Pop-up by Santiago Lastra Rodriguez. London. 18th December 2015

The menu of the evening
The menu of the evening
Tradito. Scottish scallop, dill and horseradish with buckwheat tostadas
Tradito. Scottish scallop, dill and horseradish with buckwheat tostadas
Flavours of guacamole. Pistacchio and grilled vegetables with chocoyotes and beach coriander
Flavours of guacamole. Pistacchio and grilled vegetables with chocoyotes and beach coriander
Enchilada. Grilled salad, duck confit and roasted cabbage
Enchilada. Grilled salad, duck confit and roasted cabbage
Cod and chokes with mole. Cod and Jerusalem artichoke with butter mole and wild Kent herbs
Cod and chokes with mole. Cod and Jerusalem artichoke with butter mole and wild Kent herbs
Lengua mestiza. Beef tongue and estofado two ways.
Lengua mestiza. Beef tongue and estofado two ways.
Tamal. Leek and chocolate cake with mezcal granita and sea buckthorn
Tamal. Leek and chocolate cake with mezcal granita and sea buckthorn

This dinner was a pop-up by the young talented chef Santiago Lastra Rodriguez at Carousel in London. I was very much looking forward to this dinner so my expectations were very high. What I got was far beyond my expectations. Santiago is taking cooking with all the seriousness united with a lovely playfulness.

All dishes were great, but “Flavours of guacamole” was exceptional, so I wanted to know more about this dish which has seduced my palate and Santiago responded:

 

“Probably the most popular Mexican side dish around the world is the guacamole, which literally means blended avocado.  I have been living out of my country for 7 years now and always struggled to find a proper avocado. I was making a trial at Relae in the summer of  2014 and they had a dish with white asparagus and pistachio. I was for an hour grating with the microplane this small nuts, and eating the scraps – it is that kind of job that makes you disconnect completely, and for a moment I was home eating avocado. That was a revelation for me – pistachio has a very refined avocado flavor. It is green, fatty, kind of sweet, herbal and creamy, so I decided to make a dish using only pistachio trying to achieve the sensation of eating a guacamole. I started adding elements, like grilled cucumber, beer, chervil and beach coriander seeds, as well as some grilled tomatoes, spring onions, some lemon supreams and chochoyotes made with nixtamalized rye (that taste like fried tortilla) basicly every element that reminds me of my home.

I called it flavors of guacamole, because it is basicly a salad that is composed of the elements that I found in Europe but which remind me home. It is basicly changing the language and the letters but trying to express the same thing – a fresh, creamy green sweet salad with crispness and sourness with the perfume of the coriander and textures of the vegetables.”
All best, Santiago, on your journey, and come back to London soon!

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