Things are hotting up at the Forge this summer. Not only is this the hottest venue to go to for classical, folk, jazz and world music gigs, this summer you can also fill up on sizzling Latin American street food at their Pop-up restaurant La Cantina.
I was asked to review the food on a Cuban Jam night. We arrived at around 6.30 and were directed upstairs where we picked our table overlooking the stage and the dance floor on the ground floor. The music wasn't going to start till 8 pm so we figured we were well positioned for it.
We celebrated the start of the weekend with a refreshing Mango Tango which was a potent and fruity rum cocktail.
My friend and I were both tempted by the sound of the arepas so we started with those. Arepas are deep filled parcels filled with either beef, pork, fish or veg mixed with beans, cheese and salsa. Venezuelans love them. We both went for the beef filled ones. In hindsight we should have shared one between the two of us, as these babies were not only deep filled, they were also incredibly filling.
For my main I chose the Pescado o la Macho. It was a Peruvian dish with fried hake, mussels and squid in a tomato sauce and served with rice and salad. I loved the flavours of the sauce and the flaky fish. The salad was amazing and even though it was a only a side dish, it had some powerful flavours going on.
My friend had a Cuban sandwich which was filled with roasted veggies and gooy cheese. I had a little bite and it tasted lovely.
By the time we finished our meal, the musicians started getting ready on the stage below, so we decided to have another drink. (Those Mango Tangoes were way too tasty.) We were slightly piqued that when the music started, we couldn't enjoy it as the windows were shut. But flezi as we are, we finished our drinks and went downstairs, where we listened to the passionate Cuban beats for a little while.
I loved the atmosphere at this Camden venue and there are some great gigs on the Forge's program for the rest of the summer. Check it out on their site and if you do end up going, don't forget to check out La Cantina for a pre-gig food stop.