You’ve probably heard of KERB. For the last decade, the business has celebrated a community of talented street food traders ‘from the kerb up’ in food halls, markets and restaurants. They serve as caterers at events, cultivate new talent at their ‘Inkerbator’, and curate menus in venues like the National Theatre. In 2019, the KERB team opened the Seven Dials Market, and now the team have launched KERB Counter. This bar and kitchen space in the centre of Shoreditch swung open their doors just last month, ready to welcome a host of exclusive collaborations, pop ups and food residencies.
KERB’s vision is clear with each of its projects: they put emphasis on supporting and empowering emerging talent, and KERB Counter is no different. The two-floor restaurant space will host new ideas and never-seen-before collaborations from a range of budding food businesses and entrepreneurs. The space will serve as a test site for a roster of talent, before they move onto other KERB venues. KERB Counter is split into two distinct areas: a sit-down dining area downstairs, where the chefs-in-residences will serve up their alluring dishes, and an upstairs area for walk-ins, drinks and snacks.
The first residency at KERB Counter is From The Ashes, who have taken to the helm with a mouthwatering, Mexican-inspired, BBQ menu. Salivating already? You should be. From The Ashes was bourn as a result of the pandemic; the chefs behind the brilliant BBQ dishes both found themselves unemployed, and decided to launch a project that was sustainable through the uncertain times.
Originally launched as a delivery and takeaway BBQ option, our sit-down meal was anything but fast food: the name of the game was slow cooked, melt-in-your-mouth meats. The menu is small, but perfectly formed, and it is very clear that a lot of thought has gone into the flavours – particularly where the tacos are concerned. We loved the pork (cochinita pibil) and lamb in equal measure, despite them being very different; the pork taco had rich tones, while the lamb one was more refreshing, with a balance of sweet and heat. The short-rib barbacoa sharer – a kind of build your own tacos set up for two people – was well presented, and the meat was insanely soft. The chefs work with some of the finest farmers in the UK to source ethically reared meat, which is clear from the quality.
To accompany our feasting, KERB Counter boast an all-day bar, serving bespoke cocktails, and a rotating range of drinks in partnership with Gipsy Hill Brewing Co, East London Liquor and Redemption Coffee. The apricot and kaffir lime martini was our favourite, yet the smoky margarita was a match made in heaven for our meal. The latter is a mix of Quiquiriqui mezcal, honey and lime, which, with its smoky flavours, perfectly offset the seasoning of the meat. The restaurant encourages sustainability where possible, which is specifically clear in regards to the bar: guests are encouraged to bring reusable cups, avoid using straws, and kegged wine is on offer.
KERB Counter is open for coffee and light bites Monday–Saturday; however, sit-down dining is only available Wednesday–Saturday. The service is warm and welcoming, and the staff are very attentive. From The Ashes will be at KERB Counter until April 2, so be sure to check them out before they move on. Following entrepreneurs will be announced on KERB Counter’s website and their Instagram page.