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A summer specialty

The colourful Indian gola machine at Dishoom. photo: Anuradha Mojumdar

 Anuradha Mojumdar recently went to Dishoom’s Southbank pop up and as a Mumbai native explains one of the pop-up’s unique summer coolers.  (first guest post!)

The Bombay Gola

A summer treat which is a favourite at the beaches of Mumbai, Gola is an instant cooler made out of shaved ice with sweet flavoured syrups poured over it. A large solid block of ice is crushed using a manual Indian Gola machine.The ice is pressed into a glass before the syrup is added, then a wooden ice lolly stick is placed in the centre for you to pick it up and slurp away.

A Kalakhatta Gola in the proccess. photo: Anuradha Mojumdar

There are Golas available for Londoners to sample at the Dishoom Chowpatty Beach Bar on the South Bank. The flavours to choose from are orange and ginger, strawberries and cream , bubble gum and the classic Kalakhatta, a tangy Indian flavour.

Barman Dwane McCormack, who has been making Golas for about a month said: “ Making Golas has given me a newfound appreciation for Indian culture.”


Crustaceans on the cheap

The Shoreditch Splitter, 50/50 crab and lobster, which I've gotten a little preview of and let's just say I was tempted to grab seconds. The Oyster chips on the side are also quite the treat. Photo: Caroline Molloy

For those of you who love affordable seafood beyond fish and chips, a lobster roll bar is popping up in Shoreditch on the 23 of June for only four days.

Named after the B52’s song, Rock Lobsta will be serving up a menu inspired by the north-eastern coast of the US but completely sourced and produced in the UK – without the stuffy atmosphere or the costly price tag.

The three foodies behind the venture have carefully chosen the main ingredients exclusively from the UK. From the 500 or so mid-sized lobsters to the rapeseed oil that’s going into the mayonnaise, it’s all “so truly British,” said Adam Van den Bussche, one of the organisers.

With their combined knowledge of restaurants, catering and food, Van den Bussche, Dan Wolanski and Carl Clarke, have made it their mission to spread their love for lobster, crab and crayfish in a relaxed and fun environment.

“Everyone loves lobster but they don’t always eat it. It’s either too expensive or not in the best shape when they get it,” said Van den Bussche, who used to manage Harrod’s Food Halls and Restaurants.

It’s just the beginning

Rock Lobsta is a trial run for Disco Bistro, a series of temporary restaurants that integrate art, music and food around London.

“We needed to have property signed to us, but we couldn’t say that we had done it before.”

At the beginning the Rock Lobsta team thought they’d be inviting 50 to 60 people into the venue, Luna and Curious, for a few lobster rolls but it has pooled a lot of interest through the foodie community.

“The interest it has generated is a bit overwhelming but we’re considering more Rock Lobsta events this year,” added Van den Bussche.

The Rock Lobsta Bar promises to be a celebration of the British seaside and hopefully there’s enough fresh and juicy lobster to go around until Sunday evening.

The Rock Lobsta Menu (prices yet to be set)

The Hackney Lobsta Roll
The Shoreditch Splitter- 50/50 crab and lobster in a roll
Brown Crab Roll
The Curious Crayfish Roll
½ dozen English Fresh Water Crayfish, served in a paper cone

Toppings: 1000 Lobsta Island Dressing, Crab Mayo, Saffron & Garlic Mayo or Simple Lobsta Mayo, Sweet and Sour Sea Buckthorn.

Sides: June pickles, Oyster flavoured potato chips

At Luna & Curious, 24-26 Calvert Street, London E2 7JP
Opening times: Thursday 23 June from 6pm, Friday 24 to Sunday 26 from noon to 9pm (or until they run out completely).

Fashion, secrets and sales

For all the fashion-forward bored with the usual shop spots:

Yesterday, Topshop opened their own “secret” pop-up on the lower ground floor of their London flagship shop.

And on Saturday,May 28, a group of professional fashionistas and My Fashion Secret blog are putting together a pop-up shop in southwest London.  Visit for some great deals on everything from designer vintage to modern jewelery!

So, how did it go?

Here’s the first  pop-up questionnaire, as completed by Dan Gregory of the Popse! think- tank team:

1. What was your pop-up?

It was a pop-up think tank! Mainly looking at issues around social enterprise and policy connected to the ‘Big Society’. We did all the kind of things a ‘real’ think tank would do but for a limited period only.

2. How long was it, when was it?

It was for 5 days from the 9-13 May. Although we are still tidying up a few loose ends and putting together a formal report to publish.

3. Why did you decide to make a pop-up?

We thought a temporary set-up could have greater freedom to be fun and provocative than a more established institution. We applied the idea to ourselves that pop-ups put redundant (or vacant or idle!) assets back into useful work – as the core team are all either newly redundant, left their jobs recently, are freelance or out of work.

Popse! was located in Exmouth Market at the site of an old pizza place. Photo credit: Popse!

4. How did you find a place?

With the fantastic support of the wonderful Eddie, Jessica and Emily at Meanwhile Space CIC.

