Two Cats Kitchen is definitely in my top 5 dining experiences, like, ever. The food there makes me squeal with delight (quite literally); the textures and flavours are so unexpected (yet obvious at the same time), each mouthful is a little morsel of joy. With a 7-course taster menu, that’s a lot of little morsels. The restaurant is known for it’s ‘New Baltic’ fayre using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Simple ingredients + curious (and talented) chef = EPIC DELICIOUSNESS. I can’t explain how half the things were cooked or created, but I sure had fun trying to work it all out as I ate.
When I visited for the first time last year, I left with a warm and fuzzy feeling. The 2 dishes that stuck in my mind: this wonderful lamb that was so pretty and pink, and a desert that comprised of sorrel leaves, granita and granola. I will never forget my first mouthful of the sorrel. I expected it to taste like spinach – it did not. The wonderful sourness and the ice-cold granita made it taste like a really grown-up deconstructed ice lolly. The granola, oddly, provided the creamy taste and texture. Who would have thunk?
A few weeks ago a friend heard that they were DROPPING THE BALTIC. WTF. We booked immediately. I called, gave my booking details in haste, and was then told about the un-Balticness – I admitted that I didn’t really care. Whatever they were going to serve, it was going to be delicious. I needed to experience it STAT.
The menu went something like this:
Sorrel, savoury granola, whipped cream cheese
Watermelon, shallot, olive, onion, mint and sumac
Cured mackerel, turnip, shisho, honey & marmite
Steamed octopus, chia, onion and ponzu
Pork neck, asparagus and wild garlic
Rhubarb, cognac, tarragon, ginger and pepper
Chocolate, dried elderberries, brazil nuts, dark rye and lemon balm
I love the simplicity of this menu. No fancy words, no fuss. My favourite courses were the steamed octopus, pork neck and rhubarb. The octopus was soft and succulent (can octopus be succulent?) topped with a crispy sheet of chia seeds; the texture and taste of which oddly reminded me of fried salmon skin. The textures and flavours complemented each other so well – the healthy ‘salmon skin’ really brought out the taste of the sea. The pork neck was completely out of this world; cooked in a sous vide for 24 hours then fried quickly in a hot pan, the texture was melt-in-the-mouth with just the right fat-to-lean-meat ratio. Yes, I think I just said ‘fat-to-lean-meat ratio’. The wild garlic that it was served with was superbly pungent without being too sharp or overbearing (although I could taste garlic for the rest of the evening). The rhubarb. Oh my days the rhubarb. It was crunchy, sharp and really cold. Not really how it’s usually served. I could not get over the texture – imagine celery (actually, don’t, it’s the food of the devil) but sharp and juicy. Apparently it had been sealed in a vacuum pack with sugar to ‘cook’ the rhubarb. This was the course that made me squeal with delight; such an unexpected surprise.
Would I go there again? Hell yes. But probably not for a season or two when there are new flavours to try. At £49 for 7 courses (an additional £10 if you want to add a cheese board) it isn’t the most expensive or fancy of tasting menus. But then that’s not really what the Two Cats are about. However, it’s worth trying if you want to entertain your culinary senses.
Did I say ‘delightful’ enough in this post? Probs not.