Section 33 have done it again and although I didn’t think they could get any better from my last review of them in November, they did (see Review: Section33 Popup Restaurant). Section 33 is an underground pop up restaurant with a generous heart. It takes unusual spaces and make them spectacular for 3-4 days only, serving not only innovative but consistently amazing food. The past 2 pop-ups have been in the Govanhill Baths and the Panopticon, with a selection of small plates to choose from. In each of these locations Section 33 donated a share of its profits to the venue to help with their restoration funds, as well as local food banks.
This pop up was slightly different. It was a take over of an existing pub: the old Sammy Dow’s on Nithsdale Road, Stathbungo. With the donation planned for the Shawlands and Strathbungo Community Council. It had the usual social media build up with the addition of spray painted Section 33 logos popping up all over the city and the venue was kept secret until the last possible moment. The biggest difference, however, was the food. Instead of a selection of sharing plates this was a 5 course tasting menu, with a gin cocktail and 2 glasses of wine, all for £45 per person.
Atmosphere 5/5: The old Samuel Dow’s Pub, now a Lebowskis pop up called the Stag’s Head, was updated from an old man style pub to a retro, cosy venue. The bar was transformed into an open kitchen, which created an interactive element to the evenings dining. The two rooms where dinner was served were different in their style. We were in the front room, sitting next to the fire, which was cosy and intimate, whilst still being lively and full of bustle. The back room was more of a party atmosphere with a DJ playing some tunes. The satisfaction of customers was palpable in both rooms: I saw multiple diners scraping their plates so much that I swear the pattern was coming off the china. Everyone was having a great time.
Food 5/5: The food was out of this world amazing. Having now been to all 3 of Section 33’s pop ups they have proven time and time again that they can produce fantastic, high quality, consistent food in any setting. The 5 courses consisted of:
Haggis, Beet cured Smoked Salmon, Mull Cheddar
Katie Rodgers Knockraich Crowdie, Oats, Pistachio and Pomegranate, West End Honey
Islay Crab Verrine, Compressed Tomatoes, Pickled Cucumber and Seaweed Salt
Roast Fillet of Red Deer, Braised Haunch, Potato Galette, Parsnip and King Cabbage
Heather Scented Panna Cotta, Edenmill Gin Raspberry Sorbet, Teacake
What can I say but YUM, YUM, YUM. Everything was perfect. My favourite course was the Venison. I loved every flavour on that plate and the combination of the fillet and the braised haunch was delightful. Other highlights included the Crab Verrine and the Heather Scented Panna Cotta. I don’t think I have ever had a heather flavoured dessert and I was very pleasantly surprised. I also, as you will see from next week’s review, don’t normally like Panna Cotta but this trumped even the sorbet, which is my usual favourite.
The welcome cocktails were gorgeous and the matched wine was a treat. Colin has quite a sore head this morning as he drank mine too, as I was designated driver.
A new addition to the proceedings was coffee. For this event Section 33 paired up with “It All Started Here…” coffee to provide one of the nicest coffees I have had in a long time. My latte was so rich in flavour it was almost smoky, but didn’t have a hint of bitterness. I will definitely be heading down to Patrick Farmer’s Market to pick up some of their coffee in the future.
Service 5/5: The service was great. I am always impressed how Kyle, the genius behind section 33 (pictured below), pulls together a team for 3 days in a random venue to provide friendly, efficient and enthusiastic service. It’s a triumph.
It was a wee bit slow at times but this can be easily forgiven as they were working their socks off. We were there at the busiest time and the covers were coming out thick and fast but always with a smile. You can tell that all of the people working on Section 33 have such a passion for food and hospitality.
Price £££: At £45 for a 5 course tasting menu, with 2 matched wines and a welcome cocktail I think this represented great value for money. Also you can forgive any bill when it is presented so stylishly…
Overall 15/15: This was truly an amazing night in every way and Kyle and his team fully deserve top marks. It was yet another showcase for their talent and diversity, and also for other small business such as “It All Started Here Coffee…”. I cannot wait to see what Section 33 does next….