Sunday, 10 October 2010

Meemalee's Kitchen Goes Large: The Burmese Pop Up

Do you know Meemalee's Kitchen? If not, why not? It's one of the most entertaining food blogs I read. Go and subscribe immediately! It's written by a dear friend of mine who describes herself as a "food fraggle" and is currently writing a Burmese cookbook.

Recently she did a Burmese Pop Up Restaurant at Mat Follas' The Wild Garlic in Beaminster, Dorset.

MeemsPopup-3936 MeemsPopup-3937

Pete and I went to show our support. And also because I'm a greedy cow and fancied some of her delicious Burmese cooking.

MeemsPopup-3940
Meems in the kitchen

Pete and I shared a table with Mattmoo, his wife Jacqui, Nick and his Mrs Emma. Starters and dessert were served individually. Mains were served family style.

MeemsPopup-3939
The menu

I completely forgot to take pictures of the slightly sweet and juicy christophene fritters (also known as cheyote), the deliciously crunchy matpe bean fritters (also known as urad or black gram dal) and the wonderfully smoky charred tomato salsa.

MeemsTrial-3857
A photo of the matpe bean fritters from Mimi's trial run night

We didn't see much of Meems as she was hard at work in the kitchen, preparing the food for a full restaurant of hungry and eager diners. The atmosphere was buzzing with lots of loud chatter and laughter and many positive comments and exclamations about the food.

MeemsPopup-3955
Meems peeking out from the kitchen

MeemsPopup-3942
Wood-ear mushroom and bean-thread vermicelli soup

Next came the soup, prettily presented with it's quail egg garnish and with a kick of heat to the back of the throat. The textures of the unfamiliar mushrooms and vermicelli noodles made this a very interesting dish.

MeemsPopup-3947
Green bean salad, century egg salad and fish ball salad

From left to right on the plate were green bean salad, century egg salad and fish ball salad. The green beans were mixed with a crunchy peanut sauce. The century egg was dark green and sulphurous but balanced by sweet tomato, onions, herbs and a Burmese dressing. The fish balls were combined with noodles, leaves and crunchy fried curls. Again, lots of new and unfamiliar flavour and texture combinations.

MeemsPopup-3952 MeemsPopup-3950
Nick, Jacqui and Matt; cinnamon chicken curry

Mains of cinnamon chicken, mogok pork curry and tomato and coriander prawns were served family style along with a simple side dish of straw and oyster mushrooms with baby spinach, a Burmese coleslaw of shallots, onions and cabbage and a shrimp relish. And rice, onto which Mat's team popped a flower and sprinkled a few micro herbs, the only sign of Mat's signature styling during the evening.

The cinnamon chicken was my favourite. Beautifully tender with deft and subtle spicing, it's aromatic flavours reminded me strongly of a cinnamon chicken curry my mum cooks which has influences from either Persia or Afghanistan.

Everything was very well received, not just by our table but by the entire restaurant. We could see people digging in all around us, though the sittings were staggered to make it a little easier for the kitchen team to cope.

MeemsPopup-3959
Coconut sorbet, tapioca milk and brioche

We finished with a dessert of coconut sorbet, tapioca milk and brioche which was another unfamiliar combination of textures and tastes. I rather liked it and was particularly intrigued by the way the sweetness of the coconut sorbet brought out the sourness of the brioche rather than the sweetness I normally associate with it.

MeemsPopup-3962 MeemsPopup-3966
Well-deserved applause; meeting her fans

After the meal, Mat brought Meems out to introduce her to the diners and she made a short speech before thunderous applause. The shy, exhausted but delighted Chef Meems then met and greeted some of the first (but hopefully not the last) people to put down their cash for her cooking.

MeemsPopup-3965
Left to right: Emma, Nick, Jacqui (obscured), Matt, Meems, Kavey, Pete

We had an absolutely wonderful evening and it's clear that the other diners felt exactly the same.

