fans of high protein diets, listen up! there's a new lunch spot just opened on london bridge's tooley street, and it's going to change your life. founder daniel bear says he wants the days of the soggy sandwiches to be behind us (despite founding and selling his original brainchild 'euphorium bakery' to tesco almost ten years ago), and has just gone and launched london's newest, and most revolutionary carvery.
yes, carvery! bear's totally cashless 'carve' is the first of its kind, but he tells us that he hopes to launch a total of 30 of the mainly-meat chains over the next five years. the venture's catch phrase "primal protein served fast" seems to say it all, but nevertheless charlie and i bumbled down there last week to sample the menu ourselves before the official launch this week. you know, just doing our bit for the community. we so good to you.
the totally stripped back venue makes it easy to navigate the whole "protein is king" theme without fuss. there were no tables and chairs inside when we went to check it out, really hitting home the "takeaway lunch" idea too. so far, so simple. the menu boards are similar to the new mcdonald's ones with the touch screens making even the ordering process as quick as touching three or four buttons before using your card to check out. as someone who doesn't carry cash, this already had ten bonus points from me.
we spoke briefly with daniel and his chef about their dream for the "restaurant" (not sure we can call it that without like, waiters or like, tables and chairs? can we?), and how daniel was keen to dispel the "connotation of granny in the corner with her slippers on, roasting some potatoes half-asleep in her rocking chair", a vision many people get when they think about a tradish carvery... i guess.
it will be fun to watch the theatre of it all though; once customers have selected their lunch and paid for it, watched it being carved right there in front of them, plated and bagged up to take away all in under the time it takes to pick a sandwich from a fridge and pay for it. or, egg pot, because they do a breakfast menu too. the choices of roast bacon in a marmalade glaze, cumberland sausage meatloaf with bubble and squeak or a fish cake in panko crumbs, all served with scrambled eggs and fresh spinach. gym bunnies rejoice! finally a protein pot for all your post-gym needs!
the lunch menu though, is where the options become tougher to pick a fave. we were presented with dish after dish, and in the end, decided to just bloody well try one of everything. my favourites, in order of preference: tofu slab (yes, really) in a toasted sesame crust, orange tamari soy stock, sugar snap peas, chinese leaves, red pepper, green chilli and soy peanut dressing (just the most fresh and tasty non-meaty meal i've ever had. i disliked nothing about this meal - and i normally hate tofu); roast beef in cracked black pepper horseraddish, sea salt, chilli roasted sweet potato, and a herb and capers relish (omg seriously, roast beef and sweet potatoes? delish); jerk roast turkey with coconut rice and black eyed peas (juuuuuust so tasty!); roast pork belly with pear and apple mustard fruits (no idea) and mac and three cheese (it was very cheesy but the meat was just cracking); salt beef with beetroot chrain horeraddish and green pickle relish; the salmon option (didn't try it).
i suppose it's at this point i should let you know the price, eh? well, here's the part that is seriously the icing on a truly tasty protein cake (gross): each option costs the same. the exact same. at that price is £6.95 per protein pot. less than seven quid for an entirely tasty, and filling breakfast or lunch, for those a little more conscious about what foods are going into their diets. as well as that, there are sides (desserts mostly) and soft and hot drinks, that are all - again, a standard price (i don't remember what though. usual sides and drinks prices i assume).
we were invited to stay and eat and drink and chat, but we were literally so full after trying no less than six of the meal offerings, so there was no chance of that. i was on my phone for the rest of the night telling everyone i knew about how great an idea this venture was, and basically booking in lunch dates for the coming weeks. it officially opened on monday. when can i take you there?
*we were invited to sample the menu. all words are my own*