Roll mops. Go on, say it out loud. Roll mops.
It’s ugly isn’t it?
It just doesn’t sound like it would be a lovely luscious, multi-dimensional morsel to pop into your mouth. So for a long time I’ve harboured a prejudice against rolled pickled herrings, popular staples in the dark Skandi world.
I’m still not sure I actually like roll mops or just roll mops made by Dominic Chapman and eaten in the glamorous surrounds of Kensington’s beautiful One-O-One restaurant. But one of the pleasures of a tasting menu is that you often find yourself nibbling things you’d never otherwise order. At last week’s “super-chef mash up”, the Beehive’s Dominic Chapman and resident One-O-One chef Pascal Proyart, produced a stunning 8 course tasting menu full of dishes of extraordinary quality, roll mops being one of the surprising dishes.
So back to my new ugly friend, the roll mop. Dominic served them simply, with fresh horseradish cream and grassy chives. I somehow imagined they’d be ‘hairy’. They weren’t. They were sweet, savoury rolls of succulent fleshy fish with a fabulous contrasting acidity on the back palette. I think one of the problems with commercially produced pickles of any variety comes from the grade of vinegar used. It’s often cheap and nasty, swamping the flavour of the item it’s pickling. Not on Dominic’s watch. This roll mop served to be a wonderful amuse bouche, livening the palette and preparing us for the gorgeous 8 course tasting menu to come.
I’ve eaten at One-O-One restaurant before (see REVIEW here) so I knew I was in for a treat with Pascal Proyart’s cooking. It’s always inventive, always assured cooking, reflecting his years of cheffing and love of good produce. My favorite of his dishes in this collaboration sounds like a roll call of random ingredients or a shopping list from a Chelsea celebrity. It certainly showed off his exceptional technique and culinary skills as he crafted a unique, superbly balanced and surprising dish of scallops, foie gras, pink grapefruit, white onion purée, vanilla, carrot and langoustine. Unbelievably good.
Service is always charming and delightful and a special mention has to go to our professional but personable Scottish waiter with an Eastern European accent. He was just lovely. Oh, and the wine pairings need a post of their own. Terrific matches.
One-O-One often hosts guest chefs which is such a fab way to experience this elegant restaurant and Pascal Proyart’s brilliant cooking and championing of fine produce.
And remember, ugly is the new pretty. If you need me I’ll be sampling roll mops and other newly embraced delicacies.
*You probably worked out that I was a guest for this event. But I’m a bossy old cow and can’t be bought off with a few plates of (admittedly, gorgeous food) and a glass of (admittedly very good) wine. This is a true and factual account of my experience.
The Park Tower Hotel
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