Last week the brilliant Felicity Spector did a piece about us in The Telegraph, and got us talking about smoked meat. 


It's one of the dishes we're most excited about on the new menu, carried out of our open kitchen and, just like the big signature sandwich at Joe Beef in Montreal, hand-carved to order. The dish is for sharing, and comes with freshly baked bread, and little mezze plates like whole roast cauliflower with tahini, whitefish croquettes, citrus kale and Iraqi blackened aubergine.



Because we grew up with and are most inspired by Montreal delis, Tel Aviv and from California, we put as much of these flavours in the cure which includes a little fragrant Middle Eastern notes like cloves and ras-al hanout, as well as bay leaves and sugar, salt and pickling spices. 

We get sent these dry aged short-ribs from Turner and George, full of gamey, meaty flavour, and they take on a redness and flakiness from the curing and smoking process. 



RIBS - who doesn't love ribs - are so much juicier and more peppery than brisket. We love brisket and we use it in other places in the restaurant but the pastrami short rib has a whole different level of juiciness.

Myles told us about the difference in curing techniques. In New York, and in London, with salt beef or pastrami, its wet-cured in a brine before being coated in black pepper and coriander. Then it gets smoked and steamed. 

But in Montreal’s delis, for their huge stacked sandwiches and smoked meats, they use a dry cure instead. Dry curing the meat gets the full flavour of the spices into the meat for much longer than you get with brining. It also gives the meat this delicious charred spiced crust like the barbequed meats in the Deep South, which the chefs can break up and fold through the softer slices of meat for contrast. The dry cure makes the meat a deep redness, and unlike using a cut like tougher brisket, the short-rib has this marbling and fat which makes it much more tender and juicy.”

We have been experimenting different approaches to curing, brining, flavouring the meat with different spices and cures, for a year and experimenting with different cuts and shapes. We cure the meat for 10-12 days before being slowly smoked over a mixture of apple, cherry and cedar woods for 12 hours, and rested before it is served. Sharpening those knives now, ready for service...





This is what we don't want to happen:

Apparently it happens to the best of them - and we aren't going to open next week as planned. 



After a hectic week here in Eggs HQ, we're sorry to say that we've had a construction set-back and we won't open on the 15th October. We just don't want to welcome you until we're absolutely ready for you. We've been so overwhelmed by the interest in our opening, we were featured in The Telegraph last week and Evening Standard yesterday.

We'll post our new opening date soon, we really can't wait to have you all eat with us.

We're open for bookings!

We're now taking bookings and are delighted to announce our 50% all food soft launch! Please sign up on our website to register to come along from dinner on the evening of Thursday 15th October to brunch on Sunday 18th October.

As some of you know, we'd originally planned to open doors next week but the works to restore our beautiful Grade II listed building from a shell without running water or electricity and soundproofing and restoring the garden have unearthed a few nasty surprises which pushed us back a few weeks.


The clip above is from a stop motion we've been making of the whole build - blog post to follow on some of the highlights of the whole process.

Have also had some lovely surprises during the build! Like these beautiful tiles and original floorboards, and a few other little details. More on that next time!

We've had a few lovely surprises during the build too - like these original tiles... 
...some of which we've salvaged and brought back to life... 
...and these original floorboards we've been busy polishing!

No. 93 Church Street


Copyright © London Metropolitan Archives.













































Much loved (by us) restaurateur Danny Meyer says that you should never open a restaurant more than five minutes from where you live. After weeks on tenterhooks - we're delighted to reveal that we just got the go ahead for our site, and it's our dream spot. 

Right in the heart of Stoke Newington, just a few minutes from our founder Joel's house. No. 93 Church Street. To celebrate our new doors - which will, all things being well, open this August - here's a few pictures our friend Amir (aka @historyofstokey) dug up, of No. 93 as it's appeared through the ages.


Copyright © 1980 Alan Denney. No. 93 is just visible on the right - as Wimbledon Sewing Machine Club.

Copyright © 1990 Derek Baker.
Research conducted by Derek Baker into the history of the site from 1910 to 1990.

Maynard's print advert 1951, source unknown.
Back when No. 93 was a gift store.
Nothing like fancy goods and bric à brac. And a bit of personal attention.


Copyright © 1990 Derek Baker.
No. 93's incarnation as A.R.Dennis - 'the bookies of distinction'.







