The Mood for Great Food! Stir, Woolwich

It’s not where one would expect to find chef Stuart Todd, the protégé of the Roux Brothers and Tom Aitken, in the self-confessed, unassuming and socially motivated café Stir!

Stir is on a side street in the southwest London suburb of Woolwich, a touch off the beaten track – but hey that’s what we want – to stir it all up – literally!

Not so surprising that Stuart is a local lad and living close to the restaurant he mutes is more than a trade off for the high life…

With little more than 30 covers in a shabby chic environment, with a kitchen that would be considered modest on a yacht, and a team (partnership) running the show morning, noon and (now) Thursday, Friday and Saturday night…

The menu is chalk and talk – we deliberate as we open our BYO bottle – and are given explanations of the ingredients – the status of the Stir allotment and a brief history…

Stir is run by mental health charity Bridge Support and is located underneath the Woolwich facility. The café was originally dedicated to those under the Bridge banner, also a place where recovery from mental illness could be combined with work experience and culinary tuition. Now open to the public and offering a menu that would be adored in any restaurant!

We choose smoked mackerel pate with bread from Flour Power, one of London’s best bakery’s, zingy textured paté, we dip into a luxurious rosemary punctured Camembert, and a highlight that pleased myself and my guest – a bowl of chorizo, black pudding and coriander salad, surprising us both with the soft chorizo and musky black pudding. Our delightful Stir assistant Jenny, talks us through more delicious details, keeping on top of the orders, our gratitude and even the washing up – this is a multi tasking team!

Mains of Stuart’s classic beef bourguinon – he explains that it is a less popular cut that is reflected in the price that he slowly cooks to produce a tender, rich dish accompanied by a truffle mash, again served in a bowl – he talks about how his menu reflects simple but superb food – he describes it as peasant food, with style over substance…

There are plenty of vegan choices and the hot and hearty noodle-strewn Pho further illustrates Stuart’s international ability in a grass roots capacity…

This restaurant is fabulous – it is worth the trip to the South East and it feels good to be replete in more ways than one, satisfaction and a clear sense of supporting social enterprise.

Stir it up!

 

 



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