When news reached me that Mr Lyan, owner of my favourite bar in London, the Dandelyan at the Mondrian (named World’s Best Cocktail Bar in 2017), opened a sustainable restaurant in East London I was intrigued. Cub is an exciting new concept, a merger between bar and restaurant where cocktails form an integrative part of their set menu. The courses alternate between cocktails and food, bringing food and drinks together in a whole new way all while focusing on sustainability by skillfully transforming unloved and underappreciated ingredients.
This trendy new venue is open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights only. The interior design perfectly reflects their dedication to sustainability – recycled clay walls filter the air while paper mulch pendant lights brighten up the small space. Guest can either sit right at the counter or at one of the tables which are made out of recycled yogurt pots. It is an informal dining experience in a lively and energetic atmosphere that is enhanced by loud club music. While I found enjoyment in experiencing this new restaurant concept I personally prefer comfy seats & calm background music, that said, it was fun to deviate a little from our usual dinner experiences.
While it is possible to order a la carte, I highly recommend going for their set menu to fully appreciate this new concept. The menu was completely meat-free, however, when asked they don’t see themselves as a vegetarian restaurant. The main focus really seems to be on their sustainable methods which the staff, Jane & Peter were very enthusiastic about. My husband and I were sitting at the counter, where we watched Peter create our first ‘course’ – Krug champagne, water jelly and spiked herbs – already a success!
The menu only named the main ingredients of the different courses which only lets you guess what to expect. The next course we were served read Baby Gem, Elderflower, Sinodun ++. Essentially baby gem lettuce served with Elderflower vinegar on a cheese sauce that was created from different cheeses and topped with grated cheese. While lettuce & cheese might not sound exciting it really came together beautifully.
The baby gem was served with a Douglas Fir Belvedere Mint Resin (Spritz) and since I am a huge fan of the cocktails at Dandelyan, I came with high expectations for the drinks that were entirely met. Each cocktail served that evening was excellent!
Next, we had Bones Dulse with freshly baked bread – a nice warming broth, just perfect for a cold evening!
My husband had a corn muffin with his broth instead of the bread as a gluten-free alternative.
A very pretty as well as tasty course was the Parsley Root, Redlove Apple & TurboWhey – a cheese reduction & white miso gave this dish a lovely note and I liked the crispiness of the apple.
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As a course by itself, we had a Sloe Gin, Pickled Plum and Preserved Gooseberry next – a lovely way to serve late summer flavours during the colder months.
This was followed by steamed Baby Cauliflower, Black Garlic & Lemon Thyme – steaming is such a wonderful way to prepare vegetables, the cauliflower had the perfect consistency and cheese, British Feta, was part of this dish as well. It was seasoned with volcanic salt and smoked rapeseed oil gave this a hint of smokiness.
It was served with yet another drink made from Rare Tea, Tea Stems and Compressed Plum.
For desserts I was served Peated Barley, Apple Skin & Fig leaf – a really nice dessert with a nice creaminess to it, however, I would have preferred it without the smokiness that was added. My husband had a rhubarb & citrus sorbet as a gluten-free alternative instead.
A fantastic last course at the end was the Square Mile Coffee, Cognac, H.M.S cocktail which was prepared right in front of us.
And as another sweet treat, we were served two Wee Beasties.
Cub is a fantastic new concept with sustainability that goes beyond closed-loop & seasonality with staff that is happy to discuss this in depth with customers who want to know more about it. This drinks-led dining experience that doesn’t follow the traditional way of pairing food with drinks is certainly something that I have not come across before and I very much liked their innovative vegetarian dishes. Cub is a great place if you are looking for something a little bit different!
Set Menu is £55 per person (including all cocktails!)
153 Hoxton Street
London N1 6PJ
Open Thursday-Saturday, 6 pm until late