Eggs Daffodil

I first read about this dish in Danny Meyer’s book Setting the Table. As the story goes:

We served a late night dinner party at Eleven Madison Park for about a dozen media people who included NBC's Tom Brokaw, the New York Times' R.W. (Johnny) Apply, Maureen Dowd, Todd Purdum, plus Purdum's wife, Dee Dee Myers, Bill Clinton's former press secretary. Following a marathon evening at the convention, they all finally sat down to a five-course dinner at eleven-forty-five. Before I left at one o'clock in the morning, I said, "If you folks stay long enough, we'll have to serve you scrambled eggs for dessert." And Johnny Apple, who's from Akron, Ohio, said, "I can tell you're a Midwest boy, probably attended a bunch of coming-out parties." I smiled. "In fact," I said, "it was by going to debutante parties as a nineteen year old in St. Louis that I first learned about eating scrambled eggs at two in the morning." "But I bet you've never had 'eggs daffodil'," he said. "That's the real thing."

He had me there. As I was leaving for the night, I said to my team, “You guys need to go online and figure out what ‘eggs daffodil’ are, and I want you to make sure to put a bowl of them on the table by two o'clock in the morning.” After all, if you believe that word of mouth makes the world go around, here were eleven people who had fairly big, powerful mouths. Googling “eggs daffodil” revealed just a vague description, but it was enough to inspire Eleven Madison Park’s chef, Kerry Heffernan, who improvised what he imagined eggs daffodil to be, creating an inspired recipe that included zucchini blossoms and cheese. They were brought out at two o'clock and served in a copper pot to Johnny Apple, right around dessert time, as the journalists were making some toasts. (Brokaw and Apple would soon be retiring and were each covering their last political convention.) The next day Kerry told me the eggs daffodil “blew them away.” 

Kerry loved the recipe - he had cooked the eggs and cream slowly, put them in a blender with some beurre fondue, and then gently heated them up again, stirring in some zucchini blossoms - and said he had decided to put it on our brunch menu. We had served a wonderful dinner as it was. But when Johnny Apple made that remark about "eggs daffodil." it was as if he had presented us with a rock with all kinds of life growing underneath it, and we were then able to tie the right fly to catch the fish.


Two years later, I saw Tom Brokaw at a dinner party, and he told twelve other people the story of eggs daffodil. Ask Johnny Apple or the others what they remember most about that evening's menu. I guarantee it's the eggs daffodil. 
After a bit of digging I discovered there are many variations - and most in fact use courgette blossoms. 

Courgette flowers have been in season for a few weeks in the UK now. They're amazing looking things with a delicate flavour. You can pick them up at farmers markets and good fruit and veg shops. We bought ours from Natoora whose produce is always exceptional.



The basic idea is to make 'a very soft scramble of butter with eggs, zucchini blossoms, scallions and Comte (Gruyere) cheese'. (Louis Rousseau).
After a quick rinse under cold water, take out the stamens, and then with scissors snip them into rough strips. Fold the courgette flowers, heritage tomatoes, radish tops and some gruyere into buttery scrambled eggs just as they are browning. Top them with lots of parsley and chives and serve with homemade caraway rye sourdough toast.
The resulting scramble is elegant and rich  - ideal on a bright summer morning with a glass of juice (or Prosecco!). And we haven't tried them at two in the morning... just yet.




Gefiltefest: sabih, challah and pickle

We had a brilliant time at our favourite Jewish food festival, Gefiltefest, last Sunday. I joined "The Ashkenazi Fightback", a talk chaired by our good friend (and now shareholder!) Felicity Spector, alongside Louis Solley from Jago and Mark of Monty's Deli. 

Conversation centred on the growing influence and rise of Jewish - specifically Ashkenazi - cooking in London restaurants. The talk ranged from our own inspirations, to the Ottolenghi diaspora and the challenges and aims we each bear with our respective projects. 

After that I dashed downstairs to meet Alex who was just setting up in front of a room jam packed with people ready for our demo, which, of course, was focused on bread, eggs and pickles. 

We made, plaited and baked a sweet and light Challah, showed the audience how to knock up their own pickles - and used them to add a bit of zing and crunch to our favourite Tel Aviv street food Sabih (an aubergine and egg pita with spicy zhoug, mango pickle and tahini sauce). 



To finish we used the freshly baked challah to cook up challah French toast - the perfect American-Jewish desert.

Alex and I did a reasonable job of making and plaiting the challah which was no mean feat - a process that Oded, our head pastry chef, usually keeps watchful eye over. The audience were delightful and really involved - which definitely helped.


We proceeded to devour treats outside in the courtyard - from our friends Hansen & Lydersen, new Shakshuka street food stall Shak, and Zest, the restaurant run by Ottolenghi disciple Eran Tibi. Massive thanks to Nicki, Ella and the whole team Gefiltefest for organising such a great celebration. 

Olives and Blackacre

This is part 4 of our series, A Trip South West.

On our third morning of travelling, we raced (as fast as we could in the old camper van) to Olives et Al in Dorset for lunch in the sunshine at their little cafe on site. They were genuinely some of the best olives we’ve ever tasted.



