Behold the white asparagus.
Ironically, others seem to pale in comparison.
Grown underground in Germany, they lack the usual green colour because they never photosynthesise – and they’re exceedingly popular, with our Teutonic cousins chomping their way through 125,000 tonnes of them a year, despite only being in season for a few precious weeks.
Luckily, those few weeks happen to fall …right now.
And seeking to raise their profile back in old Blighty is chef Sebastian Delamothe, who’s been hitherto occupied cooking up critically-acclaimed cuisine at the triple Michelin-starred La Vie in Germany, and in the private kitchens of luxury superyachts.
For the next month, he’s taking the reins in epicurean haven, The Cuckoo N1, a smartly turned out ‘gastrohub’ that plays host to regular guest chef residencies. The menu is a whistle-stop tour around Germany’s traditional regional classics, served in portions designed to be shared. At the heart, naturally, is the asparagus itself – freshly imported from Delamothe’s family farm back in Mecklenburg Vorpommern – served warm, tender, and drizzled with a thick hollandaise.
For starters, you’ll find your first asparagus in the form of a hearty, textured soup, alongside platters of charcuterie, house-made pickles and paté. Moving up, there’s Berlin-inspired panfried stonebass with a curried butter, onglet (hanger steak), and traditional sides like bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes with onions) and creamy minted peas with curds, which – we’ll warn you now – will ruin all other mushy peas for you, forever.
And for dessert? You’ll find a selection of German cheeses, a pistachio & rhubarb butter cake, and a crumbly brownie served with salted caramel ice cream.
As it turns out, Bavarian cuisine is enough to make anyone green with envy.
NOTE: The White Asparagus kitchen is open until the end of June, Thurs & Fri 6pm-10pm, Saturdays 12-4pm and 6-10pm, and Sundays 12-4pm. Reservations are not necessary but can be made via [email protected]
The White Asparagus | The Cuckoo N1, 115 Hemingford Road, N1 1BZ