I’ve been a fan of Baked in Brick since the very first events. If you had took heed of my words during his first pop-up (when I suggested that you keep a firm eye on the man and the mini) you’ll know that the fifteen months since that pop-up have been eventful for Mr BIB himself, Lee Desanges, as he took the title of the country’s Best Street Food last September. Not wanting to miss out on his cooking, I popped along to Quarter Horse to check out the latest of his pop-up evenings, where he was showcasing the oven and grill on that red Mini of his to maximum effect.
The amouse we are served is a direct nod to that Street Food Finals victory. The winning beef shin calzone is represented as a tangle of the meat on a little disc of sourdough, all topped with a little stilton. It’s decadent and deep. It’s also very obvious why it took first place. Sharing the plate was a little chicken tikka and mango chutney; another nod to the wrap that was entered into the Best Dish category. I happen to think the wrap is as good as the calzone and judging by the reaction on the table I was not alone.
Wild mushrooms on sourdough toast is an exercise in the virtues of simplicity. The muddle of mushrooms are rich and earthy, enlivened with the aniseed whack of tarragon and a smattering of rarebit for comfort. The sourdough is well sourced from a bakery in Codsall and has a little chew. A slow cooked quails yolk is all the sauce it needs. It’s absolutely glorious. I will get him to make me breakfast one day (possibly post-coital. Probably not) and this is what I will insist on.
Shit. Jesusfuckingchrist. Not my words, but that of a fellow diner I had not met before as she bit into the steak sandwich. Her reaction was not overstated, the spider steak was rare but still had a little chew. The flavour deeply bovine. It was nestled on a cushion of dauphinoise potatoes with a little Iberico bacon and a splodge of béarnaise sauce. It is the ultimate steak sandwich, a clear warning shot to the steak houses of the city that he means business should he ever wish to find a permanent venue. A heritage tomato salad with a little burrata and dehydrated olive is all the respite we require. Seconds of the beef are offered with more béarnaise. Everyone in the room takes them.
I’ll forgo the menu description of the dessert for copyright infringement, though you may know it as the French term ‘doissant’ – a hybrid of the donut and croissant. Here it is given the full twist, piped with a vanilla crème patisserie, rolled in light brown sugar and brulee’d with the blowtorch. It’s filth. Total utter filth. I didn’t know whether to make love to it or eat it. That’s a lie. I knew exactly what to do. Seconds are offered. Everyone in the room takes them.
If you are not inclined to listen to my opinion, let me tell you about the dining room for this pop-up. Chef’s of serious pedigree, restaurateurs, major industry players, all paying to eat food cooked on the front of a mini. It’s astounding when you put that into perspective. They all know what I know, which is Lee’s cooking is up there with the best – he just happens to be doing it on the move, not from a permanent residence. The man I once said was going places has truly arrived. And only an idiot would miss out on it.
And now the plug; I am up for Best Food Blog at the forthcoming MFDH Awards, where Baked in Brick is up for Best Street Food. Please give us both a vote here http://www.mfdhawards.co.uk/vote-now/