Giles was a pretty inspirational guy to meet and it was a pleasure to listen to him tell the story of how Olives et Al came to be. Some 20 years ago, Giles and his wife to be gave up their former careers and set off on two old motorbikes looking for an adventure. The trip took them through North Europe, Syria, Jordan, across the Allenby Bridge into the West Bank and Israel, Cairo and Libya. Their adventure lasted about a year and the pictures that are peppered around the Olives et Al offices tell the tale.



Giles and Annie returned to Southampton and in the sway of post travel blues, set up camp in the garden. They went to the local shop and bought some olives recreate the life they had grown accustomed to that year. The olives were apparently disgusting, nothing that resembled the Olives they had enjoyed on their trip. It was at that moment that they decided they needed to bring olives into the country and that's how it all began.


Back on the road and after an hour lost in the Dorset countryside, we reach Blackacre Farm.



Blackacre is a small family farm run by Dan and Briony Wood. They weren't really expecting us - Giles had only suggested us to meet them a few hours previously - but nonethless kindly welcomed us in. Dan put us in his Land Rover and drove us up to see his hens. Blackacre is a much larger operation than the Dave and Wendy's, but still only sizely enough for them to ensure the well being of all the animals.

So we got to meet more happy chickens - the hens looked really healthy and had a huge amount of land to roam, dig and socialise in.




Blackacre is also home to many ducks and quails. The quails' eggs were delicious - did you know that each quail lays a uniquely patterned shell, so that the bird can pick them out? 




As the sun set we hit the road back to London, fresh faced, inspired, excited to get back to the kitchen - and, thanks to the openness and hospitality of all the folk we dropped in to see, with a real sense of the kind of the production we want to support, the kind of produce we want to work with every day. 

Cider, Meat and Eggs

This is part 3 of our series, A Trip South West. 

Next up, we drop in on Cornish Orchards Cider. It’s always a pleasure to meet people so knowledgeable about what they do. Head cider-maker Chris Newton had a wealth of insight on all things apple related.

The operation at Cornish Orchards was huge. After a quick tour Chris introduced us to Margaret, who was ready and waiting back at the farm shop. It was time for the all important taste test. Margaret talked us through the different ciders, all of which were delicious, but it was the vintage cider that really impressed. It was crystal clear like a white wine, with a complex taste, far removed from anything you might expect from a cider. 

  

Cornish Orchards are clearly growing but they seem to have kept their ethos strong. Maybe this is because of the people at the heart of the project - Margaret, Chris, and long standing local staff who are clearly so passionate about the company and their product. They sent us off with a little box of ciders to enjoy that evening. 

Next up, a trip to Philip Warren the butchers in Launceston, well known by London's restaurants for their expertise in sourcing and dry ageing meat. It was great walk around their ageing fridges and talk to Ian (part of the Warren family) about the different native and rare breeds they farm themselves and source from the small hillside farms of Devon and Cornwall. Warrens can dry age meat in their fridges for as long as a restaurant specifies, which makes for really big flavour. Our final stop of the day was a visit to Dave and Wendy, introduced to us by Matt from the Cornwall Project. We arrived at the farm quite late in the day, but the animals were all still grazing and the chickens were not yet home in their sheds. We wandered about the field as the sun was going down.They must have about 150 hens and almost all seemed to be out of the shed digging for worms, flicking dust on their backs, feeling curious – so clearly healthy and happy.That night we drove up the coast to Sidmouth. With kale and white sprouting broccoli from Sean, huge fatty steaks from Warren’s, half a dozen eggs from Dave and Wendy and a bottle or two of cider from Cornish Orchards, we were all set to camp.By the time we were setting up, night had fallen and we found ourselves scrambling around in the black, freezing night trying to light a fire. Once the fire had taken, Joel cooked up all the veg and a steak for each of us and topped with some Cornish butter and a fresh egg. Cooking fresh food on a fire with your friends, and the gentle sound of the sea in the distance - unbeatable really.


The Modern Salad Grower

This is part 2 of our series: A Trip South West.

Matt from The Cornwall Project is setting up links between London chefs and the very best of Cornwall’s producers. That’s how we met Sean, the Modern Salad Grower




Keveral farm is a community growing project, which operates alongside others in the area. Sean is a salad grower there.


We spent hours wandering around the farms, with Sean constantly passing us back little clippings of his incredible micro-herbs, salads, flowers. There was so much variety in these little leaves and petals; some explosive, some subtle, citrus flowers and peppery salads.









Even between farms he’d spot something growing in the hedgerow that he wanted us to get a flavour of.


The last site Sean took us to was a field full of kale and white & purple sprouting broccoli – on top of a rolling hill, with a beautiful view of the ocean. Sean points out his home on a similar hill in the distance. Not a bad place to work and live! We're really looking forward to using Sean's amazing produce in our menu, and going back to visit him again soon.











