A fine dining pop-up bringing high end dishes to the masses
Perilla @ Platform1, East Dulwich Review
Perilla’s team has a strong pedigree with previous employers of London based friends Ben Marks and Matt Emmerson including the likes of Noma, The Square, Polpo and Polpetto.
Last year, Perilla enjoyed success as a pop-up and are now over a month in to a 4 month residency at Platform1 in East Dulwich.
Ben is the Chef part of Perilla and has created a menu drawing on his experience in Michelin starred kitchens under the guidance of Rene Redzepi and Phil Howard. Matt is front of house and between them Perilla is about making fine dining accessible, affordable, lively and informal. Dishes are fresh, seasonal and focus on often overlooked produce.
Platform1 itself is pretty new and will rotate kitchen residencies every four months. Run by local girl Chloe Gounder-Forbes, Platform1 is devoted to growing and has its own micro-herb and veg garden, which is maintained on a grow-to-order basis from our kitchen and bar. There are homemade steeps behind the bar and the wine list focuses on rare, forgotten and indigenous grape varieties.
We started with a couple of cracking cocktails including a Smokey Negroni made with an aged Tequila and then made our way through a few delicious recommended wines. The front of house team are all superb here, whether you’re speaking to the Platform1 team about wine and cocktails or Matt about the food there’s plenty of knowledge on show.
Perilla offer an a la carte menu but Mrs Foodie Brighton and I both went for the very reasonably priced six course tasting menu at £35 as it had everything we wanted to try on it.
First up was Roasted Kale with Cod Roe, which was super crispy, savoury and rich like a more refined, pimped up crispy seaweed you might have for your local Chinese takeaway.
Next was a boned out Crisp Chicken Wing stuffed with mushroom, which came topped with a shard of chicken skin. This was a tasty mouthful but lacked any real wow factor for me.
Our third course was a Fried Duck Egg with mussels & lovage, which is where the meal started to come to life. Beautifully presented and with the lovage served as a sauce, this was a lovely dish with plenty of flavours coming together with that rich egg yolk.
The Pot Roast Cauliflower with curd & lardo which turned up next was equally delicious and equally pretty too. Mrs Foodie Brighton and I are massive cauliflower fans and this was a great plate of food with texture and flavour galore.
We were expecting pork next but a Whole Baked Mackerel with marinated cucumbers turned up instead. Matt was keen for us to give this dish a try on the house and I’m very happy he did! The presentation was simple but intriguing as it looked an absolute nightmare to eat with the mackerel wrapped in wafer thin slices of cucumber. Luckily, plenty of time, skill and effort had gone in to deboning the fish leaving us with the simple task of chopping it up and enjoying the balance of flavours on offer.
Grilled Pork Collar with kale & cavolo nero did arrive next and was another great dish, possibly my favourite because of the standard of cooking on the pork itself. Juicy, tender pork with plenty of flavour married well with the roasted chard puree, crisp kale, poached apples and rich cavolo nero sauce.
I haven’t seen sauces like this and the lovage sauce from earlier before but they both work incredibly well and add to each dishes flavour and aesthetic.
The last dish on the tasting menu was a great way to end. The Poached Pears with soft herbs and creme fraiche were bright and refreshing with hints of herb and shavings of frozen creme fraiche in floating in the chilled poaching liquor.
Annoyingly, we had overstayed our two hour slot and were asked to move to the bar if we wanted anything else. I understand that some places like / need to do two sittings a night but being asked to move is always going to be annoying.
We swapped places with the couple waiting at the bar for our table and ordered the Vacherin Mont d’Or along with a couple of glasses of stunning Auslese dessert wine. The cheese comes as a molten pool with some impossibly thin slices of fruit and nut bread. Tasty stuff but some way of stopping it solidifying on the plate would be a nice touch.
I have to admin, I didn’t particularly like Platform1 as a venue. The tables were too close together and it definitely feels like a bar, not a restaurant. Having said that, the staff are top notch and their knowledge and passion for what they’re doing is plain to see.
All in all the food Perilla are putting out hits their own brief. The dishes are interesting, exciting and display plenty of technique and skill and a six-course tasting menu for £35 really does make dishes of this quality more accessible to the average punter.