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SINCE first opening in late 2018, The Pop Up Kitchen in Lyme Regis has quickly built a reputation for hosting some of the best, up-and-coming chefs and producers in the region.
A tiny space limited to just five or six tables (and even less during a global pandemic), the shared space at the top of Broad Street was the idea of local caterer Ali McLoughlin – a place to showcase the best food and drink Lyme Regis has to offer in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The Pop Up Kitchen has become a springboard for new businesses that have added to Lyme’s flourishing foodie scene. Carlotta Paolieri and Annie Copplestone opened the popular Monmouth Pantry next door after building relationships with local producers during their fish tapas nights at the Pop Up Kitchen.
Chef Harriet Mansell, who has appeared on the BBC’s ‘Great British Menu’, opened her own restaurant Robin Wylde to great acclaim at the end of 2020, just a few yards across the road in Silver Street after huge success at the Pop Up.
Lyme’s latest restaurant to open doors, Tom’s on Marine Parade, also follows a successful run at the Pop Up for chef Tom Robinson and his wife Chelsea.
And – back before Lockdown 3 when eating out was still permitted – it was the turn of Goose and Badger to impress diners. Goose and Badger is the partnership of friends Joel Gostling and Andy Tyrell, who share more than 35 years experience in the hospitality industry, both having previously worked at River Cottage.
They say their focus and passion is working alongside local producers to bring customers the best quality and best tasting ingredients with a simple, no-nonsense approach.
That was certainly demonstrated at one of their last pop-up nights before Christmas, when I was invited along to sample their delicious six-course set menu.
Numbers were limited to just nine on the night due to social distancing measures, but this made for a great, intimate dining experience as Andy and Joel calmly prepared dish after dish – each more impressive than the last – in the tiny, open plan kitchen, while happily chatting to diners about their concept and suppliers.
We started with a glass of Dalwood 2017 vintage sparkling and decided to keep it local, ordering a bottle of the East Devon vineyard’s Madeleine Angevine, Solaris, Seyval Blanc to follow.
A selection of Andy’s homemade sourdough kicked things off, followed by ‘a gift from the sea’ – monkfish with tenderstem broccoli and ginger pickled radish.
We were then treated to a hearty vegetarian dish of squash dumplings with cep butter, sage and berkswell, served alongside a Trill Farm garden salad, followed by a lighter and refreshing dish of cured trout with grilled leeks, herbs and a soft boiled egg.
And we hadn’t even got to the main event yet – the well-aged beef with sticky sauce, caramelised shallots in wine lees with cauliflower and greens truly stole the show and left us fit to burst.
There is, however, always space for pudding and we selected Monmouth Pantry cheese, pickles, chutney and crackers to finish, but there was also a choice of baked malt loaf pudding with bramley apple and thick organic cream on the menu.
And to round off the evening, Joel and Andy sent us on our way with homemade miso caramels and cherry truffles for the road. Unlike their predecessors at the Pop Up Kitchen, Joel and Andy said they aren’t currently looking for a permanent premises, instead enjoying the flexibility the pop-up approach offers.
As well as serving up their six-course seasonal menus (priced £45 per person including a glass of sparkling wine) twice a week in Lyme Regis, they were also hosting Saturday nights at Soulshine Cafe in Bridport.
Unfortunately, due to lockdown restrictions, this is currently on hold but Goose and Badger have just launched a takeaway burger menu available every Wednesday to Saturday at Soulshine, 4pm to 9pm for pre-orders and pick-ups only.
The menu includes well-aged and grass-fed beef options, free-range chicken burgers and vegetarian and vegan patties. Search ‘Goose and Badger’ on Facebook or Instagram for more details or call 07762 211 074 to pre-order.