A Trip South West: Poco + The Bristol Pound

A few weeks ago, Good Egg founder Joel and chef Alex went on a little trip down to the South West to meet some of our new suppliers, and stop in at places we'd be meaning to visit on the way. This is their diary.

Joel and I packed up the old VW Camper with a couple of changes of clothes, two friends, and Baxter the dog.



All set for the first Good Egg supplier trip of the spring. With 2 days full of appointments across the South West, we decided to get a head start, set off in the evening and spend the first night in Bristol.  First stop Poco, The Observer’s ethical restaurant of the Year 2014. They hold a 3 star Sustainable Restaurant Award, something we'd love to work towards. One of the Poco founders, Jen, has already told us all about the great work the SRA do and how Poco are implementing sustainable ideas into every part of their work. We were intrigued to see how a 3 star restaurant of this standard operated – and the menu looked great. The old VW Camper made it down to Bristol in good time and we hit Poco right in the middle of dinner service.

 The place was buzzing. We took Jen’s recommendation on what to order from the seasonal menu, drawn out on large black boards at the far end of the restaurant. Everything was delicious - my highlight was the deep fried mussels and the kimchi. Their April menu is now up online and they’ve been substituted for deep fried Oysters (which sound even better). At the end of the night we noticed a chef weighing the waste from the evening’s service on a fishhook. There was practically nothing in the bag. Poco was impressive on every level. Almost all of their waste is recycled, composted or reused somehow. I can't wait for the day we can string up a waste bag that small after such a busy service. An old friend joined us for dinner – Bristolian Michael Loydd-Jones. He’s part of the team that set up the Bristol Pound, a local currency encouraging local trade. Mikey is a great source of knowledge when it comes to sustainable economics. He gave me a copy of Felicity Lawrence’s book ‘Not on the Label’ which is all about where food comes from and production methods – if that's your thing, I’d really recommend it. 

Magic Breakfast


sweetie eggs.jpg

For a while now, we've been a partner to the lovely Magic Breakfast. They're a charity and they work to get nutritious breakfasts served up to kids in schools where more than 35% are on free meals. 1 in 4 of these guys are going into school hungry - or having eaten something like sweeties - which as you can imagine is a hard way to start a working day. 

We do workshops, cook alongs for children and parents - just trying to get everyone thinking about what a healthy breakfast might be, and how to make one cheaply and easily. A few weeks ago we did an assembly with the juniors of Mandeville School in E5. We had chat about what their favourite celebs have for breakfast (who knew Barack Obama was a muesli man?) followed by a cook-off style Omelette Challenge, between teachers, which the kids loved.

As well as this we're trying out coffee mornings with parents - our last we cooked up a Shakshuka demo, for fun, and got everyone to share ideas (and educate us!) about recipes that are affordable, but also that children will actually be keen to eat. 

So far we've worked with Mandeville and Princess May School - with plans to visit other schools in Stoke Newington and Hackney very soon.

It's definitely a learning process for us too as we work out what gets kids most involved. The team at social enterprise Year Here are helping us come up with an impact plan - a strategy to help us offer long term support and visits to quite a few schools. We'll keep you updated!

Appetizing


"An appetizing store has the mingling odors of salt, smoke, pickle and sweet," says Federman, who ran Russ and Daughters from 1978 until he retired three years ago. "So, all of that coming together makes for a unique sensory experience."
Joel Rose, writing for The Salt, tells the story of Russ and Daughters, an appetizing store on New York's Lower East Side. We love how this family-run delicatessen has become a world famous institution. They opened on the Lower East Side in 1914, and specialise in smoked fish and bagels of the highest quality.

Meal with a View

We’ve been working with Jack Graham to develop the curriculum for our School Breakfast Programme. His programme, Year Here, gets young grads to work in frontline jobs - homelessness shelters, care homes - and design solutions to social issues. This year they’re living and working in Poplar, one of London’s most deprived areas – and they invited us to cook up a kick-off dinner in Poplar’s brutalist Balfron tower.

We made roasted Jerusalem artichoke soup, Scottish coley roasted in the bag with Za’atar, fennel, olives and tomatoes – served up with Persian rice, and roasted whole cauliflower with tahini.  After that English Apple and pear crumble, with homemade vanilla custard.

The view up there was something special. 

 

On Stokey


"The Stoke Newington of the present era is a bright and animated, yet in parts restful place." The Metropolitan Borough of Stoke Newington official guide, 1928.

Stoke Newington Church Street is where we began our search over a year ago, and I couldn’t imagine opening anywhere else. We’ve been spending afternoons in Hackney Archives, digging out old maps of the area, and drainage plans (a precursor to planning permission). We asked @historyofstokey about the site - a post from him coming soon. 

We also found out Alan Denney has been photographing the area since the Seventies. The building next door to our site used to be Recorder House, the headquarters of the North London Recorder publication, with its beautiful handmade sign.