Dram and Smoke, 5 Course Tasting Menu, £40 pp, Black Swan Yard, Bermondsey St.
Hells yeah Dram and Smoke know what they are doing! Invited to a small warehouse space, accessed via a dark dark alley, you can smell the timber burning, giving you a settling feeling that you’re in the right place.
Welcomed with a hot toddy, I was pleasantly surprised – I am not, never have been, and probably never will be a whisky drinker! Sweet and tart, with star anise, you wander around and find a chalked up table plan with your name on it. A great touch. The candlelit tables, black and white décor and the gorgeous aroma of smoky wood makes up a great atmosphere.
Before sitting down, we explored the pop-up bar, offering beer, wine and whisky cocktails. I opted for Monkey Shoulder with lemon and Appletiser, testing my palate once more. We took a seat on our large round table, where warm rugs had been supplied in case of a chill. Introducing ourselves to our new diner friends, we realised we were sitting with the boys from Forza Win, as well as “Lord Log” himself, the man that supplies the smoking wood to D&S.
Now we came hungry – this was to be a 5 course feast, starting off with Haggis Bon Bons and homemade Tommy K. The perfect introduction to the Scottish delights coming our way. Next up, Smoked Coley and Beetroot Salad – the fish smoked in an old whisky barrel outside!
Then, get this: Smoked Bacon and Blue Cheese PORRIDGE. I shit you not. I’ll be honest, the faces people were pulling on their first mouthful were hilarious – but it worked! It tasted GOOD! A similar vibe to risotto, and the blue cheese not too overpowering.
Then it arrived. The Venison Wellington, and holy-haggis-balls, it was ACE! I’ve cooked venison, and I’ve cooked a Wellington, but these guys got the meat the same colour throughout, and there was not a soggy bottom in sight. Amazing. The meat was medium, succulent, the pastry crisp and browned, the mushroom pate noticeably smoky! Impressive!
Despite our incredibly rotund bellies by this point there was still more to come. Dessert was a monster. The biggest amount of chocolate mousse I’ve ever seen – with homemade shortbread and to-die-for salted whisky butterscotch.
What I loved about Dram and Smoke wasn’t just the food, but the atmosphere, the aroma of the burning wood and the whole interaction factor, serving yourself and your neighbours, getting to know new people… sharing. The guys at D&S run these pop-up’s every few months – I couldn’t recommend it more!