Well done, Meems – a fantastic achievement and the first of many. I can't wait for your next pop up, not to mention your Burmese cookery book in which I hope you will share the recipes above.

20 comments:

seasontotaste said...

Great write-up - sounds like a fantastic evening with amazing food! Hoping for another one closer to home as would love to try the food myself one day. Well done Meemalee's Kitchen! :)

The kitchen princess diaries said...

That looks fabulous. I especially like the sound of the fritters and the soup. I'm another one who would love to see her do a night closer to home.

Tuck said...

lucky that you caption your photos - the dishes look so exotic. Nice touch having the original Burmese on the menu too

Another reason to myself to get myself on a train to Dorset this winter.

TheFastestIndian said...

Hooray for Chef MiMi! All looks fab and particularly like the sound of the fritters- nice write up Kavey!

Lisa said...

Yes ma'am! I have Subscribed!
I always wanted to know what to do with christophenes, and now I do. Sort of. (another blog described them as looking like a) someone gurning or b) a bum! I cannot look at them in the same way now.)

Kavey said...

Seasontotaste, I think there are mutterings, very early stage, of one in London, keep your ear to the ground!

Kitchen Princess, the fritters were two of my favourites, really lovely. And yes, lots of interest here in London!

Tuck, this night was a one-off so you won't be able to try it at Dorset this winter unless Mat has picked up enough from Meems to recreate any of her dishes on his own! But there's talk of London popups!

FastestIndian, thanks and yes they were very moreish!

Lisa, great, you'll enjoy her blog, glad you've subscribed, it's really well written and entertaining as well as informative. Wish I could write with her sense of humour and lightness.

meemalee said...

*blushes*

Thank you, Kavey xxx

And thank you to everyone else for your lovely comments!

A London pop-up is definitely on the cards ^_^

@Lisa - hurray! I hope you like my ramblings!

catty said...

Sounds like an absolutely amazing night and Mimi looks great in the black chef's outfit :D

Sasa said...

Great review! Feel *almost* like I was there T_T And doesn't Mimi look cute in her black "whites"?

Su-Lin said...

Great to see some photos of the event! Good job, MiMi!

Food Urchin said...

Sounds like a brilliant night and well worth the trek on the 303 eh? ; )

Well done MiMi, looking forward to the next 'London' pop up!

Mat Follas said...

A really fun night for the kitchen too ... well done to MiMi and great to see you both again x

Kavey said...

Catty, she does look cute doesn't she?

Su-Lin, didn't take as many photos as I would usually, too busy eating, but glad you enjoyed!

Danny, that 303 trek was interminable, but yes worth it for the popup!

Mat, was great!

Kanga_Rue said...

Kavey please make MiMi do a London supper. I've been tweeting & following both your blogs so it would be great to meet. We might even be able to get @BoyWonder_UK's Aussie-Burmese best-friend/-man along! Just don't do it in November when nothing fun is allowed to happen while we're back home visiting family in Oz!

Going With My Gut said...

Sign me up for this potential London pop up please!

Wen

The Grubworm said...

This looks like a fantastic meal - full of different combos, textures and tastes. I'm intrigued by the century egg salad - i really need to try one of those sulpherous babies out.

Congrats to MiMi for what sounds like a massive success. Am waiting for the London version with bated breath.

Nicisme said...

Great write-up - looked like a great evening! Congrats Meemalee!

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

Looks like a fantastic evening... I agree a London pop up and cookbook should come next!

LadySG said...

Congrats on a great night, really enjoyed reading about it
x

Kavey said...

Kanga - am encouraging/ nudging but am sure Meems will do London popup... the demand is so HIGH!

Wen - we're petitioning Meems!

Aaron - I can't say I loved the century egg, though didn't hate it either. Some really liked it though!

Nicisme - thanks!

Sarah - yes, high time!

LadySG - glad you enjoyed the post.