Saturday, 2 May 2015

Crafty St Martins: Burgers are back!

Last year I featured the cheese and wine tasting night at St Martins Coffee that we attended. It was a fab and fun night. A few months later, St Martins was on the up again with its pop-up restaurant Crafty Burger. Now they've upped their game even further with a facelift and the return of the Crafty burgers on a permanent basis!

 They invited us to their VIP Launch Night, and having tried the pop-up last year, we were delighted to attend. And we were not disappointed! The refurbishment is fresh and modern, but still retains all of the character that we have all come to associate with the store. The team are still friendly, welcoming, knowledgeable and all round good fun chaps. All the key strengths are still in place.

We were seated with the lovely Emily from Recipes and Reviews and her fella, which meant we were set up with friendly banter for the evening, as well as a vast amount of food photography. We were presented with a special select menu of the team's favourite choices from the new Crafty menu and brought a welcome drink. Everything was relaxed and jovial. People were being cool with Crafty with their special branded sunglasses.

First off, we got a tasting platter to sample some of the starters - this was my personal highlight of the evening. The Pigcorn Poppers were little crispy coated bites of succulent tender goodness - pork belly cooked to a tee and served with a spiced pineapple, honey and chilli accompaniment. By far and away these were my favourite thing we tried and I will be fighting off the temptation to hang round after work every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from now on to pick a portion of these up!

chicken wings, pork belly, nachos, guacamole
Starters

Next we were Winging It with Korean chicken wing with a sweet, slightly spiced sauce. These had an excellent crunch to them without being dry, they were well flavoured and the sauce complimented the Korean spicing perfectly. Finally for this course we tried the guacamole with some homemade tortillas. This was the most delicately flavoured of the three starters, but was still creamy and pleasant. A touch more lime, salt and oomph would have made it perfect for me, but it was still very palatable - although the wooden serving trays gave no purchase for guac-scooping, which led to very messy fingers and quite a messy table. Crafty is all about getting stuck in though, so that felt a natural way to take proceedings!

This was washed down with a glass of red for me, the Palacio del Canto Monastrell red, specially selected by Duncan Murray Wines of Market Harborough which is a light and easy drinking, but rounded and interesting wine with a good fruit hit. The Boy opted to complement his locally sourced Crafty menu with a craft ale, the Longhorn IPA from Purity, which isn't local, but it is made in Warwickshire, so not a million miles away.

burger, fries, beef, craft, locally sourced, ingredients
Farmyard Jam
And on to the main event. The burgers. We had a choice between The Farmyard Jam, The Krispy Klucker or The Smokin' Shroom. Clearly we were a table of committed carnivores and traditionalists, as we all went for the Farmyard Jam - a moist patty made from 28 day dry aged beef freshly ground that day, with cheese, maple onion and bacon jam and Crafty sauce. Served in a steamed brioche bun, this was succulent and delicious, a great mix of flavours with sweet notes from the jam and the Crafty sauce. The burger was served medium and was just right. It was extremely tasty, dripping flavourful juices down our fingers and just big enough to be able to messy up the face to a delightful extent. The steamed bun was soft and yielding, perhaps a little too much for me as it was not a match for all of the aforementioned juices of wonder, but again I think most people will enjoy the tactile, multi-sensory experience that eating a Crafty burger entails.

fries, pulled beef, sour cream, jalapeno
Macho Fries
Since the pop-up restaurant, Crafty have been listening to their customer's feedback and now your £10 per burger also brings you fries as well, which I greatly applaud. We had the option to pimp our fries, which you can do for an additional £2.50, which of course we did, sampling the Macho Fries, with pulled beef, jalapenos, sour cream, cheese and mustard, and the Green Nacho Fries, featuring avocado, spring onion, jalapenos, sour cream, cheese and mustard. Both were delicious. I always feel a bit let down with pimped fries, because the toppings run out towards the end and the last few plain fries always seem so sad in comparison to their highly decorated, top-of-the-bowl cousins who are laden with treats. However, I have to say the pulled beef on the macho fries was perfect - meltingly tender and hugely flavourful. I could happily just eat a bowl of those on my own and will be back to try the Spanish Fries, which sound delicious.
fries, chips, guacamole, avocado, sour cream, jalapeno, cheese
Green Nacho Fries

And so, a little bit meat-drunk with the huge patty and mass of fries and toppings, we came towards the end of the meal. One more treat was awaiting us - a special Crafty gelato made by local Italian freezy treat experts, Gelato Village, just around the corner from St Martins. It was a peanut and chocolate frenzy, with swirls of chocolate and whole peanuts as well as a delicate peanut flavour running throughout and deliciously satisying creamy smooth texture that filled the mouth with richness. Imagine a Snickers ice cream bar, but not rubbish and in gelato form.

Full, but happy we waddled off into the sunset. Thanks to Crafty St Martins for inviting us down to their special day and being such friendly and generous hosts. If you want to try this delicious menu for yourself, you'll find the Crafty chaps available every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6pm-9pm. You can see the full menu and also book a table via their website and I heartily recommend that you do so forthwith. I wonder if they've got any tables left tonight...

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