What is Gezellig?
Gezellig is the name of a new restaurant coming to London at the end of the year, run by a trio of comfort food enthusiasts called James, Sarge and Wiet. They're yet to pick a suitable venue for the new restaurant, but for now we were treated to a preview of what'll be on offer by visiting the the final days of its Carousel pop-up, and boy we were ever impressed.
What kind of food is it?
Apart from ‘very, very good’, it’s a little tough to sum up the food at Gezellig in a few words, with the menu spanning quite a few cuisines, leaping from asparagus with sea cabbage and shrimp, to Szechuan duck, to English strawberry cheesecake.
The overarching aim, according to the trio, is just to serve lovely food they themselves would want to eat, or “creative comfort food” as they've dubbed it, all cooked to perfection then skillfully paired with loads of wine.
What did we eat?
For the pop-up, head chef Graham Long, aka Sarge, devised a five course set menu, which kicked off with the ‘holy trinity of pig snacks’, in the form of pulled pork sausage rolls, scotch quail eggs and crispy pig cheek, which were all gorgeous, and matched beautifully with the suggested Chardonnay. Next up, we had a seasonal salad with juicy white asparagus, buttery brown shrimp and a fresh Riesling.
The main event was the Szechuan duck, which arrived pink and perfect, covered with a rich gravy poured tableside and paired with a fruity pinot noir from a tiny vineyard in Germany. It was accompanied by a joyous surprise of a dish Gezellig are calling the ‘dirty duck bake’ - a hefty bowl of dauphinoise-style potatoes with soft duck gratin muddled through.
A chunky lamb fat toasty was up next, with a blob of green tomato chutney, paired with a fruity Savagnin Nature. “This one just goes really well with cheese toasties,” said James, and he wasn’t wrong.
Aside from the great balance of flavours, textures and styles - normally we don’t see duck followed by cheese toasties - it was the wine pairings that made Gezellig extra-special. It’s clear they really know their stuff, and love to talk about it, but by no means intimidatingly so (as can so often be the case in the world of wine) .
What's coming up next?
The next time we see Gezellig in London there’ll be no sign of the communal dining tables and fixed menu of the pop-up (though on the balm summer's evening we visited, it worked a treat), replaced instead by a more traditional A La Carte menu, plus a separate bar area.
Before the big opening though, Sarge will be doing a residency at the Royal Academy of Arts with The Dead Rabbits (no, not that one) However, as soon as that's wrapped up, it’ll be full steam ahead on finding a suitable venue somewhere in the city, which could be anywhere. We’ll let you know as soon as we know more.
Hot Dinners were invited to Gezellig, Prices were correct at the time of writing.