We’ve had some absolutely wonderful gifts from many friends and family since we got engaged. I’ll admit, I didn’t even know it was a thing to give presents to people when they got engaged. All of them were so thoughtful and personal and one was for an evening at Cub, which is a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try for a while and was just one of those places that kept slipping my mind.
Cub has come from the incredibly well known Mr. Lyan (Dandelyan, Super Lyan) and Doug McMaster (Silo, the zero waste restaurant which I desperately want to go to) who have formed a sustainable restaurant experience. We went for the whole set menu experience, which does change, so sorry if it’s completely different by the time I actually get round to posting this.
The decor at Cub is so carefully curated and elegantly simple. Bright, sunflower yellow seating, with dusty duck egg green walls. The light shades are obviously made out of recycled materials and although slightly clumpy for the space, they draw you into the thought and care that’s gone into the creation of the entire restaurant. Reusable napkins were something I hadn’t seen for so long and it made my heart leap to see someone actually using them.
I started with a cocktail that wasn’t part of the tasting menu, purely because it used Tequila. I wish I could remember what was in it, but I stupidly didn’t take note of it, but I can promise you it was delicious. I have a very strong feeling it was a take on a Rhubarb Margarita, could be making it up, could be dead on. I promise this post will get better….
We then threw ourselves into the menu, safely guided by the expert team. Those guys know their stuff and are certainly up for a bit of banter.
First course was a glass of champagne (Which every meal should start with to be honest), but with a little twist. In the centre of the glass was a little vegetarian jelly flavoured with various herbs. I sipped away at the Champagne and when then was all gone, I simply went for it and popped the jelly in my mouth. It reminded me of how a beauty store smells. All those amazing moisturisers and lotions, but in flavour form instead of scent. It baffled me, but I think I enjoyed it.
Next up, some food. Dehydrated, rehydrated beetroot. Yup. The team quickly explained how it adds texture as our faces were probably much like yours is now. It was served with sheep’s curd, a pesto and lemon thyme. I’m salivating just thinking back to it. So unbelievably delicious. Though I did struggle to cut the beetroot, it was a slippery bugger and I was terrified of it splashing on my new pink top.
After all that food surely it was time for another drink? A pear highball with a gooseberry shrub was sure to hit the spot. This one wasn’t quite to my taste, as it had a slight aniseed note to it, but Nate adored it and was more than happy to polish off mine as well.
I forgot to mention that the menu was already 95% vegetarian, so I only had one dish “substituted”. My substituted dish was up next, but I promise you now it was in no way a step down (though I did later on find out that it was the one dish they didn’t make themselves). Delicious warm broth served with fresh bread and butter. If I could live on this, I would. An extra special part to the dish was the plate the bread was served on. Made entirely from recycled plastic, this plate embodied everything Cub tells you it’s about. I’ve seen a few Masterclasses online where you make your own ones of these and if I could make something that looks half as good as this one I’d be very chuffed.
After all that comfort and warmth, we needed a little lift. This came in the form of Celeriac with Blood Orange and monk’s beard. Now I would usually avoid ordering celeriac, as I’m not the biggest fan, but paired with blood orange I couldn’t get enough of it. This dish was similar to the beetroot in that I couldn’t cut into it to save my life. Luckily I was a few drinks in and pretty certain Celeriac doesn’t stain.
As soon as the plate was put down, it was quickly followed by the next drink. A cheeky little mouthful of beer. Anyone who knows me, knows I’ll happily try beers all day long, the only problem being that I never like any of them. This one paired beautifully with the dish and the fact it was a smaller serving made it really enjoyable. I won’t be ordering a pint in the pub anytime soon though, so don’t get too excited.
Cocktail time! I really enjoyed having small plates irregularly interrupted by a cocktail. It’s far superior to a wine pairing. I loved the dehydrated apple garnish, which had been dipped in hibiscus tea to give it that red colour around the edge. The spirit base for this drink was Scotch and Sake, a combination I had never tried before. It worked very well and was one of my favourite drinks of the night.
Speaking honestly, the night opened my eyes to a fair few ingredients that I would normally avoid. Mushrooms are tricky for me, as they are so often cooked badly/ the main ingredient in every vegetarian dish. This experience opened my eyes to how lovely they can be. These little baby Shitake mushrooms were served with smoked celeriac (see that whole ingredient being used) and kelp. I loved the smokey flavour in the celeriac purée, it was a huge highlight.
Before dessert we were given a non-alcoholic palette cleanser, Tea and compressed plums. It was very light, possibly a little thin and refreshing. That little plum garnish was very tasty, mainly because it has been compressed using alcohol.
Dessert blew my mind. There is a high chance I’ll be asking someone to recreate elements of it for the wedding. Barley Miso, Forced Rhubarb, Quinoa. Now before you say “Hebe that sounds ridiculous” hear me out. The quinoa was on top of a simple panna cotta, crunchy and crispy, almost like a biscuit. Then it was covered in this reduced, sticky barley miso syrup. Now add in forced rhubarb sorbet and your tastebuds will sing.
To end the experience we had a final cocktail. Cognac and coffee, slightly milky in texture and a very light way to finish the meal. Plus it came with a little mint chocolate stick! I tried to nibble at it between sips, but it eventually got too short, fell into the drink and it all got pretty messy after that.
All in all it was one of my favourite meals to date, I didn’t feel to full, I felt valued as a vegetarian and there was an overwhelming sense of calm, knowing that Cub cared about the environment and producing a more sustainable dining experience.