Big city boys and girls, admit it, you all love playing the country bumpkin at heart. For all those longing for some countryside charm in the big smoke, head to Islington, where the food blogger behind Pip’s Dish, Philip Dundas, is currently cooking in a barn (well, actually it’s a disused Citroen garage). Tucked away in a little alley just off Upper Street, this pop-up urban barn is home to a small farmers’ market whose produce serves as basis for Pip’s ever-changing dishes. From Friday to Sunday, people can sit down on straw bales and tuck into 3-course-meals for £25 (or pay what they want on Friday and Saturday lunchtimes). On our visit Pip was dishing up a pickled beetroot salad with coriander pesto, walnuts and red peppers – a slightly mad concoction – followed by oxtail stew with potato salad (or stuffed squash as the vegetarian option) and a brownie with chocolate ice-cream to finish. While the food was not entirely convincing – the coriander potato salad clashed with the oxtail’s sweet sticky rhubarb glaze, while the chocolate ice-cream turned out to be frozen whipped cream, leaving an unpleasant greasy layer on the palate – we couldn’t help but like the place. Pip’s a charming host who makes his guests feel at home – chatting away from behind the stove, and letting diners choose the tunes to go on the record player (at Sunday lunchtimes, there’s even live music). We like the concept, but the food at this pop-up venue can be hit or miss.
For info, see pipsdish.co.uk