The Pudding Bar
Guest Feature by Alex McMeekin:
Soho’s latest summer pop-up is a bar with a difference, and the accent on sugar that has not given itself up to merely be food for yeast, but kept in its simpler state in the form of Pudding!
I pitched up at The Pudding Bar on time for a change, and was immediately handed a glass of Prosecco, and found myself in conversation with Oliver Whitford-Knight, co-founder with Emily Dickinson and Peter Cawston.
Oliver put across to me his vision for what the Pudding bar should achieve. That is, to provide a venue in the area where you can retire to after perhaps visiting the theatre, or any other event, and find a small oasis of relative quiet, where you can chat and drink and indulge yourself a little in what most of us would consider a significant element of comfort food…. Pudding!
I would have to agree wholeheartedly with Oliver, sometimes you want to be able to hear yourself think, and even sometimes hear what your friends have to say too! There are many raucous and vibrant, colourful and noisy places in Soho that you can lose yourself in, but fewer of the quieter venues perhaps?
The Puddings themselves are handled by Laura Hallwood, whose CV includes chefing for Gordon Ramsey no less! So one can expect a high standard! Laura started in catering at the tender age of fifteen, so despite her relative youth, she has great deal of experience and that showed magnificently in the dishes served up. The menu is short, and will be changed on a weekly basis, but as I discussed with Oliver, it will probably lengthen a little as time passes and favourites that cannot be removed from the menu take up their rightful place.
After chatting to Laura a little I headed upstairs and sat myself down in the 1950’s distressed chic room and awaited the puddings!
First up was the Lemon Parfait. Served with honey ice cream which was very light and subtle, the Lemon parfait itself was delicate, the meringue very good, crisp on outside and soft in middle, and was topped off with lemon candy. I was fortunate in that sitting alone, I had a complete dish to myself, unlike the other tables who were sharing. One would not have any cause for complaint about the size of the serving, as my stomach can attest for at the end of the evening!
The Eton mess was deconstructed, and I have no problem with that. It looked beautiful. Crushed white chocolate, beautiful meringues with black pepper and sugar and pepper shards. Strawberry mouse which was very light, clotted cream ice cream, very full bodied. The black pepper element is a stroke of genius and worked incredibly well with the sweet meringue and strawberry.
Choux buns: These were drizzled with caramel sauce and had two types of chocolate cream fillings, white and dark, topped with pistachio nuts. They were very rich and indulgent.
Finally, the S’more cheesecake. Peanut butter ice cream is not my natural choice, but like salted caramel, it’s a revelation when it hits your palate. The Chocolate cheesecake is smooth and rich, and topped with cocoa dusted meringue cream. Very sugary, but that’s the intention!
The only dish I missed out on was the Earl grey Panna cotta. But I cannot doubt it was every bit as good as the dishes I sampled judging by the coos and happy noises emanating from the tables around me who did sample it! All of the dishes were beautifully executed, just as you might expect from one of Gordon Ramsey’s protégés?
There are plans afoot to introduce wine pairings for the individual dishes as well.
The team at the Pudding bar have chosen a niche which is not well filled particularly as far as I can see? There is a place for this kind of establishment and I can’t see they have put a foot wrong anywhere in their approach. They deserve to succeed with this venture and I would urge you to head over to Greek Street and see what they are doing for yourself. You’ll be in for a very sweet surprise!
The Pudding Bar
26 Greek St
020 3620 4747