The dining scene in East London is never short of activity or surprises and this is particularly true when speaking of the most recent crop of new concepts. In the run up to the Games, this area has been peppered with new restaurant and bar openings, supperclub events and a surge of rooftop parties. Now a young, talented chef who has spent most of his career working in Michelin starred kitchens is bringing his own take on street food to East London, hosting an outdoor dining experience in a schoolyard adjacent to Broadway Market.
Ben Spalding, an award-winning chef whose professional career boasts 10 Michelin starred kitchens in four countries is bringing his refined culinary skills to the street. 'Stripped Back' is a unique take on street food. By using rare, wild, and 'global' ingredients Spalding aims to provide a quick, fun & unpretentious experience to diners of all ages.
Set in a school playground, shoulder to shoulder with streetfood traders Homeslice and Yum Bun, Spalding has erected a tiny outdoor kitchen. Diners are seated across the table from Spalding and served 4 consecutive courses costing £15. With space for only eight covers, the dining experience is purposefully intimate. 'It's not about replicating a restaurant and it has nothing to do with fine dining' says Spalding, 'We have no refrigeration, gas or electricity so cooking is raw, creative and stripped back. I give the same amount of detail and love to the experience as I would in a restaurant but with close up interaction with the chef that you don't get anywhere else in London.'
Dishes served last weekend included a salad of 'Cured market trout, lime, almonds & pickled samphire' and for dessert, 'Crunchy sponge with caramelised white chocolate, herbs and Kentish strawberries' served quirkily out of a garden trowel. Spalding plans to run Stripped Back every Saturday for the forseeable future with a view to making it permanent should it prove popular.
Since leaving Roganic in April, Ben hasn’t wasted any time getting involved in new projects. He recently hosted a series of Roast Sunday events with Daniel Young and is working regular shifts alongside Brett Graham and the team at The Ledbury. His ultimate aim however, is to open his own place. 'I am in developed talks with a group of people who share the same vision as me. We are currently looking at sites but are not rushing the process.’ It’s really important to me that I continue to learn all the time, doing projects like Stripped Back ensures that this continues to happen.'
Ben Spalding will host Stripped Back every Saturday in London Fields Primary school playground from 10am - 5pm, Westgate Street E8 3RL. No booking - follow @_strippedback for more details.