Last week, along with a selection of bloggers, I was invited to The Waterway in Maida Vale by Eat Off The Menu. The Waterway is one of the many restaurants that Eat Off The Menu has partnered with to offer a range of unique dishes that are only available if you chose to “eat off the menu”. Rasheed, Head Chef at The Waterway created “The Real Mediterranean” just for customers of Eat Off The Menu. Here’s a sneak peek at the secret dish and a little more about the concept;
Photo credit: EatOffTheMenu.
So, how does Eat Off The Menu work?
The idea behind Eat Off The Menu is simple, every chef has the ingredients and skills to hand to create secret dishes you won’t find on their menu. So, the team has scoured the city for chefs brave enough to create a dish or experience and along with a review and summery on their site, Eat Off The Menu offer the public to experience it too.
There’s everything from an ultimate burger, a taste of Sri Lanka and even the chance to learn to cook a curry in Brick Lane – so you’ll be spoiled for choice. You simply pre-book your dish, after which the name and location of the restaurant will be revealed to you via email. You can visit the restaurant anytime you want, you only need to turn up and (James Bond levels of suaveness optional) ask to “Eat Off The Menu” and give them your name and show your confirmation email. Then, it’s time to enjoy your secret dish!
The Real Mediterranean, Maida Vale
To start, we sampled a few of the other dishes off the, not so secret, menu. The chef kindly prepared some sharing plates of their most popular starters. With meat, seafood and cheese they really did cover all bases. From top left to bottom right we tried: Goat’s Cheese Fritters with smoked tomato and garlic chutney. Scallops with Chorizo. Mini Cornish Crab Cakes with a pea aioli. & finally Duck Salad with watercress, walnuts and apple cider chutney.
My personal favourite of the starters we sampled was the Chargrilled Squid which was served with sweet chilli sauce, balsamic and mixed leaves. Squid is one of those tricky things that is either beautifully done or tough with no real inbetween. This squid was quite possibly the best I’ve ever tasted and the glaze complimented it perfectly. I can certainly see myself popping back to enjoy a plate of this by the riverside when we’ve got a spot of good weather over the summer. Anyway, on to the main event – the secret dish, our main course, the real mediterranean.
The Secret Dish
“Food in the Mediterranean area had so much influence from different cultures throughout history but have you ever tried to express that culinary influence on one plate? I will try!” – Rasheed, Head Chef and creator of “The Real Mediterranean” dish for Eat Off The Menu.
As you may have guessed, the secret dish created by Rasheed for Eat Off The Menu is really special to him. This herb crusted lamb rack with a Mediterranean vegetables is inspired by his journey as a chef. It brings in flavours from Middle East, Greece, Italy, France, North Africa, right through the Catalane of Spain. Speaking to Rasheed after dinner, we were told that it was his first creation and one that he has kept the recipe for well hidden ever since.
It tasted just as wonderful as it looked and before I go on a complete ramble about how perfectly cooked the lamb was and how the flavours were impeccably balanced – I implore you to go and try it for yourself. I know for sure that this isn’t the last time that I’ll visit The Waterway to eat this off the menu…