Lulupapilon’s Poptastic Popup Restaurant Experience

The idea of cooking for a pop up restaurant first came about in a passing conversation in which I nonchalantly made the suggestion thinking that it would be a great idea but accepting that it would probably never materialize due to the logistical difficulty.

Contrary to my initial belief and thanks to LeStudio52 and my fiancée’s push to make things happen, an invite on Facebook was launched a week before the event and the next thing I knew, was that I would be cooking in 2 days time at LeStudio52.

Panic alongside an adrenaline rush overtook my psyche, which drove me into a much needed Project Management mode. Ingredients for the menu, which I scribbled down a few months ago were bought and my first lesson in cooking a set menu was learnt.

My suggested menu, which was marketed on the invite and therefore could not be changed, was victim to seasonality.  Aubergines, the staple of my main course were out of season but by paying a premium I was able to secure this staple. I was less lucky with the raspberries and I was forced to find a substitute as availability of this product was non-existent regardless of any amount of love or money.

The food was cooked in my kitchen and then transported with the help of a very good friend and her four wheels to LeStudio52.

My first guest arrived armed with the million dollar question – what was the concept of the popup restaurant and why now? I have always had a passion for food, enjoyed cooking and for some reason always naively dreamt that I would have a restaurant. The pop up restaurant is a great way to put that dream into motion without committing to any great capital expenditure (that’s the accountant seeping out in me J). More importantly it’s a vehicle in which I can road test my menu creations on objective diners. And why now? It’s now or never.

My diners provided great feedback. The first course of butternut squash and sweet potato soup went down well, with the diners spilt regarding whether or not I was right to have omitted cream from my recipe. I was lucky to have had a pot of crème fraiche, which happily made its way around helping to break the ice between the diners.

The main course of stuffed aubergine with minced lamb received the greatest accolade from one diner who ate all his portion despite previously disliking aubergine and also having had a full lunch prior to the pop restaurant. Most of the diners helped themselves to second helpings of this dish which only made me smile more.

The dessert was probably the most liked part of the 3-course meal as silence took hold of the room followed by words such as divine and amazing. Just goes to show that sometimes substituting ingredients works a treat.

All in all I absolutely loved the pop up restaurant experience and can not wait to do it again. The next pop up restaurant will be held at LeStudio52 on the 17th of April 2011. Watch this space for updates regarding the menu.

You can follow me on my newly created twitter account: @Lulupapilon

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