Where can you expect to pay £15 for a five-course weekly changing themed menu? At Diners Union on Rivington Street. That’s where.
‘Everyone pays the same. Everyone gets the same.’ That’s the phrase that greets you when you land on the homepage, and these simple words sum up what the team behind this non-exclusive, good-food-comes-to-the-masses venture are all about.
Head chef Rolan Dack started up Ronnie Saunders’ Diners Union after leaving the fine dining world. Naming the joint after his granddad (‘a champion of equality’) he knew he wanted to apply Ronnie’s salt-of-the-earth values to the venture – the team aim to bring people together through the best way they know how, providing outstanding food for everyone.
Taking place in a yard near Old Street – the site of the old R3d Market late- night food extravaganza – produce is ethically sourced and, where possible, certified organic.
If you read Diners Union website the pop-up is based on five simple principles:
1. LOOK EACH OTHER IN THE EYE
You should know who’s made your food and where it’s come from.
2. ADD A TOUCH OF CLASS
A bit of flair will take you far. It’s not showing off, it’s showmanship.
3. BE THERE FOR YOUR BROTHER
Because you never know when you might find your cupboard bare.
4. KNOWLEDGE IS EMPOWERING
When we share our skills and recipes, we grow bigger and get stronger.
5. ENJOY YOURSELVES
Bring your friends and share the love. Life’s too short not to.
Ronnie Saunders’ Diners Union only takes place on Fridays and Saturdays, and offers a set menu that changes its theme weekly (past events have seen themes revolving around the French Revolution and the Victorian era), which can be followed via Twitter @dinersunion.
Each week, the chefs search their imagination to come up with a new theme. We made our visit during the ‘Denmark: The Union of Kalmar, 1397 AD‘ night.
The first course was smørrebrød – a dense slice of walnut bread, with smoked butter, microherbs and flecks of salty chicken skin.
Following the great starter was soured herrings with pickles. I have to say its not a flavour for everyone with such a distinct taste and if it weren’t for the crisp taste of the pickles I doubt I would have been able to finish it.
The main course was ox bavette – when talking to one of the chefs I found out it is not a popular dish to serve as it is a tricky meat to cook.
But preparing this dish under a marquee in the middle of an abandoned car park proves the chefs are confident in the kitchen. My fist impression of the bavette was its strong nutty flavour, but having it served with roasted artichoke and half a roasted head of garlic and a milk foam which was briefly caramelised with a blowtorch was a great accompaniment for the whole dish (or plastic plate, in this case).
The fourth course of the night was rødkål, which to me was more of a side dish for the bavette than a main: red cabbage, with a pickled grapefruit garnish. They did save the best till last; the dessert was an apple and almond sponge with a custard cream, which was the perfect way to finish the night.
Overall Diners Union was delicious and fun and had a vibrant feel. If you take the second seating the live band will entertain you. And remember you can also bring your own booze. Only problem now that word is getting out will be the 100 seats filling up even faster.
Runs till the end of 2013. Bring cash and a bottle, corkage is £3.50
5-7 Rivington Street London EC2A
Open Friday and Saturday 6-11:30pm
Reservations can be made by contacting: firstname.lastname@example.org