Alfredito’s POP UP



Jun 10, 2013

On June, 6th last week I received this email from Alfredo:

Hola guapetones!!!!
Yes, here we are again, doing another Alfredito’s pop up (and like last time this is not a Sesamo pop up meaning no veggie options) for that you’ll have to come to Barcelona!
It’s a surprise Anti-fuzzy people tasting menu,  spices, nuts and fish, probably tongue as well etc will be served, so no excuses…..if you come, you eat!
And don’t you worry alcohol is included,  and water (in case you don’t drink) errr fukc it if you don’t drink don’t come! Unless you are a nice, hot, beautiful single lady that will be telling me repeatedly how gorgeous and handsome I look with my chef hat on! If you’re a bloke that don’t drink, you have no excuse! “Shame on you” me says!!
Ohhhh one more thing, Pets, Babies and annoying friends….. Try to loose then on the way! 😉
Anyhow its this coming Monday 10th, yes in 5 days, and will be held in the same place as last time, at Leila’s shop in Shoreditch!!! Aperitif time between 7:15 and 7:45pm for dinner to start at 8pm.
Due to the huge Spanish crisis and inflation in Argentina…. ….On this occasion the 5 (maybe 8 courses) tasting menu will be 42,37 pounds
Unfortunately as most of you know we have a limited space, just 28 places so if you’re up for it please let me know ASAP and I’ll send you an email with the account number and the rest of the details!
Besos y abrazos
Ps: Amandita’s best wines selection will be paring the entire evening!!!! So come hungry and ready to try some exclusive and yet not discovered nectaries.



I know Alfredo from Barcelona, where he has a highly regarded vegetarian restaurant called Sésamo. I’ve been to a few parties and openings with him and know he can also do incredible things with meat. Anyway, this was a pop up I couldn’t miss!



You’ll notice that the final menu contained 9 courses!

gin and fennel lemonade

gin and fennel lemonade

As the menu says, on arrival we were handed an aperitif of gin and fennel lemonade – a sharp, home made thirst quencher, with a hint of gin.

chorizo and salami tapa

chorizo and salami tapa

What the menu doesn’t mention, is that sitting on top of the lemonade (in true Spanish style), was a tapa of chorizo de bellota and salami on a piece of crusty bread. Tapa comes from the Spanish verb to cover, tapar. Originally, tapas were small pieces of crusty bread used as covers for glasses of sherry or wine to keep the flies out. Bartenders realised that adding something salty to the top of the bread helped make their customers thirsty, so they drank more. Tapas were originally small free snacks, eaten with a pre supper drink. I’d arrived early and was given two drinks with tapas – I was careful that there were enough to go round though – I wouldn’t want to have deprived anyone.

watermelon gazpacho

watermelon gazpacho

Our first real course on the menu was a delicate watermelon gazpacho. Gazpacho is a typical soup from Andaluzia, made of tomatoes, almonds, bread, garlic and other vegetables – served cold. Alfredo’s gazpacho was a subtle blend of watermelon and tomato, with a sprig of thyme on top.

chistorra, cider and thyme

chistorra, cider and thyme

Chistorra (typical of the Basque Country and northern Spain) are small pork sausages containing garlic and pimentón (which gives them their red colour), normally baked, fried or grilled. Cooking chistorra in cider and or accompanying them with cider is quite popular, particularly since a considerable amount of cider is produced in País Vasco and North Western Spain.

asparagus, goat's cheese and pistachio focaccia

asparagus, goat’s cheese and pistachio focaccia

The asparagus, goats cheese and pistachio focaccia arrived on large round wooden boards. Focaccia comes from the Latin word focacia – hearth or fireside, so it’s a hearthside flat bread, which dates back to the time of the Etruscans or even the Ancient Greeks. Here Alfredo topped the focaccia with goat’s cheese (from Neal’s Yard) and griddled asparagus, with a sprinkling of pistachio nuts.

duck confit couscous

duck confit couscous

The duck confit couscous was a delicate steamed semolina, infused with the slightly salty preserved duck, topped with red onion and coriander.

tongue and beetroot salad

tongue and beetroot salad

The tongue with the beetroot salad was beautifully tender, so I assume it was calf’s tongue. The delicate soft texture of the meat was perfect with the crispy lettuce and earthy beetroot.

chicken and tarragon mole taco

chicken and tarragon mole taco

Mole (pronounced molé) is the Mexican name for many types of sauce. Outside of Mexico though most people think mole is Mole Poblano, a dark sauce containing chilli and bitter chocolate (recipe), which is what we have here. Alfredo cooked the chicken with tarragon in a chocolate mole, served in a crispy corn taco with cheese. This was a savoury delight and a million miles away from Cadbury’s.

mushroom and foie gras slider

mushroom and foie gras slider

The mushroom and foie gras slider (small hamburger or sandwich) was probably my favourite course on the menu, which is ironic since I normally have no time for hamburgers, preferring the texture of steak to ground beef. However, the introduction of mushrooms and foie gras gave the meat a phenomenal burst of flavour. I also liked the home-made basil and chilli mayonnaise topping which had a wonderful hot earthy after taste. For me this was the fitting peak to the savoury courses.

stichelton and rhubarb torrija

stichelton and rhubarb torrija

The finalé was a Stichelton and rhubarb torrija. Torrija is a Spanish eggy bread, normally eaten at Easter. The bread here came from Quo Vadis, by way of the Soho Food Feast. The rhubarb was cooked as a compote, spooned onto the egg fried bread, with crumbled Stichelton (from Neal’s Yard, of course) sprinkled on top.

lemon and mint tea

lemon and mint tea

As an after dinner digestive, we were served a hot lemon and mint tea.

