Culinary | Fodder pop-up
It’s Saturday morning, and chef Michael Thompson is knee-deep in foliage. He’s pointing to a lush, green patch of wild garlic. The smell is glorious.
He’s out sourcing inspiration for his menu for ‘fodder’, a supperclub he’s putting on with Borough Wines for three nights this June. Michael has an impressive CV – the kitchens he’s worked in include the Grovesnor House Hotel, Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social, and, most recently, with Simon Rogan at Fera @ Claridge’s. He’s just left his position with Simon to have a shot at going solo. fodder is his debut.
Working with Simon Rogan has influenced the chef massively – he’s big into foraged, wild foods and seasonality. Though his cooking is skilled and complex – the cheffy tricks and clever twists are numerous – it’s not fussy. He likes to let the quality of the ingredients sing for its own supper, and so is extremely selective with his producers and suppliers. For fodder, he’s stuck to the most local produce he can get his hands on in a celebration of the wonderful things we can find close to home. This ethos doesn’t stop with the food – he’s also roped in Hackney-based Clay Collective to create a bespoke collection of hand-crafted dishes for the pop-up.
A personal favourite from the menu includes a crisp, deep-fried oyster, sitting on a bed of spiralised kohlrabi swimming in tangy apple kombucha, the sharpness of which cuts through the salty, fried oyster. Then there’s the dessert, which I guess you could say is a kind of deconstructed pavlova, but unlike any pavlova you’ve ever had before. Michael has created a malty, caramelly meringue using stout and molasses, which is served with strawberries dressed in a pepper syrup, goat’s curd and lemon verbena snow. The star of this dish is undoubtedly the Cambodian long red peppercorn, an unusual ingredient Michael has sourced through befriending a Clapton pepper dealer.
Michael is the second chef in Borough Wines’ Chef Development Series, a string of pop-ups that will run in their new private dining space Borough Below in the basement of their Essex Road branch. Before Michael’s fodder, The YBFs winner Adam Rawson opened the space with Sakura, a tasting menu inspired by his travels in Japan. Both Michael and Adam are innovative, restlessly creative chefs who have set a high standard for the future of the series – if they are anything to go by, the pop-ups in this space will always be worth a visit.
Fodder runs on 15th, 16th and 17th June. Tickets are available here.