Like most people, I have an automatic affection for people who bring me food and drink. Whenever I enter a restaurant my enjoyment is on the table, ready and waiting.
For all of life’s ills, many of us lucky enough to be part of the bunch who can afford to occasionally go out to eat food cooked for us, and we do, we do so with a smile on our face. Given this, I believe that it’s harder to upset someone who has saved their money to go out than it is to please them.
“I think pop-up restaurants get a hard time in the press. You kind of wonder if the people writing about them have ever been to one.”
“It’s strange I know, but I really like working here. We’ve had all sorts of people who come, and they’ve all have an amazing time.”
I stare out of the window onto the bustling Kingsland Road.
“It’s like my beard. I’ve had my beard for a long time, but now it’s called hipster in the newspapers and they’re claiming it’s passe.”
“People will always find a way to hate on things they don’t take the time to understand.”
If the people are nice, and the food and drink is good, then I’ll always have a good time. If the waiting staff throw in a bit of wisdom and sympathy for my current beard quandaries, then I’ll have a great time.
52 Social, the collective behind the supermarket, The Grocery, in Shoreditch launched Chopsticks of Fury in April on Kingsland Road, London. It is bold, it looks brilliant, and you’re greeted by a dragon breathing fire from the ceiling (N.B. Not a real dragon, nor real fire) when you push open the swing doors. What else could you want?
I was there within minutes of it opening for the evening, but before long I was joined by a steady flow of excitable customers. From my vantage point on a cushioned seat facing the window, I browsed the menu and then people watched.
Pumpkin croquettes jumped out at me from the list of exciting looking starters that included crispy beef, steamed gyoza and sashimi salmon, amongst others. For my main I ordered the Kim cheese burger, with marinated chargrilled chicken, kimchee, smoked apple wood cheese, onion rings, in a brioche bun.
The rest of the mains looked sublime, but I suspected the more traditional Asian dishes would be their mainstay of goodness, and I was curious as to whether Chopsticks of Fury would be able to provide an edge to a dish that too often fails because of neglect in the shadow of its beefy counterpart.
The pumpkin croquettes were drizzled in okonomi sauce and mayo, and by the end of the dish I was seconds from licking the bamboo bowl, but an eagle eyed waitress saved me from my potential embarrassment and took it away from me. They were deep fried in breadcrumbs, and the puréed pumpkin was sweet and succulent as you’d expect. They tasted so fresh that I’d like to think they counted as one of my five a day.
To accompany my meal I’d ordered a cocktail, and a shot of the mango vodka that they produce on the premises, both of which were thrilling on the tongue.
My kim cheese burger came, and what a mighty beast it was. Piled high, it looked like it would me more than I could take, but it looked too good not to.
I have to confess that I couldn’t possibly find a way to eat a burger with chopsticks, though I did eat my croquettes with a pair. Instead I ate my burger as burgers should be eaten, with my hands. The chicken was marvellous and suffered from none of the dryness usually associated with the dish. The carefully chosen additions to the chicken, the kimchee and applewood cheese, in particular, contributed to making this a superb and easily recommendable dish.
From beginning to end my experience at Chopsticks of Fury was a pleasurable one. It has a great atmosphere, engaging staff and gorgeous food and drink – and I’m not just saying that because they said my beard is still in fashion.
Take a chance on a pop-up restaurant because once they’re gone then they’re gone. Chopsticks of Fury is open for another month and a half but that doesn’t mean delay, because the holistic experience of dining there makes it worth prioritising. Take a chance on a beard too. They’re still cool.
Pop-Up – Chopsticks Of Fury
52 Kingsland Road
London, E2 8AA