The Disappearing Dining club has been popping up in and around London for several years and they’ve now settled into their second permanent home, this time in Bermondsey, with a cocktail bar and dining rooms in LASSCO Ropewalk.
You may well be familiar with Maltby Street market which has been treating south London’s foodies for a few years now. Known in the area as the smaller, less touristy younger sister of Borough Market, every weekend on Saturday and Sunday, vendors line the spaces in between the disused railway arches, offering amazing street food options. If you’ve taken a leisurely stroll along the market you may well have come across LASSCO, the peculiar but beautiful warehouse space full of vintage goods for sale. Occasionally you may see a guitarist strumming in the doorway or diners devouring duck-piled waffles in the seating area, but it’s more likely that your eyes will immediately be drawn to the treasure trove that occupies this expansive space. Like an Aladdin’s cove, it’s filled with such an array of glorious goods that you may not know where to start, but making your way round the shop, you can find things such as vintage bath tubs, a horse skull, traditional Moroccan carpets, door handles, armchairs, original Victorian sinks, artwork, wooden ladders, tea towels, globes, taxidermy, old school desks – if you can dream it up, they probably have it and pretty much everything in the building is for sale. So when the Disappearing Dining Club announced this as their next permanent venue, excitement was already in the air. It seemed like the perfect home for their inventive food and cocktails and was true to their original ethos of creating exceptional dining experiences.
Though we may never tire of the traditional restaurant, we know there is more out there and we want a piece of it. London craves these kind of experiences and the DDC is happy to supply them.
Their permanent cocktail bar served an incredible array of original cocktails; prepare to be amazed as their mixologists whip up completely new concoctions with your favourite spirits. Not being a tequila fan, I was skeptical about their Aguadera Cocktail but I drank it at speed and soon requested another once I experienced how delicious it was. Whipped egg whites, English rhubarb, chilli and salt came together for a unique fruity taste which seemed to blend perfectly. Other cocktails served were a sweetly potent cognac drink and a gin-based Carpenters Cup. Delicious bites of beef carpaccio, curried crab and shots of Jerusalem artichoke soup accompanied these.
Diners were spread out over two spaces within the shop, sat on long tables which were quickly filled with a range of delicious and tempting plates. A huge sharing board was placed in front of us, with an array of starters. A Brick Lane Smoked Salmon was outstanding which went perfectly with the lemon crème fraiche and crisp pickled cucumber. The potted duck, with classic pairings of orange and black pepper was also memorable. Finally there was a deep-red coloured beetroot-cured smoked salmon which not only looked gorgeous but tasted exceptional. With big chunks of bread on the side, it was a great way to start the meal.
The main was generous portions of slow roasted pork belly, which came with sides of chroizo and anchovy Boulangerie (a French-style potato dish, similar to a gratin) and pickled Kale. A plate of pure indulgence; the pork was tender with crispy, crunchy skin and the creamy potato dish delivered a salty hit from the anchovies. More cocktails followed along with dessert boards of ‘eggy bread’ with raspberry compote. These were refined squares of delicious, sweetened French toast; light and fluffy with the sharpness of the raspberries cutting through.
The dinner was outstanding, but this is only what we expect from the Disappearing Dining Club. In this day and age, the menu is only a part of the event; we want multi-sensory experiences that thrill and enthrall us, wonderlands of visual surprises and quirky venues that do so much more than act as a backdrop. The DDC have chosen their new home very well indeed and so at home did we feel that we will certainly be back to enjoy a cocktail, another stunning dinner and perhaps pick up that bear skin rug we always wanted.