Cuisson – a company well-known for adopting a creative approach to the trendy pop-up concept has brought its Michelin-trained chefs and innovative cooking techniques to Borough Market for the newest POPdown, an Asian inspired interactive pop-up restaurant and dining experience.
Taking over two floors on the corner of Cathedral Street, overlooking the hustle and bustle of one of London’s most exciting food markets, Cuisson’s POPdown features three rooms of culinary theatre. From Japanese small plates,cocktails and snacks to a 5-course tasting menu and multi-sensory video menu, the offering at POPdown at Borough Market is a welcome temporary addition to the area.
Located on the ground floor of the venue and where guests arrive for the special 5-course dinner is Cuisson’s very own Ikigai bar , which lives and breathes by the Japanese philosophy “a reason for being.” Craft beers and wines as well as bespoke cocktails designed by Cuisson’s head bartender are available alongside inventive small dishes and bar snacks, which aim to showcase and highlight the very best of Borough Market.
Upon arrival we were seated in the bar with other groups of guests who were there for the 5-course dinner. After sampling some of the delicious cocktails of which highlights include a whisky sour and a shoga punch we were invited upstairs where 2 large communal tables awaited us. We found this a fun way to enjoy the experience with other enthusiastic foodies; although if you are not the social type then conversing with your neighbours is not mandatory. The Asian style seasonal 5 course tasting menu is inspired by the market traders and changes accordingly – each table housed a copy of that evenings menu. Facing the two large dining tables was a chefs table where all of the evenings food was prepared in front of the diners.
To begin we were served prawn wonton with tomato and chilli and although very small (one prawn each) it’s flavours were delicious and served to whet the appetite for what was to come. Next up was a Ceviche with yuzu, soy and wasabi – the sweet tasting yuzu acting as the perfect off-set against the other bitter and spicy ingredients. The next course was a palate cleansing plum, cucumber and citrus style salad. For this course diners were invited to get hands on and help create some of the food with the skilled chefs. This was a fun addition to the evening and really demonstrated what Cuisson and POPdown are all about; social and immersive dining experiences.
Next up was a beautifully rich and pink honey glazed duck with hazelnuts followed by a main course of buta shoga yaki. For this dish a pork loin is expertly crafted with onigiri, picked cabbage and beansrouts. Admittedly, I am not an Asian dessert enthusiast but the final course of coconut, kaffir lime and pineapple was a nice and light end to proceedings.
POPdown offers great Asian food served in a fun and interactive environment which benefits from a superb Borough Market location. It is definitely worth the £45pp and is around until January so check it out whilst you still can.
Words by Jack David