Slow cooked salmon, horseradish cream, watercress, Cuisson popdown

Cuisson London popdown dinner

Menu from a ‘popdown’ from Cuisson London with food by Pedro Passinhas:

Cuisson cocktail

Cultured butter, sourdough

Ratte potatoes, hay, blue cheese, grelot onion

Chicken parfait, charred pineapple, walnuts

Slow cooked salmon, horseradish cream, watercress

Lychee and mango bavarois, strawberry, black olive

Popups are no longer trendy. Once the cool word to be brandished by any would-be restaurateur, it’s starting to draw reactions that echo ‘not another one’.

So instead of a popup, Cuisson London decided to do a popdown – that is, a popup in the basement of a Haymarket building.

The chef, Pedro Passinhas, trained with a whole host of Michelin-starred restaurants, including The Fat Duck, Le Gavroche and The Square, so the food had a lot of promise. And indeed, judging by the menu, a lot of care has been taken to source lesser known ingredients.

The kitchen was open so diners can look in at what the chef was doing – something that a few diners were happy to get involved in. Others, meanwhile, preferred to stay in their seats.

For me, the food was inventive and interesting. I especially enjoyed the potatoes.

But the showpiece was definitely the dessert. A huge platter of sweet things that delighted the eyes and the palate.

I was the guest of my friend but at £39 per person for those four courses plus bread and cocktails, it’s much better value than any supperclub I’ve tried.

Qin Xie

Qin Xie is a London based food, wine and travel journalist and trained chef.

When not infiltrating Michelin restaurants as a kitchen tourist, she writes about food, drink and travel. Her work has appeared on Yahoo, FT, The Times and CNN.

Her first cookbook, co-authored with YS Peng at Hunan Restaurant, is out March 2014.

According to friends, her watch is always set to UTC -- ready for the next big adventure. In reality, she is happiest at the dinner table or by the sea.


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