I first heard of Poutine on Sunday Brunch a couple of years ago. My initial thought was 'chips, cheese and gravy. What is so great about that? I can get that from the chippy at 3am after a night out.'
But Poutine is more than that. It's a warming Canadian dish, originally from Quebec, and is made with cheese curds rather than just grated cheddar. It's been trendified in recent years and has made its way to the UK in the form of street food. When Caribou Poutine started trading in Birmingham I headed to Digbeth Dining Club to try the traditional Poutine.
Well, the chips are chunky with the skin on, the gravy is proper meaty gravy (though they do have a veggie option) and the cheese curd is a revelation- gooey and more tangy than cheese.
Throughout January and February, The Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath hosted a series of street food traders in their back room, including Pietanic, Baked in Brick and Caribou Poutine! I went along to the Caribou Poutine event, having paid £10 for the ticket. This got me two courses.
I've never been to The Hare and Hounds before and I very much liked it. We sat in the main bar area with a cider and enjoyed the busy atmosphere. As well as our event there was something else going on upstairs. Great to see the lovely building being used in so many ways.
The back room was very cool, with exposed brick (of course) lots of interesting lights and paintings on the walls. We got a couple of drinks and sat down to consider the menu.
So, Mrs Piggy is the original Poutine (chips, gravy, cheese curds) topped with pulled pork, streaky bacon and sausage. I tried a bit and there was a bit too much meat going on for me but if you're a lover of the pig products you will love it. Edd had a marvellous time.
Please do not think that I don't like pork though- I just don't necessarily need three types at the same time! Caribou Poutine do of course have other options. My Soured Trotter was topped with sour cream, streaky bacon and chives. This was just right for me. Just the right amount of salty, chewy bacon and plenty of sour cream and chives to freshen things up. The toppings mixed perfectly with the curds and despite the gravy, nothing got too soggy.
I think sour cream and bacon might be the ultimate Poutine topper. I want to eat it again right now.
Saying that, there's also a super cheesy option and another with bacon and creamy cabbage. Luckily they are at the Night and Day Markets at The Bond today so I'll definitely be tucking in.
After that cheesy, carby box of joy, would there be room for pudding. Erm, always.
The pudding was a Canadian butter tart, with maple ice cream and maple syrup. It reminded me of a sweeter mince pie. Wikipedia tells me it shouldn't contain raisins but I'm pretty certain this one did and it was no worse for it. The ice cream was beautiful. This dessert rounded off the evening perfectly.
If you like the look of Caribou Poutine, you need to be quick as they're at the Night and Day Markets this weekend but then they will be gone until June. Keep an eye on their twitter for more.
The Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath
Photos by Edd.
We paid for everything ourselves.