Monday, 5 July 2010

Creepy Crawly Pop-Up Canapé Kitchen

By Laura Collins

Living in London, I’ve been subjected to some rather bolshie crowds when attempting to board the underground in rush hour; being a girl, I’ve experienced the odd scuffle during the January sales; I’ve even been known to throw myself into the odd moshpit or two but nothing quite prepared me for the swarm of passersby this latest pop-up creation attracted. People turned into vultures right before my eyes – something I found rather surprising when scorpions and crickets were on the menu.

That’s right, Carnaby Street played host to London’s very own Creepy Crawly Pop-Up Canapé Kitchen, which served insects to brave bystanders. To take the sting out (sorry!) the bugs were covered in tasty toppings and astoundingly they went down a dream. The people of London couldn’t get enough of the crispy critters and all the exotic fare on offer. The canapés literally flew off the serving trays. In fact, all the food was devoured and the plates were wiped clean within just half an hour.

Launched by the catering specialist London Kitchen, the creepy crawly pop up event offered a range of different dishes. For the more intrepid visitor, there were Thai style crickets with coriander and coconut cream and chocolate dipped scorpions with a white chocolate and chilli fondue. For the less brave, there were specialities such as ostrich nicoise, tandoori rabbit and bison carpaccio as well as mini Yorkshire puddings and ham.

I fell into the ‘courageous’ category. Having tasted scorpion and various other oddities during a previous trip to China, the thought of tucking into a cricket wasn’t something that alarmed me so I took a deep breath, squeezed into the crowd and delved right in. It was definitely a case of mob rule – if you can’t beat them, join them.

The insects I had feasted on before were deep-fried so tasted more like burnt crisps. This time though, they had a topping and turned out to be extremely flavoursome. I would even go as far as to say they were enjoyable and had the plate not have been emptied within minutes, I would have gone back for seconds...probably thirds.

It’s fair to say the Creepy Crawly Canapé Kitchen was a pop-up event that worked. The class of catering provided by London Kitchen was top notch and the company’s MD, Damian Clarkson, really proved his repertoire. Having catered for some of the world’s most famous faces in the past - the Queen, Tony Blair and The Rolling Stones - there was no way his grubs were going to be er....grubby!?

Damian’s daring dishes will ‘pop-up’ throughout London for one hour on every Thursday in July. The next one will emerge somewhere in the city on 8 July before heading to Covent Garden on 15 July and Chelsea on 22 July. Be prepared for crowds though and when the food comes out, don’t be sluggish (sorry again, couldn’t resist it!).

To read more about the Creepy Crawly Pop-Up Canapé Kitchen in London, click here.

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