Mr Lyan made big promises in his launch statement to make us re-think the boundaries between food and drink and merge the two. We admit, we thought it all sounded potentially pretentious, yet visiting in its first week of opening, we are totally charmed and intrigued. The food is incredibly pure tasting and thought-provoking and not as weird as we expected. Dare we say it, the food is so much more appealing than our experience of the WastED pop-up at Selfridge’s earlier in the year. On our visit the tasting menu is entirely vegetarian, though this will change through the seasons. The interior is surprisingly cosy and intimate with so on-trend yellow PVC banquettes – sustainability is all, and the staff are utterly delightful and dedicated – we find ourselves talking literature with intense, budding novelists as much as food. Yes, the music is good too: a mix of funk and soul.
We immediately start reminiscing about how much the whole vibe reminds us of eating at Copenhagen’s Noma back in its early days and that is a huge compliment. It turns out that Doug Mcmaster worked at Noma and St John too. Ingredients are foraged, fermented and scorched. In place of flowers, there are herbs on each table in turn made from up-cycled yoghurt pots. The sustainable, no waste message is constant, yet not in one’s face.
Credit: Kim Lighthorn
What makes it totally different is there isn’t a separate bar and kitchen, all courses are prepared and served from the chef’s pass in full view of us perched in the tiny restaurant.
It would spoil the sense of surprise to describe every dish in detail and they will change, but here’s a flavour. First up is a cocktail of Krug Champagne with a water jelly spiked with herbs: decadent, delicate and refreshing. Later, Mr Lyan gin is mixed with fermented carrot and miso, is it a drink or a broth? Either way, it plays on bitter, tart and sweet flavours. Chervil root with red apple, turbo (whipped) whey and miso, a dish with plenty of crunch and masses of umami is a completely original ingredient combination that sings. We’re blown away too by a dish layering baby king raw oysters, duxelles and mushroom broth. Each component is carefully considered and has beautiful clarity. Desserts too blend beverage and food. A tea cocktail precedes buttermilk ice-cream served in a tiny cup with a pool of woodruff infused oil and layers of rhubarb.
Cub's mantra is to produce delicious, creative food, and not destruct the planet as they go and show luxury and low waste can co-exist. Bravo! The team grow their own ingredients and go way beyond being merely local and in season. It is accessible, honest and modern. Is this the future of dining? We certainly think so and look forward to seeing how it evolves.
Price: £££ Set menu £55.00 per person. A cocktail and a couple of tasters from the menu around £26 per person.
Booking: click here to book. The restaurant only seats 36.
|What||Cub, restaurant, Shoreditch|
|Where||CUB, 153 Hoxton St, London, N1 6PJ | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Hoxton (overground)|
07 Sep 17 – 07 Sep 18, Open Thurs-Sat only