Have you ever had a Proustian moment? That brief ‘taste memory’ based on the childhood memories that come to the narrator of Remembrance of Things Past. Well, I had that moment this Thursday when we went out to dinner at one of our favourite places in town, Field & Green.
For Wellington on a Plate, the restaurant has taken on the identity of Brick Lane in London’s East End. As it says on the website:
Spitalfields has been home to refugees since the 17th century, from the French Huguenots to the Irish, the Jewish East Europeans, and Bangladeshi migrants. At its centre is Brick Lane where one such immigrant, Chef Laura Greenfield’s great grandfather, opened a Jewish bakery in 1905. Field and Green will celebrate it’s family heritage, as well as traditional local and migrant food, that has thrived along this vibrant multicultural street for hundreds of years.
The result is a wonderfully eclectic menu, of all sorts of dishes with different pedigrees, as you can see below. Kickshaws are small dishes in case you were wondering.
We started with the Dine Wellington Festival Dish, bread served with five ‘Brick Lane morsels’: French Huguenots – Cervelle de Canut, goat cheese spread; Irish – potted scrimps; the East European Jews – chopped herring; Bangladeshi – Kheema Pav, spiced minced lamb; and East End – Schmaltz, chicken dripping. Without a doubt my favourite was the chopped herring, fresh and full of flavour, and the first dish that triggered memories of home made herring dishes. The potted shrimps were also really good, and Karl, who doesn’t eat herring, said the Kheema Pav was delicious.
I opted for the fish quenelles for my main dish, which were lemony, tasty and somehow reminiscent of something from childhood, though goodness knows what as I certainly did not eat quenelles! Karl had the cholent, which looked (and tasted) really excellent.
But it was the dessert that really triggered the Proustian memory. Lemony, light, with the right amount of sultanas, it reminded me so much of the cheesecake we used to sometimes buy for a treat from the Polish deli on Saturdays. It was just perfect, and such a lovely way to end dinner.
Verdict: I loved this meal. Memories, flavours, happiness on a plate. A truely wonderful dinner.
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Oh, wonderful! The power of food and memory. So beautiful expressed.
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Thank you! It was one of those moments.
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