D's Pop-Up Kitchen menu
Everyone’s been banging on about pop-up kitchens, but what are they exactly? I confessed my ignorance to a friend and all was revealed: a good sort rents and works out of someone’s kitchen space to provide punters with lovely, reasonably priced food. She then recommended a prime example of this; D’s Pop-Up Kitchen at The Old Angel.
Heading to the Angel for some snap is not a new thing - it was the original location of Annie's Burger Shack, you'll remember - but since a fire in the kitchen last year it was a no-food zone for a while, until Dena Smiles opened shop this summer and began serving a constantly changing menu of vegan and vegetarian food from Thursday through Saturday.
As me and my mate sat ourselves in the familiar surroundings of the Angel, with its wooden tables and floors and Si Mitchell artwork on the walls, we felt pretty relaxed from the get-go. Browsing the handwritten menu - divided into 'hot', 'warm' and 'code' - we weren’t exactly sure what a couple of the options actually were so we threw caution to the wind and picked them. My choice was the enoki and greens with spinach and a ponzu sauce (£4) while my friend opted for the cold Japanese butternut squash, nori rice tempeh balls and ginger (£4). And to be on the safe side we also ordered hummus with carrots, black olive and pitta (£3.50) and a portion of potato wedges (£2).
The enoki was beautiful; it's a variety of mushroom that uncannily resemble noodles. This version was delicately spiced, and all the different textures and flavours felt like they were doing a happy dance all the way into my tum. My friend was equally pleased with his choice, the butternut squash was almost creamy and the tempeh – rice in seaweed – was sticky on the inside and salty on the outside while the ginger and salad packed an almighty punch. On reflection, the wedges and hummus were overkill because the portion sizes are more than healthy. They were still swiftly decked, though. The latter was grainy, home-made and heavenly - just begging to be piled on the warm pitta in huge dollops. The former came with a sweet chilli dip and were chunkier than chunky.
Topping it all off with a pint, we sat back and marvelled at how good food can be when someone else cooks it for you and charges a more than reasonable price, and what other delights might come our way the next time we popped in for dinner. The food presentation was restaurant-level, and the service is quick and friendly. As Dena cleared our plates she looked somewhat surprised that we’d finished every last morsel. I was surprised that she was surprised, because her food rocks. Hard.
The Old Angel, 7 Stoney Street, The Lace Market, NG1 1LG, 0115 947 6735
The Old Angel website