Go Wild - Erpingham House at Bonnie & Wild Scottish Market
Updated: Jul 24, 2021
The phrase ‘plant-based' has me bristling. Vegetarian or vegan food too often means ultra-processed rather than vegetables and pulses. In addition, I am a meat-eater and appreciate the way hooves dig up the dirt, expose the insects and attract wee mammals and birds. It’s all part of a beautiful ecosystem.
But this is not how our meat is reared. mostly it is factory-farmed or from CAFOs. Such systems are one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions and animal welfare is beyond the pale.
So, we would all do well to eat up our greens and more vegetables generally. Plus, I absolutely love veg especially when someone else cooks them creatively for me and the online menu from Erpingham House looks fab. It is peppered with items like pickled cucumber, charred corn and pineapple salsa, ginger-battered banana blossom, massaged kale, charred shallot petals, parsley oil. Just wow.
I still approach the market in Grumpy Old Woman mode. I have been to Pull and Bear and seen tops that appear to be designed for mice. I would use these as a napkin! In addition, I have spent half my morning on the phone with my internet provider. Eventually, the exchange resembles a hostage negotiation scenario with the rep in a calm voice saying things like “Sharon, stay with me“ as we try to reconnect my wi-fi.
But food can be so healing and I am won over by the Bonnie & Wild and chide myself for preconceptions about food halls and gloomy musings on soulless globalisation.
I get a comfy seat in front of The Gannet and order at the Erpingham House counter. The concept that you can have a party of folk each getting food from different outlets has appeal. I could be enjoying gelato while my companions have fish ‘n’ chips or salt ‘n’ chilli oriental.
When your counter buzzes you collect your food. I have Miso Charred Aubergine with whipped tahini and cashew cream, pickled radish, hoisin-roasted beetroot, pea and ginger puree, pak choi, candied Togarashi cashews, crispy spring onion. It is very tasty and exciting to the palate as you can imagine with all those textures, techniques and flavours. The shredded onions are actually pleasingly chewy, while the nuts are well-roasted and snappy. The miso is sticky, the tahini bountiful.
I am less keen on the side of panko courgette fries as the coating is too chunky and heavy for the delicate batons. However, they would make a filling snack on the hoof and Bonnie & Wild is the opposite of sniffy. No one is going to blink an eye at a walk-in to fuel up on fries. The atmosphere is too chilled and reminds me of the Time Out market in Lisbon - but Scottish.
After my delicious veg feast at EH I snap a picture of The Gannet menu which secures a return visit. No need to go to Glasgow now.
Next, I can’t resist Joeleta’s Gelato.
I don’t want to get anyone into trouble but am amused to catch the two female servers tasting the produce. If their bosses are reading this I can assure you they upsold very elegantly. A portion of rum ‘n’ raisin was light and the fruit had been soaked in alcohol for a couple of weeks. It was squished forcefully on top of Gianduja aka hazelnut and chocolate (think frozen Nutella) gelato in order to get the max amount in a tub.
There are plenty of reasons to return to Bonnie & Wild not least Erpingham House. The restaurant is plastic-free too and you can choose to donate 99p to plant a tree. This is all feel good sauce on your dining experience.
I already know what I want to eat next time, and the time after...