Once upon a time (yesterday), after a very confusing phone call (‘Where are you?’ ‘I’m outside the station, where are you?’ ‘But I’m outside the station’… and repeat) us Hungry Swans met outside Kensal Rise station* ready for what we’d both been looking forward to all week; the first night of ‘When Mac Met Cheese’s pop-up at The Shop NW10.
*FYI – there are 2 exits at Kensal Rise. Devious little so-and-so’s.
As you walk down Chamberlayne Rd keep your eyes peeled, because if you blink at the wrong time you’ll probably miss The Shop and walk straight past it. It’s quite plain on the outside with the tiniest of signs in the window but inside is so, freaking cool. Like, I’m not quite sure I’m cool enough for this place. However (as you’re about to find out) they serve the most incredible mac ‘n’ cheese so my embarrassingly un-cool self will not be kept away from this, hells no.
The Shop is actually a cocktail bar, so of course we started with cocktails. When in Rome and all that. I went for The Brett, which tasted like delicious, alcoholic black cherry jam – WIN. I could have happily schlurped them down all night. Jennie went for something fizzy; the Shop Credit. This was fruity & delicious. The cocktails are served in jam jars and are quite large so you don’t do that thing where you take too big a gulp and all of a sudden two thirds of your cocktail is gone…
^ my Brett
^ Jennie sipping away happily
Whilst slurping our cocktails, we pondered the menu. This didn’t take long as it literally has 7 items (we ordered 5 of them). I absolutely love places like this. Minimal fuss, short & sweet. We ordered Macancinis to start; these are deep fried mac ‘n’ cheese balls. Yes, you read that correctly – Deep. Fried. Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Balls. Or, as we like to call them, Heaven Balls. They come in 2 flavours: Jalapeno & Cheddar (not too spicy, just a gentle heat in the back of your mouth) and Truffle & Wild Mushroom (dream combination). Both are heavenly to the point that last night I dreamed the most wonderful dreams filled with Ferrero Rocher like pyramids of Macancinis. We could have both happily snacked on these all night BUT that would have left no room for the main event.
Oh my Goodness look. Just look at that! Isn’t it wonderful!
There are three kinds of mac ‘n’ cheese on offer, Mum’s Classic, Carlos the Cactus and the Green Afro. They’re served in take out containers (probs to save on the washing up – good plan). We shared Mum’s Classic w/ bacon and Carlos the Cactus. Carlos came with tomatoes, rocket & jalapenos which was delicious and not sickly at all with that gentle heat from the jalapenos. You could eat a truckful of this. Very convenient. I would say though that if you’re having the jalapeno macancini and then this you might find that they’re a bit too reminiscent of each other – mix it up a bit (or share, like we did). Mum’s (the firm favourite) was good ol’ simple mac ‘n’ cheese, just the way it should be. The sauce was gooey, the bacon was salty and the topping was crispy. This is how mac ‘n’ cheese is supposed to be.
After thoroughly cleaning up all the gooey, cheesy rich sauce along with a bottle of pinot we thought it was time for a break. If (when) you get a chance to check this place out then please tear yourself away from your dinner and have a look at the art work that’s also on sale. They have a few really quirky pieces and a particularly awesome Barbie v My Little Pony piece that I’ve got my eye on… I didn’t get a chance to get photos of the art so these are taken from their Twitter account.
After a couple more glasses of wine & putting the world to rights, we moved on to dessert. The only dessert you’ll ever need. Deep Fried Oreos. So wrong, but oh so right. What is it about deep frying something that makes magically taste 100 times better!? After making some biscuit-smiley faces we finally sat back in our chairs and fought the urge to undo our top buttons.
Didn’t our mother ever tell us not to play with our food?
When Mac Met Cheese is sticking around for 3 months, so plenty of time to take a visit, we will most definitely be going back. I suspect that this place is going to get very packed very quickly so I’d really advise you book. The food is glorious, the staff are ever so nice (I didn’t catch the name of our waiter but he was super helpful and an absolute sweetie – high five if you’re reading this)!
Their website is here
Follow them on twitter @MacMetCheese & @THESHOPNW10
Follow us on twitter 😉 @HungrySwans
If you are unfortunate enough not to be able to make it, you could always try our 5000 Calorie Mac ‘n’ Cheese. Not quite as good as this stuff but it’s the next best thing.