Food, Days Out and Travel stories from Brighton, London and the Rest of the World


Going Out for a Pop-up Restaurant

The Fringe Pop-up Restaurant
Whitecross Street BN1 4FA
Tel: 07553 819342

There's nothing like falling out with the person you were planning to have a jolly evening with to start the night on a wrong footing.  So with a begrudging companion, slightly late, a little harassed and regretting my choice of £7 fuchsia wedges from New Look (my own nod to the seventies), the pair of us arrive.

The Pop-up restaurant has set up shop in City College, Whitecross Street where Euan and Chris have teamed up with the catering students for the second year running.  Assisted by professional chefs and front of house the Pop-up is a great opportunity to provide the kids with invaluable real life experience of working in a restaurant.

Transforming the dining room into a paean of all things seventies from the drapes on the windows, the projected pictures on the wall to the sound track and bar seating area, despite sucking lemons we could not help but admit that the overall effect was really fun.  The bar seating area in itself is worthy of note comprising of a set of brown leather sofas with coffee table and overhanging lamp, all provided by Jennie of Retrospect, Kemptown, making us feel like we had well and truly returned to our youth.

Retrospect, Kemptown

Retrospect, Kemptown

On the wall a projector rotated images from Euan's mother's 70s recipe book with suggested recipe ideas like sauerkraut with coleslaw and grey-tinted salmon, fascinating how times have changed.  My companion, still not fully back in favour at this point quips, Well, if it's really going to be authentic does that mean I can smoke?

Seated at a table for two we realise that ordering just a main isn't an option, it's a three course set menu for £17 each and another £12 each for a selection of four wines to accompany the meal.  This is of course not bad at all, but as I've offered to pay I'm doubling these costs in my head and feeling as begrudging as my begrudged companion.  Rats.  So I plumb for a single glass of Sancerre, which tastes awful!

We order from the kids and the starter of smoked salmon is trolleyed out and sliced off the fish by one of the students while training two others.  By this stage the infectious light-hearted mood has started to rub off on us as we share in the delight of the experience only to be then completely won over by the main of chicken kiev and cheese mash.  In fact it tastes so good that if this pop-up turned into a permanent fixture I would definitely come back solely on this basis.

Pop-up restaurant, chicken kiev and cheese mash
Our evening now totally transformed our only concern left was our choice of dessert and that's a no-brainer, a 70s night can only be fully complete with a bit of crepe suzette flambe razzmatazz.  Again trolley-service-tastic, the pancakes are cooked up on portable heaters and the Cointreau set alight in front of us.

The weekends are even better with artists Jan Irvine, Geo Parkin, and Bridget Davies creating original pieces of art on site, which will be auctioned for the local Alzheimer’s Association charity at the end of the Festival. Alongside this the students are receiving such great practice that last year those involved achieved the best passing-out results in the history of the faculty.

With the Pop-up Restaurant ticking so many boxes, this is the perfect Fringe event and definitely worth getting involved in, the more so the better.  Turns out my £7 shoes were perfect after all.

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