Booking for pop-ups is a risky business, and when the Michelin-starred chef who had been signed up for Deluxe dropped out before it even began it seemed a little like we’d played our cards wrong. But we gambled on the affordable menu and the promise of a surprise at the end and came out winners.
Though ordering reindeer felt fairly Grinch following a day reading press releases about Santa’a Grottos, it was worth it; the thick, smooth slices were like a smoky bresaola and their saltiness went beautifully with the plump blackberries, which didn’t seem pickled at all but were probably the better for it.
Two plump, perfectly pink lamb chops came with chargrilled Baby Gem and a remarkably delicious pile of green veg. Why anyone feels the need to cook lettuce I will never know, as all it reminds me of the stewed leaves I used to have to pull out of the dishwasher in the caff I worked in aged 13. Peas and beans, on the other hand, should always be served like they were at Deluxe – mixed into a sort of onion and lamb stew and therefore meaty as well as healthy.
Pudding was good, too, though not as good as a generous cheese board that came with good crackers, strange chutneys and useless descriptions – ‘it’s a bit like Brie, but with an orange rind’. Service started brilliantly and lost interest a little by the end, but the surprise more than compromised for any niggles. Go, have a nice time, thank me at the end.
Deluxe (open until December 14 2014)
2 Ely’s Yard, E1 6QR, 020 3773 5419