Amandita served up copious quantities of excellent wine (my glass was never dry) – all sourced from Aubert and Mascoli:

Rose: Ottavio Rube Rosso 2010, organic Dolcetto from Valle Unite in Piedmont
White: Ottavio Rube Bianco 2010, organic Cortese from Valle Unite in Piedmont
Red: Les Terrasses 2011, Pascal Lambert, Chinon
Sparkling (Petillant naturel): Piege a Filles Blanc 2011, Les Capriades, Vin de France

Leila’s Shop is at: 17 Calvert Avenue, London, E2 7JP

Sésamo is at: C/ Abat, 52, 08001 Barcelona

This was probably the best meal I’ve ever eaten!


About Mad Dog
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30 Responses to Alfredito’s POP UP

  1. Eha says:

    Obviously a man with humour and lots of culinary talent! For me quite an unusual menu [would have loved tasting the tongue!] even if on the pricey side: but so few people and so many courses 😉 ! Thanks for making me peagreen on a quiet Sunday morning!!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Eha – Alfredo is very talented and has a great sense of humour. £42.37 might sound expensive, but it included all the wine and there was lots of it – most restaurants in London charge at least £20 per bottle. Frankly I don’t know how they did it all for the price 😉

      • Eha says:

        Sorry: was not even thinking of the alcohol cost , , , , not surprised at the London wine prices, ours are almost as bad!! Well. hope the guy is getting some good PR out of it 🙂 ! Meanwhile, what fun food . . . .

  2. I was so confused at the beginning, lol, I’ve come to recognize your style of writing and I wondered if you had a guest post:D What a blast!! The theme, the food, all the exotic drinks and wine.. and the idea of a pop-up makes it even more unusual. Lucky, lucky you!!

  3. Sounds wonderful. Good to see Chinon being drunk in London. Fantastic wines, drunk young. The French drink more wine from the Loire than any other region. Weirdly, I had a dream about eating a lamb’s tongue last night, except it wasn’t cooked…..not a good dream.

  4. Wonderful menu, great post and sounds like a bargain to me for all those dishes and wine too.

  5. Oh you lucky, lucky man! Loved the 37p on the price (converted from euro?) and it was excellent value especially with all the lovely wines too. Alfredo sounds like a real character, hopefully we’ll get to Barcelona one day and eat in his restaurant.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tanya – I think the 37p is inflation, Alfredo did a previous pop up for £42. There may be a mad event coming up in Barcelona – I let you know if it’s happening 😉

  6. This menu is just divine, each element makes it a very balanced menu, and incredible value with wine too. Lucky you!

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Tracey, you are absolutely right, a lot of thought had gone into the courses and the order of the meal – it was perfect 🙂

  7. What an interesting and inventive menu, I can honestly say all that looks superb! I really like the ‘freestyle’ nature of pop-up restaurants and I think it can highlight the real restaurants rather than the ‘heat & eat’ chains.

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Phil! One of the great things about doing a pop up, is that the chef can really concentrate on every course since everyone gets the same. I’ve often thought about opening a restaurant which just does a set menu 🙂

      • Great idea. I’ll be down to the big smoke to visit if you ever do!

        Though not quite the same, I once stayed at a small hotel whilst working in Suffolk. The young owners were keen chefs and did a tight menu of just 3 starters, mains and desserts, changing weekly. The tiny restaurant was fully booked every night according to some locals I got talking to. Food was excellent!

        • Mad Dog says:

          That’s definitely the way to good for excellent and fresh food. I was once a chef in a restaurant with a huge menu and sometimes we had to resort to thawing fish or meat in warm water – that hardly makes for good food, but it was down to the owner who wouldn’t say no or reduce the menu size. I was glad to get out of there 😉

  8. andreamynard says:

    Sounds like a wonderful meal and I bet a great atmosphere too. I don’t think I would’ve been able to resist that invite either.

  9. I absolutely love this post…as much for the wonderful food ideas as for the background on tapas and food itself! Thanks for the inspiration – I have folks coming over this week and might just grab a few ideas from you and Alfredito….

  10. cecilia says:

    This guy sounds so Original, i loved his invite! And thank you for the tapas explanation. Here we sit outside to drink and wheras most people put the coasters under their glasses we put ours on top because of the flies, but I could do that with a salty crostini? for instance? How stunning! I had no idea. Well we are having a little outdoor dinner party this weekend, outdoor because that is where all my furniture is while they paint indoors! I shall do this.. !And the gin lemonade, I want that too! and basil and chilli mayonnaise. I make my own all the time with the herbs from the garden, so this time it will be basil and chilli! oo la la.. am I glad I popped in today! morning mad.. c

    • Mad Dog says:

      Thanks Cecilia! I’m so glad it gave you lots of ideas – I hope we’ll see a few pictures of your dinner party 😉

      • cecilia says:

        I was too busy dinnering and then much to my despair my visitors were not drinking that night! Not Drinking! However they all adored the mayo! Though they did look silly with the tapas on a glass of water!! c

  11. Karen says:

    Such an inventive menu. I remember you saying that you didn’t care for ground meat so the slider must have really been terrific.

  12. peasepudding says:

    Pop Up are such fun, I have been pretty busy with my own Pop Up patisserie the last few weeks I have neglected my blog and blog community.

  13. Pingback: La Calçotada | Mad Dog TV Dinners

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