The Knackered Chef visits the First Aid Box

It has been a rather busy few weeks I must say, how’s your diet going? what about the health kick you started in January? Christmas is a distant memory and for some our promise of better health or perhaps less drinking or smoking, it is firmly parked and the old habits have returned, if you’re one of these people reconsider the reason why you made that promise and give it one more try.

I’ve been suffering from an old war wound I may have shared this with you recently, I’ve been back and forth to St Thomas’s I’ve been in agony for almost a year a bone keeps popping out in my neck which impacts everything from my shoulder down to my lower back. After a number of months seeing an osteopath I saw my GP and like all us men there I was writing my last will and testament suffering in silence but allowing those close to me to know that “I’m fine don’t worry about me....help help medic”. It came as such a surprise to me when the doctor said there was nothing wrong with me although they did recommend that I use an NHS physio and stop paying the osteopath, who by the way had a lovely Porsche which was always parked outside his surgery on each of the eleven visits I made, I digress.  This I found quite strange because when I googled it I found out I had “booroo booroo fever” a strange parasite that is ingested from swimming in Lake Malawi, which was quite bizarre because I’ve never been to Africa neither have I swam in Lake Malawi but extensive research did say I had.

Among many of the projects I have undertaken for 2016 I’ve started cooking professionally again, perhaps the only thing I love second to my family, my beloved pies are back on the menu and I’ll be popping up around the mighty Herno from next month.

I was walking back from Jones the Butcher on Dulwich road when I passed the First Aid Box, remembering that I’m suffering from a strange tropical disease which my wife has now renamed “Hypochondria”, she must have googled it. Now that’s love for you, I remember visiting them when they first opened so I dropped in to see what the doctor could order for me.

I’ve got to say I’m fairly impressed. It’s nestled in between  some of the more established outlets on Dulwich Rd. number 119 and boy is it my type of place, when you look in one of those glossy magazines and have a blue sky moment romanticising of how you could be that person, well the this is it. I’m not saying saturate Herne Hill with food venues but if some shop keepers throughout the country took a look at what they have done here and consider a similar way of thinking the high street would boom, and it goes to prove more than anything that location sometimes is not the strategy it’s the venue and how it works. The owner and all round nice chap Chris and I sit down and chat, you get the feel straight away that this is his calling in life.

It’s easy to see what’s going on at The First Aid Box, the Menu is small, fresh and not over complicated and all the ingredients are sourced locally, all the meat used in the Kitchen comes from Herne Hills very own Jones the Butcher and I know first-hand the quality of the meat is exemplary. I really like the fact that the menu is constantly evolving and they support local business as and where they can. Chris tells me how he feels passionate the way The First Aid Box works and much like some of the up and coming businesses in Herne Hill they focus on quality not quantity. The Canopy provides quality bottled beers and there a healthy cocktail menu and a not so healthy cocktail menu if there is such a thing.

The head chef is Australian so there is an Antipodean influence with an infusion of Asia thrown in for good measure but the focus of the food is very much English and contemporary, Cakes and sweets are provided by non-other than “Sweet Carolina”, highly recommended, one of Herne Hills very own organic food producers you can find some lovely freshly made treats, Chris tell me they are working on some very special and bespoke food and you should be able to see them very soon. They have had to travel to find the best fish but a compromise worth its weight in gold, freshly caught and delivered daily from  Flying Fish of Devon who supply some of London premiere restaurant’s, with an ever changing selection or well sourced cheese and Coffee supplied by alchemy of Wimbledon, Chris and the team really try to keep everything as south London as possible

I’m blown away and quite frankly impressed by the extensive selection of Gin, Vodka and Whisky they have on selection 34 different Gins, they very carefully select their spirits from all over the world I’m not talking about popping down the local supplier we’re talking research and sourcing carefully.

Chris and the team are the same The operate The Shrub and Shutter in Brixton, a similar aesthetic and feel. The clientele are select and discerning but by no means the hipsters of Shoreditch, thirty plus and looking for somewhere different to enjoy an evening out without the hassle of loud and raucous music.

They plan to expand into some of the unused space  to add a couple of extra tables but not a mass expansion, I like it and it’s my type of place I usually when writing this and more often than not make positive comments but The first Aid box for me deserve a whoop whoop, they’ve hit the nail on the head and I wish Chris and his fantastic team all the very best for the future and hope like every good business deserve they grow and flourish. 

I'm not going to give you a recipe this week just get down to The First Aid Box the food is out of this world.

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