REVIEW: Caiger & Co's Winter Residency at The Cuckoo

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Heads up, foodies: The Cuckoo pub on Hemmingford Road have an exceptional new kitchen residency. They’re called Caiger & Co. and they are local, seasonal and truly, truly scrumptious.

Alix Caiger, Chef / Owner at Caiger & Co. set up her bespoke catering company after graduating from university. Having gained a reputation for excellent cooking and dinner parties whilst at university, Alix took her passion for cooking and food straight to train at Leith’s School of Food and Wine, which has created some of London’s finest caterers and chefs. Just dusting off his apron from his stint at London’s first Naked restaurant, head chef Jono Hope is in the kitchen with a menu of mythical proportions.

North Four, North London magazine, The Cuckoo, Caiger and co, kitchen residency

Locally sourced seasonal dishes will be served form Thursday to Saturday evenings until the 17th December. There’s also a charity dish that donates profits from each ordered to the #CookforSyria campaign.

Having spent the day sampling craft beers and independent vinyl at the Spitalfields Label Market, we were hungry hungry hippos and craving some top quality food that only a pub-based supper residency could satiate. We’d salivated over Caiger & Co’s menus and had wanted to swing by The Cuckoo for a while, so it was time to take them up on their generous invite.

To begin, we devoured the Caiger & Co. seaweed bread; a lot less salty than you’d imagine with a dense base worthy enough for the variety of spreads we ravaged upon it. Firstly we delicately sampled the smoked eel butter before laying it on with a trowel it was so moreish and nowhere near as strong as expected. On to the homemade smoked chilli conserve whose sweetness went weirdly well with the eel butter. The black olive tapenade was the winner of the bread spread heats however, bursting with umami delights and wonderful textures.

North Four, North London magazine, The Cuckoo, Caiger and co, kitchen residency

For starters we ordered the Moroccan chickpea smash tortilla (with avocado, labneh and sesame seeds) and the smoked mozzarella on toast (with loquat jam, pickled quince and crushed almonds). Reluctantly swapping halfway through we were not disappointed. The Moroccan and Greek flavours of the chickpea smash tortilla enjoyed a fiesta of a big fat marriage in our mouths, a dish we’re definitely maybe going to attempt recreating for brunch one day. As for the smoked mozzarella on toast, who knew that simply smoking that pasty Italian buffalo juice would create such a taste sensation. Particularly when paired with loquat jam and tangy pickled quince on crispy bread. A real motley crew of textures that play together nicely like the tasty get along gang.

Our sides consisted of Caiger’s sweet potato fries with onion salt and Parmesan as well as  seasonal greens, lemon oil and crispy garlic. The house red was smooth and fruity and flowing. By this point we were really starting to get in to the Cuckoo spirit, singing along with Aretha Franklin and the other lively happy guests filling every seat available. 

North Four, North London magazine, sundaes, Cuckoo, kitchen residency, Caiger and Co

Our mains were so good we couldn’t bear to swap this time: an extra healthy portion of fish pie with parmesan crumbs graced the table first, piping hot and bursting with creamy sauce and king prawns. I plumped for the beetroot pancakes, equally full to the brim with chestnuts, spinach and goats cheese. 

From the Caiger & Co. filth sundae bar we created our own dessert of almond and stem ginger ice cream, date and treacle cake with chocolate sauce. Enough said probably? That’s what my belly said anyway, rotund and replete with my own greediness. #worthit 

What we wished we’d also tried: the #cookforsyria dish of duck, blackberry and sautéed potatoes. Slavour. 

What we would have again: If not all of the above, then we’d have to choose the Moroccan chickpea tortilla. Perhaps ordering it thrice for starter, main and dessert.

What we love most about The Cuckoo: Their generous flavours, generous portions and generous charity support. Love love love.

Afterwards we danced slowly up the road to enjoy a night of shape pulling at The Garage, buoyed by culinary satisfaction, sugar and red wine.

North Four, North London magazine, The Cuckoo, Caiger and co, kitchen residency

Aptly named gastro hub, Cuckoo is often playing host to the creme de la creme of food residencies. Next time they’ll be invaded by Mirey’s Restaurant, a myriad of French plates by Gerald Mirey and Ko Ito. Classically trained French chef, Gerald has been cooking delicious French food influenced by the British traditions and ingredients for two decades. Having moved to the UK almost a decade ago, Ko has developed a penchant for French and British cuisine. Ko was able to harness his new found interest by setting up and running several supper clubs which has allowed him to explore and share the experience. Namely with Gerald.

The combination of the two makes the partnership a very promising culinary experience. The food is simple and authentic, prepared with the duo’s due love and attention. Mirey’s serves French food at its best, using the local ingredients, with the influences from around the world.

During January and February 2017, they will be serving delicious Bistro French food 4 days per week (Thursday-Sunday) with additional brunch on Saturday, and Sunday roast on Sundays.

The Cuckoo 115 Hemingford Road, Islington, N1 1BZ

Kitchen photos by Mike Barry.

Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loath it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Eat & Drink Events

The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop

God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.

Mento, floristry cafe in finsbury park, North London
Eat & Drink

Mento: Flowers and Coffee

Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.

Eat & Drink

Pilgrim: A Unique Spanish Pop-up Dining Experience

Pilgrim, the newest kid to Hackney's pop-up scene, is a unique dining experience inspired by the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage. This six course tasting menu includes regional dishes with a contemporary twist not yet seen before in London.