*As I have no Gouda cheese puns, I will refrain from inserting any into this post*
The Cheese Bar is the new, bricks-and-mortar home of Mathew Carver’s Cheese Truck. Having spent a successful four years touring the globe in his converted ice-cream van, Carver is ready to settle down and serve his cheesy creations from a permanent base. What better place to do so than in Camden’s alternative-biased market?
I arrived at The Cheese Bar in the final glimmers of spring sunlight on a warm Tuesday eve, as a guest of the illustrious Samphire and Salsify. We conducted our introductions in the fading, pink light and swiftly scuttled inside, the dull ache of hunger lingering in my gut.
As we perched atop our sleek stools, I was shocked at the light, oyster-bar esque design that surrounded me. The U-shaped marble counter top and vast cheese fridge which occupied the majority of the back wall, did not reflect the image we typically align with grilled cheese sandwiches – that’s not to say I didn’t like it.
Having absorbed the atmosphere, we were approached by an enthusiastic hostess-come-barmaid-come-waiter, who carefully talked us through the menu. After a lengthy Q&A we settled on the mozzarella sticks, burrata and Marmite Malakoff with Romesco. The mozzeralla sticks were appropriately stringy and the tomato salsa that accompanied them possessed plenty of flavour. The burrata was as burrata should be, soft, chewy and creamy – the combination of textures and flavours were slightly orgasmic.
Between us, we greedily inhaled the first round of sharing plates and required more. Next arrived Young Buck Raclette with Salt Beef and Burnt Leeks, Short Rib Poutine with Bacon Gravy and a Queso Chihuahua, Chorizo and Jalapeno. The raclette transported me to a Swiss alp and the Poutine made me weak at the knees. If you go, you must try the Queso Chihuahua toastie, which is a Mexican inspired, slightly spicy wedge of goodness.
For those – like myself – who do not fear cheese induced nightmares, there is also a cheese inspired dessert menu. We opted for the Beenleigh Blue ice cream, Poached Pear and Honeycomb. I had only tried cheese ice-cream once before and the experience at The Cheese Bar only confirmed my adoration for it. Not too sweet and slightly sharp on the tongue, it was a befitting end to a coronary inducing meal.
Sceptical at first, I really admired not only the wide selection of predominantly locally sourced cheeses, but the subsequent creativity of the dishes they went into. It may have been the three pints of craft ale and splendid company – but I left The Cheese Bar having had a brie-lliant time.