Every time I go to Krakatoa I seem to have something to announce. Last time I went I announced my wedding (since completed) and this time I ended up announcing our unexpected shortlisting for the O2 Media Awards – looking back that seems like a pretty good hit rate for good news. Another reason I should go there more regularly! The point of this visit wasn’t to show off though, it was to launch an informal social club for York on a Fork at which like-minded foodies could check out a new place to eat and make new friends.
The idea for a social event was borne of a conversation with the lovely Caroline Biggs of Cambridge Food Festival fame who, new to York, thought it’d be a good idea to get a social movement going centred around a shared passion for good food. Krakatoa were happy to host and put together an interesting menu so all that remained was to find some people to come and appreciate it.
Having amassed a decent sized attendance for the evening it was a little surprising to see everyone arrive quite so promptly, judging people by my own standards I guess. Seated and ready to go after the one straggler arrived, whose tardiness was probably appreciated as a chance to get another drink in, I swallowed my nerves and accepted I’d have to at least briefly introduce the evening before handing over to the eminently more qualified Tim Potter, proprietor of the establishment.
Tim did a tremendous job of explaining the restaurant’s history and ethos before describing the menu they’d put together for the event, just enough detail to whet the appetite and appreciate the commitment of the owners without challenging the diners’ desire to push proceedings onward.
Food time then. When I’d spoken to Tim and Deeche about the evening, I’d asked if it was possible to have something not on the day to day menu. It seemed a shame to miss the chance for feedback to the owners from engaged food lovers, not to mention the chance to give those engaged food lovers something they wouldn’t normally have. Starters and mains were served together on a platter, Otak-Otak Ikan to start translated to a beautifully judged spiced fishcake, deep fried and served with a tamarind dipping sauce, it gave a hearty kick without overfacing the flavours – heat drowning out flavour is always a huge disappointment. The main of Soto Betawi (rich beef and vegetable stew) was an equally universal hit. Tender meat, abundantly rich flavour (fragrant and not too spicy) and perfectly judged rice… this needs to be a permanent feature on the Krakatoa menu in the very near future.
Dessert could really only be judged a qualified success. A coconut syrup milkshake with tapioca swirls was divisive, some attendees minesweeping leftovers, but others providing those leftovers. The bogey green swirls might be a bit challenging for the everyday menu.
As the diners melted into the night, sated and happy, we reflected on the evening’s success and the standard of the food. Authentic and unfussy but packed with flavour, Krakatoa hit the spot.Tim and Deeche hit the mark impressively well as we went through our courses. At the end of a lovely evening we’d all made new friends, enjoyed good food and started to formulate plans for the next one… watch this space.