Just off Convent Garden London tube station, hidden away at the back of Seven Dials Market is Pick and Cheese – one of the smartest and innovative cheese restaurants in the country. It combines the already proven love of their famous Camden Town cheese bar with people’s affinity for grabbing food from a conveyer belt as it goes past eyes that are probably too big for your belly.
The Cheese Bar are known nation-wide for their sexier-than-none cheese pull Instagram porn videos, mouth-watering festival food in their iconic bright yellow Cheese Truck and now, their latest endeavour into their lactose empire. So how does this one stack up? Just like their other projects, Pick and Cheese is a flawed but exciting experience for anyone that can tolerate a cheese induced stomach-ache.
After traversing your way through the market, you’ll be shown to either a high stool overlooking the cheese artists, hard at work strategically positioning bits of really mouldy milk onto plates or into a booth at the back of the bar, next to a fridge with all the delectable indie craft beers and port sections you can wave a piece of brie at; this really is the finest seat in the house.
Up for grabs, if you’re quick enough, are 14 different types of locally sourced English cheeses. You have to be fast though, these crafty little buggers speed around the sushi restaurant style belt just as fast as their picked up by Cockneys with a hankering for all things blue and milky.
Despite the looming threat of Coronavirus being ever-present, the atmosphere in Pick and Cheese was as friendly and cheesy as the dishes themselves. Staff were chirpy and more than happy to give recommendations, help with cheese pairings or even have a chat about their favourite bands from the ’80s; it was impossible to not feel at home in this carefree restaurant.
The major problem I had with this cheesy haven is in fact that, the cheese. Even though they boast a selection of 14 types of cheese, I had a hard time distinguishing them from one another. For the most part, there are really four variations of cheese, Cheddar, Blue, Red Leicester and a solitary Brie. Your job as the customer is to try and tell the difference between the different genres, squidgy blue cheese number four is without a doubt going to be a highlight with fans.
Due to Coronavirus, understandably, no physical menus were given to diners. In its place, a dreaded QR code is positioned on a block at the end of the table, great if you have a smartphone, not so great if you’re still part of the Nokia 3310 crew. This, paired with the lack of any labels on the every-colour-of-the-rainbow plates makes it very difficult to know exactly what you’re eating at anyone one time.
However, the side pairing’s Pick and Cheese provide you with each dish goes most of the way to make up for this. Cheese pairing classic’s such jam and piccalilli are soon forced out of your head when you first try one of the more experimental pairings. Whoever thought that a chocolate brownie or a piece of fudge would pair so well with a hard cheese? The cheese bar apparently.
Even with its flaws and often similar tasting selection of cheese, Pick and Cheese is a hidden gem in the centre of London. As a bonus their bottomless cheese deal is running until the end of the year, so you should undoubtedly get down to Pick and Cheese when the second lockdown is over. It’s a whole lot of fun and whole lot more cheese.