This past Sunday, I gave up on the pretense of being healthy and started off with a breakfast of Philly Cheese Steak Poutine from @ThePoutinerie on Brick Lane before a late lunch of donuts from the @GlazedandConfused launch event hosted by @SharpsBarbers.
Poutine is a classic Canadian dish that’s slowly making an appearance in London – simply put it’s fries covered in squeaky cheese curds and doused in gravy. I first tried a version from the Potato Merchant with goat cheese mousse (the chips were good, the cheese terrible) and then followed it up with a visit to the lovely ladies of P’tite Poutine (decent chips, proper cheese curd, salty gravy). So far, not a bad effort from London but nothing approximating the glorious tales I’ve heard from my Canadian friends.
Then, at the urging of @ladypingping, I joined her to try out The Poutinerie – a new street food stall trading at Brick Lane on Sunday and run by a lovely couple. They offer three versions: Traditional (chips, cheese, and gravy), Coq Au Vin (traditional plus roast chicken and bacon), and Philly Cheese Steak (traditional plus onions, peppers, and a creamy cheese sauce). Prices for the three are £5, £6, and £7 respectively with the serving size being sufficient to fill you up without being overwhelming.
While I nibbled on the others, I can tell you I loved the Philly Cheese Steak. It’s the range of cheese from the squeaky curd, to the melted cheddar and provolone, and finally the creamy cheese sauce that really knocks it up a notch. Add some crunchy onions and peppers and I’m sold. I demolished my box and seriously considered getting another – in fact if we didn’t have donuts next I probably would have!
Before dashing off, we had a quick chat with the guy doing all the cooking (he’s a full time chef and does this on his off time). In between balancing the double deep fryer churning out baskets of perfectly cooked chips, searing chunks of bacon on the stove, and keeping an eye on the simmering gravy, he shared their plans for expanding the range of poutine toppings as well as putting on an Xmas special from next week. There is even talk of a lighter summer version to keep it going year round.
The Poutinerie will be trading at Brick Lane for the next 2-3 weeks before taking a well deserved break for the holidays to recharge before coming back in the New Year with a vengeance. Get in there and try them out soon – the stall is up and running by 11/11.30am on Sundays and they sell out by 2.30/3pm. They are usually toward the Bethnal Green side just past the Overground bridge.
Glazed and Confused
This is a new donut bakery focusing on the delivery market only – no shop in the works just yet but I’d expect that they look to sell via existing coffee shops so you don’t have to order a dozen to get a taste. That being said, after having a taste, I wouldn’t mind a dozen coming my way.
Sharps Barber & Shop hosted the launch and were gracious to provide some excellent coffee too. I joined some other press and friends of the donut guys to taste 7 of the 20+ flavours they’ve whipped up as well as a special work in progress.
Check out the gallery below for mouth-watering pics but here’s a quick summary in order of tasting.
- Mint Chocolate – Dark chocolate donut with a mint glaze and some extra dark chocolate shavings. A bit too chewy and the glaze cracked off but not a bad start.
- Stem Ginger – light fluffy vanilla donut with a sugar glaze studded with shredded stem ginger. A crowd favourite and my top pick. Well balanced, not too sweet, and definitely moreish (given that I “tasted” it about three times).
- Gooseberry Fool aka GooFoo – A cream filled donut with real gooseberry it had a tart refreshing taste. Not my personal choice (I don’t care for cream) but one I can see being very popular.
- Strawberry shortcake – Regular donut with a thick pink glaze and topped with shortcake crumble. The pink colour comes from the mounds of strawberries used in the glaze (nothing artificial here!) and you get a strong flavour of fresh fruit which makes it an easily rationalised choice for Friday mornings.
- Double chocolate – Chocolate donut filled with a chocolate ganache. It’s rich but with a good dark chocolate so not too overwhelming. It needs something a bit more to make it stand out (maybe a sharper contrast in the two chocolates?) but hey, I enjoyed it.
- PBJ – Yes that’s right, it’s a peanut butter & jelly (jam to you Brits) donut. Rather than blend the flavours together, you get a regular donut stuffed with a layer of creamy peanut butter and a layer of jelly (I think raspberry but it may have been strawberry). All it needed was a bit of a light toasting and I’d make this my standard breakfast.
- Black Forest Gateaux – This is one of the premium range and looks the part. This was a black cheery and chocolate glazed chocolate donut filled with whipped cream and topped with a kirsh-soaked cherry. Delicious but quite sweet (and no the cherry isn’t enough to give you a buzz).
We also tried one of the experimental donuts, an orange custard crème brulee, which I expect will be spectacular once complete. All the donuts seemed baked rather that strictly fried which gave them a lighter airy feel from what I’m used to – a good thing as I felt less guilty at the number I ate.
And special mention must be made of Ella, a junior food critic in the making, who schooled us all in taking notes and rating the donuts.
Glazed & Confused will be based in Angel and aim to delivery via push bike and Vespa to post codes in Zone 1 and maybe a bit in Zone 2 on the East Side. Prices are £1.50/donut and £15 for 10 for the regular range and delivery is included. You’ll need to let them know the night before so no last minute orders although they will look to adapt to demand after a few months. The donuts are huge (think 2x the average Krispie Kreme) and damn good quality so you are getting value for money here. I’m looking forward to Friday already so I can order a batch for the office.