On a cold Thursday evening, in the midst of a Tube strike, we made our way to the Blue Fin Building neighbouring the Tate Modern in Southwark. Hungry and excited, we were eager to try out the tasting menu from the latest restaurant to grace the area.
Originally set to launch in 2020, the pandemic had other ideas so Boiler and Company finally opened its doors this January.
An unassuming restaurant, don’t be put off by its interior. A manufactured industrial-feel, Boiler and Company looks less fine dining and more modern wine bar. But, once you’re seated for the tasting menu experience, you’ll soon realise that this place is special.
Head Chef and Great British Menu finalist Kerth Gumbs has created a dynamic seven-course menu influenced by his childhood on the Caribbean island of Anguilla.
Addressing the room before we began, Gumbs displayed a real, honest passion for his roots and the menu. So, after a short wait for a special guest, and a welcome whisky cocktail, we began the experience alongside three other tables.
Unlike most tasting menus, this one is paired with cocktails, and, believe us, it works. After a snack of beef tartare and small martini, we tucked into the incredible crab Johnny cake with scotch bonnet mayo and fish roe. Partnered with a whisky sour, the delicious sweetness of the warm bun married perfectly with the sharpness of the roe and spice of the mayo.
The whisky sour was the perfect pairing, too. However, as the course came to an end, we were encouraged by the waiter to eat the Sichuan pepper flower which floated on the drink’s surface. Described as spicy battery acid with a smirk, the flower is not one for the faint hearted. It did generate a whole load of laughter, but would avoid in the future.
One of our favourite courses has to be the hearty, yet flavourful, fish stew. Warming and delicious, the bowl worked well with the freshness and simplicity of the sliced octopus accompanying it. A performance piece, make sure your camera phones are out ready, as Chef Gumbs finishes off the meal in front of you with dry ice.
Another table favourite was the aged duck with tamarind, turnip and bitter leaves. Not on the menu, but the dish was joined by two small patties on the side. The duck was succulent and went perfectly with the bitterness of the garnish and the Negroni it was paired with.
Don’t be put off by the online menu, it truly doesn’t do the experience justice. Gumbs has created a passionate spread full of flavour and creativity. The thought, love and ingenuity gone into each dish is obvious and, in turn, helps establish genuine enthusiasm from everyone involved. A real joy, I urge you to join Gumbs on his culinary journey to the Caribbean.
Oh, the special guest was none other than Great British Menu presenter Andi Oliver. I think that says it all.
5 Canvey Street SE1 9AN