Eat Here: TĀTĀ Eatery Pop-Up at the Sir Colin Campbell, KilburnBy Nico Rosandic
Back in 2016 I was chowing down on some amazing Korean wings in Druid Street market from the relatively unknown TĀTĀ Eatery. There were a surge of new street food vendors at the time and I never really followed their culinary journey or knew much of their background. A few years on, various pop-ups, and a viral sandwich later, they’ve recently started a 3 month residency at the Sir Colin Campbell pub in Kilburn.
TĀTĀ Eatery is the brainchild of Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves, a couple who met working under chef Nuno Mendes. TĀTĀ is Mandarin for ‘he and she’ and the theme is a Portuguese-Chinese fusion based around small plates and focused on flavours. The menu changes almost every week so there’s always something new to discover when making a visit.
TĀTĀ Eatery x Sir Colin Campbell: The Run-Down
Walking into the Sir Colin Campbell, I was instantly struck by how low key and modest the location was considering the hype surrounding these guys. It’s basically an old-school, spit and sawdust pub with a very enviable craft beer selection. We were lead upstairs into a small dining area with stripped plaster walls and reclaimed wooden furniture. It kind of felt like we were being led to a private club and the no frills nature of everything made it easy to relax and focus on the food.
TĀTĀ Eatery x Sir Colin Campbell: The Food
For mains, we decided to order the Instagram famous Iberian katsu sando, the ox cheek quesadilla, and bitok a la Chinês which is basically an ‘East meets West’ version of Portuguese steak and eggs. Gonçalves herself was actually on hand to talk us through the menu in detail and, as a result, we were naturally enthusiastic and eager for the food to arrive.
First off was the Iberian katsu sando. For those who aren’t familiar, this is one of the most photographed sandwiches of the year and tastes just as good as it looks. A toasted brioche sandwich consisting of panko-crusted ibérico pork neck, a peppery kimchi-esque spread, cabbage and raspberry jam. Without exaggeration, it may well be my new favourite sandwich.
The ox cheek quesadilla was also a hit, having a rich and beefy flavour without overpowering the delicate rice-paper surround. Finally, the bitok a la Chinês was comfort food done spectacularly well; thin strips of tender steak sitting in a meaty gravy of Asian flavours, topped with a fried egg and served with slices of flatbread. There wasn’t anything that we could fault with any of these dishes.
There was only one option for dessert and that was a toasted rice gelato with sesame. This was basically rice cream served with a black sesame sauce and sprinkled with crispy puffed rice. Considering the full-flavoured dishes leading up to this, the light rice cream gave perfect balance by not being too sweet and the sesame taste lingered in the mouth, making it extremely moreish.
It’s easy to see why Meng and Gonçalves have garnered such a cult following. Their knack for combining flavours and fusing cuisines is notable from the first bite. My biggest regret is that I didn’t pay more attention to their escapades over the years as it means I’ve missed out on sampling many of their delicious creations. I won’t be making that mistake again, and will definitely be seeing them very soon for round two.
Open until the end of January 2019. 264-266 Kilburn High Rd, Hampstead, London NW6 2BY
Photo Credit: TĀTĀ Eatery, Instagram