5. What way did you market 
your pop-up? Was it effective?

Why does everyone keep asking that about effectiveness and impact? 😉 We know it was fun and we learned a lot. We know the people who came to be a part of it took a lot from it. We know we managed to reach a huge audience through the web and twitter – across the globe from Finland to Australia. One of our pieces of work is being translated into French and we have been interviewed for a US web-based publication.

Photo credit: Popse!

6. How did you like 
managing your pop-up? 

I think we loved it. I certainly learned a lot. It was quite challenging and tiring juggling different types of work. From working on theoretical policy stuff, then talking to people who walked in off the street, enjoying post-work drinks and also worrying about whether we had enough twiglets for all the people who dropped by (other savoury twig-shaped snacks are available. Apparently.)

7. Anything you wish you had done differently?

Not really. We had a fantastic team of people and it just kind of all came together. Amazingly nothing went wrong and we managed without any formal structures, hierarchy or systems and all the things you should probably have in a ‘proper’ workplace. 8. What advice do you have for people looking to set up pop-ups in the future? If you are thinking about it, go for it! Speak to others who have done it and people like Meanwhile Space who understand the issues and can help. Think of an answer to all those people who keep asking you if it will be sustainable and how will you measure the impact. And enjoy it!

One Day Fashion & Party Pop-up!

A sandy pop-up on Southbank

Southbank has been turning into the southeast these last few weeks and on Friday Dishoom will be adding their own touch with the opening of a summery, colorful and fresh pop-up bar.  

With Big Ben and the London Eye in sight Londoners have a chance to stroll through sand, relax in deckchairs and appreciate Dishoom’s homage to Bombay’s iconic Chowpatty Beach. During the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Britian’s 60th anniversary celebrations the critically acclaimed Bombay café, located in Covent Garden, will be adding some ethnic flavour to the area.

With 48 tonnes of sand, created by Grassroot Garden, the Southbank Centre has set up the beach that sits below the ‘up-cycled’ bar.

Join them until September to indulge in classic, street food and shaved-iced drinks made from authentic Gola flavours. So if you want to get away from the city grind, treat yourself to Dishoom’s signature dishes and a great atmosphere for a Bombay-on-Thames experience.

Short term, big impact

About a month ago, over drinks and casual conversation, the idea to form a pop-up social enterprise think-tank was born. Using their talents and experience these young professionals turned the illusion of a pop-up into a true commitment.
POPse! will launch on Monday at the site of an old Pizza take-away in Exmouth Market, to run new energy through old ideas and debates. The 5-day think-tank will analyse social enterprise policy and practice and the week’s findings will be published at the end of the pop-up.

All the POPse! collaborators have experience from inside government, think-tanks, social enterprise, charity, publishing and the City, and they will be drawing together some of the UK’s leading social enterprise thinkers and practitioners for the think-tank.

They are literally the embodyment of what a pop-up symbolises, taking their own assets and putting them into economic use, says Dan Gregory, one of the POPse! organizers.

Three of the main organizers, Dan included, had recently left their jobs for other opportunities but wanted to make use of the skills and connections they formed for this project.

He explains that their goal is to have a regenerative affect on wider community. POPse! will be a space where people can say what they think but have a chance to be a bit cheeky in the way they say it since there are no professional or institutional restraignts.

“We want to bring out things people are already saying when they’re at drinks with friends and in casual conversation,” says Gregory. “I hope this can show you can be funny, mischievous, insightful and  funny without a huge amount of time and money to invigorate the debate a little bit.”

“There’s some fantastic people in our sector with a lot to say and they don’t always have the appropriate channel to say it.”

While POPse! will take place in London, they will be making it possible for others to interact through the web.

Nick Temple, another of the minds behind POPse! says, “It’s generating a surprising amount of interest, people quite like the idea. I think gradually as the day approaches we feel like we have to produce something of value.  It just seemed like quite a fun idea as we sat in coffee shops and planned.”

Follow them at @popupthinktank and get more information from the POPse! website

And in case you didn’t know:

Social enterprises: are businesses driven primarily by a social or environmental purpose, whose profits are principally reinvested back into services or the community.
Think-tanks: are organisations, often not-for-profit, that undertake research and analysis to incubate, test and propose new ideas which provoke debate and influence public policy.


What’s poppin’ now?

Until July 9 We Make London: Summer Pop-up The Oak Studio, 8 Perrins Court, Hampstead, London, NW3 1QS

Until July 30 Piccadilly Community Centre Hauser & Wirth Gallery, 196A Piccadilly London W1J 9DY

Until August 3 Ellesse Pop-up shop & Coffee House 77 Redchurch Street, London E2 7DJ

Until August 14 Pop-up Urban Physic Garden 100 Union Street, London, SE1 0NL

Until September The Dishoom Beach Bar Pop-up on London Southbank, in front of the Southbank Centre

Until September The Terrace Garden Pop-up Bar at The Langham The Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent Street, London, GB W1B 1JA

Until September 30 Frank’s Cafe and Campari Bar 10th Floor, Peckham Multi-story carpark 95A Rye Lane, London SE15 4ST

Until November The Summerhouse Restaurant 60 Blomfield Road, W9 2PA