Wednesday 31 July 2013
Andy Oliver's Thai Grill @ Bar Story
Andy Oliver was a 2009 Masterchef finalist whose career has span from a six months stint in Bangkok's Bolan restaurant to running a street food van serving kanom jeen noodles and the more recent sous chef at Naamyaa. His latest venture is a temporary pop up grilling event at Bar story. Last Monday, a group of us decided to venture down south London to join a few southern folks and give this Thai grill event a go.
Bar Story is situated in one of the arches directly below Peckham Rye station and it has a rustic, nonchalant charm. The basic narrow indoor seating area along the bar opens up to a rather lovely beer garden, filled with bohemian south London crowds.
We were there from 6pm onwards as on the top of out list was the one and only grilled duck and so we got there early to reserved this. The feast began with a scorchingly hot grilled chilli relish. This had some serious bite to them and was the hottest dish of the evening and proofed to be a rather tantalising start. The homemade pork scratching were a nice little touch. Bo la lot, a Vietnamese style minced beef rolled in betel leaves were aromatic and well seasoned.
The Som Tam Thai were crunchy and refreshing and had that classic sweet, sour and salty balanced. It wasn't spicy enough for me, but then again I am accustom to chilli. My fellow dining companions on the night found this to be too spicy for them. So it's all boiled down to personal preference. But it's seriously good nonetheless.
Nam Prik Nuum - Roasted green chilli relish, served with soft duck eggs and homemade pork scratchings (£5)
Bo La Lot - Vietnamese style lemongrass beef in betel leaves (£5)
Som Tam thai - Bangkok style Green papaya salad (£6)
Chicken leg were juicy and packed with flavours, so good that we order three more portions of these (and everything else it would seemed, I've lost count toward the end). These were served with a sweet chilli sauce and a tangy dipping sauce. Mu ping were just how it should be, skewer of smokey pork with hints of charred fatty bites. Best eaten as soon as it arrived and piping hot.
Gai Yaang - Grilled chicken leg with two dipping sauce (£5)
Mu Ping - Grilled pork skerwers (£4)
Naem - minced pork and boiled pig skin, fermented with cooked glutinous rice - were lightly grilled and it's sweet, tangy and salty, simply scrumptious! A pity there weren't many portions of these as they were sadly all sold out by the time we tasted this and wanted more...
The same goes for the grilled whiskey marinated pork, another divine piece of pork heaven that we were unable to 'top up'. Sadly I can only console myself by mopping up the remaining sauce with some steamed sticky rice. These were £1 each portion, but free when you order a couple of dishes.
Naem - Fermented pork, cabbage, peanuts and ginger (£5)
Mu Yaang - Whiskey marinated pork shoulder with chilli and garlic (£5)
Both the seafood options were good enough to rival the meaty options. Fresh whole sea bass were stuffed full of fresh herby goodness and grilled to it's blistering glory. Crispy scorched skin and soft flaky flesh, served with a zingy nam jing dipping sauce made with fish sauce, green chilli, garlic and coriander. The sweet juicy prawns were marinated in turmeric and coriander before grilled. These too, were a delight, although I would gleefully paid more for some jumbo size prawns. And in true Asian style, the severed heads were devoured of all it's unctuous goodness....*audible sucking noises in the background*
Pla Yaang - Stuffed seabass with seafood nam jim dipping sauce (£12)
Gung Kamin - Turmeric prawns (£4)
Pièce de résistance of the evening was Pet yang - the ultimate grilled duck. A truly magnificent beast this was. The meat was tender and moist, and the golden bronze skin was smokey with moreish caramel sweetness, most definitely worth getting in early for.
Pet Yaang - Whole grilled duck, served with a special jaew (£25)
Overall, everything we had on the evening ( and I do mean everything off the menu) were delicious. For me personally (and I do like hot food), some of the dishes can do with upping the chilli heat a notch or so. Although the weather were not on our side as there were some on/off serious downpour during our feast but hey ho, what's a good British BBQ without some rain to go with it, eh? And this was an excellent piece of grilling feast. By the end of it, we were happy and not at all dampened by the weather, just show what good food can do to you.
The pop up is on every Monday evening from 5pm onward but do get there early to avoid any disappointment. Some of the dishes do sell out rather quickly, especially the specials. There are only three weeks left to this pop up so hurried down to Peckham and try for yourself. Follow Andy on twitter for any additional info and the latest menu.