Holy Cow! Is this the best pop-up restaurant in Dorset?
If you were to turn in to the industrial estate in Swanage, you might expect to pick up a greasy bacon sarnie with your building supplies… what you might not expect is to sample some of the best food in the county! Crab Apple catering may be better known for their AMAZING weddings, events and popping up at the odd Point to Point, but recently they have turned their hand to spontaneous supper clubs… and aren’t we glad they have!
After being most jealous of their ‘Pig Out’ night where guests made their way through a whole hog of pork courses I managed to squeeze myself on to their Holy Cow night on the 27th April, where in eight unbelieva-bull courses, we devoured half a Dexter cow. If you are a believer of waste not want not, I can assure you none of this beauty was wasted!
On arrival we were greeted with a tangy and rich Bloody Mary ladened with fresh and flavoursome beef stock as we took our seats in the cosy café. No sooner had we sat, we were offered some truly delectable canapes; a homemade terrine, fillet steak, brisket and bone marrow on toast. Although the idea of bone marrow has never tickled my fancy I had to try it and it was rich and nutty, and basically a beefy butter – I will certainly be going back for more!
Now we had whet our appetite it was time to moo-ve on to ‘tea and steak’. Our dainty tea cups were filled with warm, dense and delicious beef broth and sharing plates of beautiful red steak tartare with a freshly laid egg yolks were put in front of us surrounded by micro herbs and finely chopped cornichon and capers. This was STUNNING and our plates did not last long. (If you are not quite as carnivorous as I and like your meat cooked, you could pop the chunks in your piping hot ‘tea’ to cook them just a little.
Next we were presented with an udderly ridiculous pile of perfectly cooked rump, flat iron and rib eye steak and if that wasn’t rich enough it was topped with homemade beef dripping butter which I could have eaten all day.
We were then served PROPER pie! The masterminds at Crab Apple feel very strongly about their pies and you will never just get a stew with a pastry lid. Now you don’t just have to take my word for it that this was a damn good steak and ale pie take that of my friend from Yorkshire the home of the pie who was thoroughly impressed.
The savoury courses were finished off with a platter piled high in fall off the bone shin meat and a rich sauce with mushrooms on top of scrummy truffle polenta… it was so good some of the lesser house-trained boys were licking the bones even after 7 courses!
By this point I’ll admit I was feeling a little beefed out, until we were given our ‘Dorset Bellini’. Completely off the wall but completely delicious! Think prosecco, cucumber, wasabi and horseradish… you wouldn’t think it would work but it does!
Suitably palate cleansed we herded on to the pud.
Spotted Dick is possibly one of my least favourite puddings and visions of flavourless school stodge spring to mind. However, I am now a convert. Made from their own beef suet and covered in a light and sweet custard was this gorgeous and homely sponge perfect for the miserable wet weather outside!
Holy Cow really was an appropriate name for the night because Holy Cow it was good!
Now you’re going to think well how much did all that cost? Bearing in mind a decent steak in a decent place can cost well over £20… Well, the food set you back only £45 per person which is exceptionally good value. Beef is not a cheap meat and you really do fill your boots! (Pig Out was £36). Also, if I haven’t said it enough, the food is AMAZING and you get two cocktails too! Other drinks are on top but completely reasonable at £14 for a brill bottle of red, a few quid for a bottled beer and a fiver for an ice cold Hendrix and tonic. The service and atmosphere is also bang on.
Supper clubs push you to discover things you wouldn’t normally try or pick off a menu as basically you get what you’re given but often the courses you’re not sure about end up being things you love the most. However, it is still probably best to leave picky eaters at home and bring your elastic waist trousers with you instead!
There are a number of fabulous pop-up eateries and supper clubs in Dorset, but Crab Apple have certainly put on one of the best.
To keep up to date with Crab Apple’s latest events follow them on Facebook and get in touch quick to book your space! I’ve got my fingers crossed for a ‘Seafood and Eat It!’ and a ‘Veg Out’ night… ‘hint hint Carl and Emma!’