Food

Watch while your breakfast is put together at this pop-up in Kochi

A pop-up breakfast and brunch in Kochi: At George Mathew’s unusual pop-up, you can watch while your breakfast is put together, just the way you like it

As George Mathew places a concave coupe plate bearing bangers and mash on the table, he explains what went into this typically British dish.

It features spiced pork sausages, sourced from Bengaluru, served on a bed of mashed potatoes, over which George ladles velvety onion gravy. The dish is one of many on a old-school Continental menu he has curated for his two-weekend pop-up at ‘Luv It Fresh’ in Jawahar Nagar.

Watch while your breakfast is put together at this pop-up in Kochi

The meal comes with 10 options for breakfast and brunch. Some are huge such as the ‘Full Monty’ — sausage, bacon, toasted bread, sautéed mushrooms, baked beans, grilled tomatoes, fried egg, orange juice with choice of tea or coffee. Then there’s the equally hearty ‘French Toast Breakfast Meal’, with pancakes, pork sausages, bacon, roast potatoes, fried eggs, fruit and a choice of tea or coffee. He also plates up minimal platters, such as ‘David’, featuring cocktail sausages and scrambled eggs in a cone. There are beef cutlets too.

As I watch, he assembles the dish — mashing potatoes and frying the blanched sausages. It is a very homely feeling, talking to the chef as your food gets done.

A pop-up in this format is a first for George. He has a cloud kitchen, The Bean Leaf, which serves naadan food such as cheemeen chor (prawn rice), meen moily, kozhuva (anchovy) fry and pothichor (a Kerala meal packed in banana leaf).

He also runs a concept kitchen, called Fearless Flavours (FF). One of his concepts is ‘George At Home’, where he hosts guests at his home in Kakkanad. FF is inspired by Curtis Stone’s Food Network show, Take Home Chef in which Stone approaches a shopper in a supermarket and offers to cook a meal for them at their house. George calls this “a tiny version of Take Home Chef.

He also cooks at home, has people over often and is open to cooking for others in their kitchens. He says learnt everything he knows about food by trial and error, watching cookery shows on television. Working in the airline industry in Qatar, his job profile had nothing to do with cooking; it was a hobby. That is until a health scare, in 2013, gave him free time to surf television channels. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives by Guy Fieri got him hooked and he started cooking for friends over the weekend.

“I loved to cook. It was also something to keep me going,” says the 48 year-old, whose health issues, at the time, were taking a toll on him. He used the time cooking for larger groups, devouring anything on food – reading up, watching television shows and even attending a week-long course at Opal by Gordon Ramsay at St. Regis, Doha.

Hailing from a family of doctors, he calls himself the black sheep of the family. Right now, he says he is playing to his strengths with this unique cooking-on-demand format. Ultimately, he wants to introduce a fresh culture of dining out, cooking and eating in Kochi, which is what this pop-up aims to do. “The aim is to cook these continental dishes in an interactive way. It not only allows you to explain a dish better, but also helps them understand the kind of produce used, and methods of cooking.” He adds that with this style of pop-up, personalisation is key: “What makes it better for me is that the dishes are familiar, and I can meet their tastes.”

George’s next round of pop-ups will be on January 25 and 26; open from 7.30 am to 12 pm. For reservations call 9497500603

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 3:03:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/at-george-mathews-unusual-pop-up-in-kochi-you-can-watch-while-your-breakfast-is-put-together-just-the-way-you-like-it/article30644122.ece

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