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The White Asparagus at The Cuckoo N1

Run by Head Chef Sebastian Delamothe, The White Asparagus pop-up is at The Cuckoo N1 for a limited time only.

The pop-up celebrates, you guessed it, white asparagus! For just a few weeks each spring, Delamothe’s own second-generation family farm ‘Neu Wendorf’ in Mecklenburg Vorpommern produces delicious white asparagus. And it’s this asparagus you can try for yourself, couriered exclusively to North London!

The Cuckoo is tucked away down a side street a short walk from Caledonian Road and Barnsbury station. It’s a small but perfectly formed pub with just a handful of tables. The menu itself is broken into three main sections – starters, mains and sides – but all is meant for sharing.

The one dish that, unsurprisingly, comes highly recommended is the white asparagus. Served in either a 300g or 600g portion, it comes served simply with salt and butter. Fatter and sweeter than its green counterpart, white asparagus holds its own as a dish.

Taking its influence from Germany, the rest of the menu has a Germanic flair. We opted for a selection of four dishes, alongside the asparagus and two sides. It was recommended we have all dishes at once in order to pick and choose the order we wished to eat.

The smaller dishes we chose were game paté served with rye bread and wild garlic butter and a Devon crab salad. The paté was rich and has juicy chunks of game but wasn’t overwhelmingly strong. The crab salad was light and refreshing and contrasted nicely with the heavier paté.

Our larger dishes were the Hessen: onglet with a foraged sauce and the Berlin: pan-fried sea bream with curry butter. The onglet was perfectly cooked and extremely tender, served simply with the accompanying sauce. The sea bream was pan fried until the skin was crispy and served with the curry butter. Lightly spice, the butter added a subtle curried flavour to the delicate fish. While delicious, we would have liked a slightly larger portion, or a side included in the £9.50 price tag.

To finish we had a baked rhubarb and pistachio quark cake – a cheesecake by any other name! The tart rhubarb was complemented by the crunchy pistachios for a satisfying but not overly sweet dessert.

Overall, the food was impressive and made use of interesting nods to German cuisine. The white asparagus itself was delicious and definitely worth seeking out. However, be prepared to pay a little extra for each dish, this is definitely one for a date night and not a quick after work meal.

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