What: A new tenant has arrived at South London’s Platform1, which has made a name for itself by propelling new chef talent into the mainstream. Billed as seasonal and sustainable, Fodder is to complete a month long residency at the East Dulwich venue, which has also played host to the likes of Smoke & Salt and Perilla (both of which now have permanent sites).
Who: Former Fera at Claridge’s chefs Michael Thompson and Ollie Downey. Their approach in the kitchen has been heavily influenced by Fera’s high profile founder Simon Rogan. There is an emphasis on using sustainable and - where possible - locally sourced produce. For example, the fruit for a damson compote is sourced from just two streets away, and the tomatoes are grown on the roof. Platform1 itself is the brainchild of Chloe Gounder-Forbes, who has hosted 18 residencies at the restaurant over the past two years.
The vibe: The restaurant is situated on trendy Lordship Lane. Gounder-Forbes describes the restaurant as ‘fine dining in trainers’, reflected by the relaxed atmosphere of the interior and the arty garden. A micro-herb and vegetable garden is maintained on a grow-to-order basis, with plants on the shelves behind the bar and dotted around the fairylight-decked terrace (the walls say ‘please don’t ash in the garnish!’ to remind customers where some of the ingredients come from).
The food: To score a residency at Platform1, chefs have to undergo a rigorous audition process with Gounder-Forbes and create a five-course menu that costs £35 per head plus a separate list of bar snacks. Fodder’s menu changes depending on the availability of ingredients, but includes the likes of Cornish cod poached in seaweed with sea vegetables, buttermilk and apple marigold; heritage carrots and butterhead lettuce with smoked hay; buttermilk buns, crispy chicken skin and cultured butter; and raw plaice, cucamelon and apple marigold. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the restaurant runs a ‘test kitchen’, trialling out new ideas at £20 for two courses or £25 for three. Recent trialled dishes include ox cheek and smoked egg yolk encased in a celeriac ‘ravioli’, topped with horseradish, sourced from one of the chef’s father in law’s Sheffield allotment; crispy lamb shoulder, squash and sheep’s yoghurt; and buttermilk mousse, damson and Earl Grey.
And another thing: If you’re wondering who will be taking over from the Fodder crew once their residency is over, you’ll have to keep guessing. Gounder-Forbes never releases the name of the next pop up until just before they move in, as she says it can be disheartening and unfair to Platform1’s current residents.