There’s no better collaboration than a producer of food and a restaurant; the two always go hand in hand perfectly well and this event was no exception. The guys over at Seasonal Berries organised a little Spring get together at the very new StreetXO in Mayfair, London to demonstrate the versatility of strawberries in food – that’s right, we’re not talking dipped in chocolate or served with whipped cream we’re talking actual, real meals.
I’ve actually never seen strawberries in anything other than a dessert as they’re very rarely, if ever, used in every day cooking but my mind was about to be blown. The Seasonal Berries programme, which shares the latest information and facts with berry fans, is a year-round campaign funded by British Summer Fruits, an industry body that represents 98% of British berry growers and they really wanted to show off their strawberries this year. Aside from the health benefits, strawberries are (as I now know) incredibly underrated as an ingredient in food and are the ‘go to’ fruits of the British Summer, am I right? The ‘Spring Strawberry’ is a good-quality, nice and sweet strawberry from Morocco and Spain and are available at this time of the year in all major supermarkets – so go out and get some before somebody else does!
Upon arrival at StreetXO, the brain child of David Munoz, a three time Michelin Star chef, I was shown downstairs to the bar where I was offered a cocktail. It was 11am but I wasn’t about to say no to some alcohol while I was in London on a jolly without the kids. I opted for a vodka based cocktail which was probably, actually no.. definitely, the best tasting cocktail I have ever had. It was sweet, it was acidic, it had popping candy on the top and it was utterly divine! If this was an insight in to what I was about to be in for, I was seriously excited.
After the cocktails we were shown through to the bar-cum-kitchen. Now, I love a good open kitchen, but to actually be able to sit at a breakfast style bar where you can watch your food be prepared right in front of you is a whole other experience. On our seats were some aprons, which we all put on, and we were invited into the kitchen to see how each dish was made. Each of the five dishes were pulled from the regular StreetXO menu but had been revised to feature strawberries.
My personal favourite out of all of them had to be the Pekinese dumplings with crunchy pig’s ear, strawberry hoisin, aioli and pickles. I literally can’t convey just how good this ‘plate’ of food was. It was served on wax paper and each of the little mounds of food were to be eaten in one go while scooping up the strawberry hoisin, all with your fingers. I’ve never been to Asia but it was very much what I’d expect of street food except here at StreetXO it was refined, seriously tasty and bursting with flavour.
Other dishes included grilled squid with strawberries, cold shabu-shabu of strawberries gazpacho, an asparagus and Spanish stawberry salad followed by an incredible spicy strawberry and white chocolate dessert. I think it’s fair to say I came away from the event feeling totally inspired to incorporate more strawberries into our food while they’re available.
Would I visit there and eat as a paying customer whilst in London? Hell yeah! It’s upscale, edgy and an absolute collision of flavours and cultures. If you’re in London and fancy something a little different, I’d be heading to StreetXO, even if it was just for the cocktails because I can promise that you won’t leave disappointed!
*I was invited to attend this event. All thoughts and opinions are my own.