Best poutine ever? Little Social’s London pop-up showcases food and booze from Canada
- Credit: Little Social jason Atherton
Little Social is being transformed into a forest lodge every three months to celebrate the best of Canadian cuisine. Emma Bartholomew tries it out with a north American friend
I’d never have considered ordering a £32 plate of chips before sampling Little Social’s offering complete with truffle and foie gras.
It’s a staggeringly exquisite take on the Canadian national dish poutine - which is really the equivalent of a British curry.
Usually it consists of crispy chips and cheese curds topped with gravy. But here at Jason Atherton’s restaurant they’ve given poutine a special twist for a Canadian pop up which takes place every quarter.
The diner is given a rustic makeover with Canadian hunting and fishing nic nacs like an “old man logger’s saw”, antler chandeliers, a sled, sheepskin throws and a mounted deer head centrepiece. Truck number plates apparently represent all the territories – a nice touch for all the Canadians out there, and shows they’ve done their homework.
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You get the sense you’re in a high end well-weathered lodge tucked away somewhere in the northern forests of Canada - but in fact we’re just off Regent’s Street in the busiest part of London.
The idea is to pay tribute to head chef Cary Docherty’s Canadian roots – with a special menu featuring specially created cocktails and classics like tourtière, a traditional French-Canadian meat pie dish (£23.50).
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A spinach and artichoke dip (£12.50) has a lemony tinge and impresses my Canadian friend who I brought along as my resident expert.
Pork cheeks with a mega buttery mash for main course melt in your mouth (£27.50), and the creaminess of a mint and pea velouté compliments the roasted cod (£27), bringing to mind an East coast chowder.
Charming staff wear red checked shirts and the sommelier plies us with an incredible selection of Canadian wines, from a dry white Riesling to a red Pinor Noir.
Apparently Canadian wine used to be terrible but it’s undergone a revolution. My friend was really chuffed to be drinking Canadian wine for the first time in the UK - and also to see a Cave Spring Riesling 11, produced a five minute drive away from his parents’ home, served up with the poutine.
Most people don’t even imagine Canada produces wine with such a harsh winter climate. But that evidently gives a unique super sweetness to the Peller Estate Vidal ice wine (£24 a glass) when the grapes freeze on the vine in the Nigerian Peninsula.
Docherty has done a good job finding the best of Canadian cuisine to showcase.
“People don’t necessarily associate Canada with good food and booze, but the reality is we are awesome and that’s well represented here,” my friend concluded.
Check littlesocial.co.uk for details of the next date.