It's posh fish and chips and it's the next big thing. Apparently.
This jumble of chips, gravy and cheese curd might look like a bit of a dog's dinner, but at least it has nothing to hide: the word poutine means ‘hot mess’.
Those in the know say it tastes way better than it looks, and it's been a popular post-pub snack and hangover cure in Canada since the 1950s. Now, after a stop-off in New York (where it's been receiving some fancy adornments, think hoisin gravy or a sprinkling of rosemary), it has hopped over the pond to London and set its sights on dethroning the kebab.
Hawksmoor steakhouse in Spitalfields has had a pig’s head poutine on the bar menu for a while now, while Gordon Ramsay has served up a posh one at his Chelsea restaurant Foxtrot Oscar.
It’s also taking off in east London, with a poutine pop-up called Stacks currently in residence at Dalston bar Birthdays, and The Poutinerie selling the starchy stuff (two types: original and ‘coq au vin’) from their stall on Brick Lane.
Paul Dunits, who runs the Poutinerie, told the Guardian that once you taste it, “it makes sense.”
He said: “It’s the saltiness of the cheese curd and the starchy stuff that fills the void. I tell people when they have it for the first time to have it in its original form, then if they like it, to try the other.”
He makes a good point. As with all good traditions, the original recipe is a tried and tested winner so don’t be anything but a poutine purist for a first try. That's just chips, cheese curds and a sort of gravy – there's a recipe here.
Have you tried it yet? Show us your pix or share your recipes.