Planning the new menu for Cult always seems to involve some slightly bizarre wordplay. Not only does it confuse the hell out of customers, it also annoys the front house staff. What I believe is called a ‘win-win’.
Trying to inject a good, broad balance of dishes is always blummin’ tricky. From looking at sales figures of previous favourites, GPs, customer & staff suggestions, the logistics of serving and the logistics of actually cooking the dish all factor heavily. I usually go through the politically correct motions and then when no-one’s looking change it back to how I wanted it in the first place.
On the shamefully rare occasions I eat out I’d always plump for a series of smaller dishes over the traditional starter/main/dessert – mainly because the latter fills me to bursting. This of course doesn’t stop me ordering the equivalent quantity of smaller dishes until I’m bursting. It just makes my brain feel like I have more control. I can stop when I want.
Anyhow, gyoza are nearly up there on a par with sushi for me. The izakayas in Kagoshima, popping up from behind shuttered shopfronts was another one of those ‘ooh,-I’d-better-remember-this-’cause-it’s-brilliant’ moments. Nearly always manned by the owner flying solo – serving cold Japanese lager on draught whilst simultaneously rolling gyoza dumplings, frying & steaming them was spellbinding. Such a great way of wasting a night (for a seaman waiting for a flight home) – order (of course, I mean point and hold fingers up) a plate of three gyoza with a glass of chilled, people watch and chef watch for a bit and then go again. That’s something I’d love to recreate at Cult. The bit about one man doing it all is pushing it a bit though.
The momofuku bit comes from Japan & the inventor of the instant noodle via New York’s David Chang (of, funnily enough, Momofuku, Milk, Ssam and so on). On the menu I’ve recreated the Pot Noodle (a fave from my teenage student years) using rice noodles which gives me enough license to call it Plov Noodle (a nod to the classic Uzbeki Plov – a rice pilaf dish). So, to explain the clumsy pun shoehorned onto a menu in Suffolk, England, we now have a phrase from one of the best movies ever ‘Izakaya, Momofuku!!’, otherwise pronounced ‘Yippee Ki Yay, Motherfucker’ – recently voted #96th best movie line ever. Die Hard,1988.