Forest Gate foodie opens quality pop-up bistro

PUBLISHED: 11:00 10 August 2016

Ex-Masterchef finalist Michael Sanders with a dish he prepared

Ex-Masterchef finalist Michael Sanders with a dish he prepared


A star chef has opened a pop-up restaurant designed to serve quality food in a relaxed setting.

Michael Sanders, a finalist in 2014’s Masterchef, will be cooking gourmet grub throughout August on the first floor of Forest Gate’s Coffee 7 in Sebert Road.

Whether the eatery becomes a permanent fixture depends on its popularity – but if the opening last week is anything to go by, it could have a long future.

“It was a fantastic first night,” said Michael, who is 33 today (Weds).

“You never know what to expect, and the fear is you’ll have an empty restaurant – but I’m happy to say it was full.”

Michael’s ambition is to create an informal and inexpensive dining experience with fresh ingredients in every meal.

“It’s as cheap as we can possibly make it – £20 for two courses, £25 for three – and we’re using seasonal ingredients,” he said.

“What’s on the menu will depend on what’s looking good in the market that week.”

The first menu had one fish dish, one meat and one vegetarian, with hake, roasted cauliflower and pork belly to choose from.

“I’m trying to cook English dishes as much as I can,” he said. “But the difference between English and French cuisines can be a bit blurry.”

Having moved to Forest Gate more than four years ago, the Cannock-born chef is confident the area is “coming up”.

“A lot of people are moving here,” he said.

“I just hope I can offer something a bit different to them.

“If there’s a chance, we’ll extend the time we’re open – but it all comes down to if people use it or not.”

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