnamon doughnut hybrid. The custard had a slight bitter edge which complemented the indulgent taste of the pudding. My only criticism – the cherries on top were a tad tart.
I have always been pro-offal and I think using the less desired, less glamourous cuts of the animal is a great way to make meat more sustainable. Because of this, I really think Offal Good are on to something with their supper clubs.
Whilst I did feel it was a bit disorganised in places – when I arrive for a 7pm supper club, I don’t expect the first course to be served well over an hour later – and a bit of finesse and attention to detail could elevate their dishes to the next level, I really admire what they are doing.
Anyone who is brave enough to create a three course meal entirely from offal and make it taste good is clearly passionate about what they do, and I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.