Archive review: this pop-up is now closed.
Street food, the sort of nosh that you buy from a hatch in a wagon, is so popular that now they’re opening restaurants dedicated to it. No, seriously. And, to prove that it’s not all fuddy-duddies in faded red trews, the poshest town on the Isle of Wight has a trendsetting bijou pop-up street food parlour right on its high street.
Burrgrills has restaurant prices but it does takeaway, so if you want to stuff your face standing in the street you can. In fact, the venue is so tiny you might have to. But if you can get to sit down at one of those pastel-painted tables inside you should. This is one of the most exciting new things to happen to Isle of Wight food for quite a while.
The thing that made Matt and Cat pay attention to Burrgrills at Seaview was the name. No, it’s not run by the similarly-monikered invertebrate-chomping local lad and survivalist Bear Grylls. This place is the baby of Ryde’s own prodigal chef Ryan Burr, returned from two years’ sojourn in Australia with new tricks up his sleeve. Still in evidence is the fastidious attention to presentation, the bad-boy style, the chilled glasses readily filled and the eager embrace of the chilli. New is an exciting informality and edginess. Last time Matt and Cat ate food from Ryan Burr he had a sommelier at his elbow. These days, he’s serving beer in cans and food on tiles. But the food – oh, the food. That’s what’s really good.
The daily menu is a riot of what is described as ‘Tapas Street Food’. Matt’s eyes widened – how to choose between slow-cooked spicy lamb burrito with jalapeno creme and pickles (£10); and Enrique Latin big beer braised sausage wrapped in bacon, with chipotle aioli (£6). As it turned out, he and Cat put themselves in Ryan’s hands and shared a big plate of whatever the kitchen brought out, which was a mix of what was on the menu and what wasn’t.
First up were a couple of homemade chipolatas in brioche rolls, adorned with chilli con carne and pickled onion. And, being Burrgrills, it was not the conventional sort of pickled onion. This one was shredded, soaked, softened and swirled onto the ‘dog. Alongside was an extraordinarily delicious mushroom and truffle quesadilla with feta (£6). Everything was covered in scatterings of potent, rich and gorgeous-looking garnish and extras, all presented on a large white ceramic tile. This food was stunning – hot, spicy and with surprises of flavour and texture in every bite. A pinch of peppery watercress here, a juicy chunk of sweet pineapple there. Cat started off using a knife and fork – Matt dived straight in with his fingers. She soon joined him – it was the only way.
As they ate they could see the next dishes being plated up in the little kitchen in front of them. Soon enough they were tucking into fried monkfish tail tacos with a powerful chilli coleslaw on a chipotle sauce base. Honey was trailed over the tiles, watercress and roasted seeds were strewn about the tacos. The diners picked them up eagerly. Sticky sauces dripped from the freshly-grilled flatbread. The monkfish was piping hot, fresh and delicious. Next was another taco dish – braised BBQ pork. The scattering of garnishes made this more of an installation than a street food offering. The pork was softer, richer and smokier than you can imagine. Underneath, the familiar zing of chipotle and kick of chilli set off the warmth of the meat. Coriander and pineapple added a welcome counterpoint.
Matt and Cat prepared for their desserts by licking their sticky fingers, smeared and spotted with a melange of sauces and flavours. Matt was wondering what had possessed him to wear a light-coloured jacket to such a place. Cat was wondering what could possibly top those mains. She soon found out. Profiteroles with caramel ice cream and hot chocolate sauce (£7); and alongside, frozen mixed berries with hot white chocolate sauce. Both of these were ideal for cooling fevered palates – the frozen berries were anointed with cool, fresh mint and a strawberry syrup; whilst the deep-fried profiteroles oozed with fresh cream.
Matt and Cat cleared the tiles one last time, before rolling out into Seaview High Street slightly taco-shellshocked. Had they really just had such a lively, stimulating and fashionable dining experience in a Seaview cafe? Apparently so. And should you do the same? Absolutely. And do it now. This is a pop-up, and chef Burr is the sort of chap who could shoot off and do something else. So Matt and Cat suggest you get down there without delay – oh, and wear your red trousers. That chipotle sauce is the devil to get out.
Archive review: this pop-up is now closed.
Burrgrills has moved to the Black Sheep Bar, Ryde (Summer 2015) and from there to Nomad, Newport (2016).