This April, Mathew Carver, founder of Pick & Cheese and The Cheese Bar, will rock the boat with his new restaurant: The Cheese Barge, a double-decker vessel on a permanent mooring on the Grand Union Canal at Paddington Central, London W2.
The Cheese Barge's menu will focus on serving seasonal dishes centred around the best of British cheese.
Drawing on Carver’s passion for excellent craftsmanship and his continuing support for British trades, The Cheese Barge is currently being built in Somerset by master boatbuilders.
Designed by Adam Richards Architects, the vessel’s design takes cues from the Electa bookstore in Venice – itself inspired by ship design – with a beautiful copper ‘veil’ acting as an awning for the 40 cover lower deck dining room. An open-air upper deck provides the perfect spot for a glass of wine, cheese and charcuterie.
Carver has appointed head chef Reagan Ellenbroek, who has been working with exec chef Ross Keeling to create a refined menu of honest British dishes using small producer cheese including: Windrush Goats’ Curd with lamb scrumpets and pickled walnuts; Cropwell Bishop Stilton ‘Devils on Horseback’ - medjool dates stuffed with Stilton and wrapped in bacon; and Maida Vale, a washed rind cheese from Village Maid, served on treacle soda bread with smoked mackerel and green sauce.
For guests looking to feast, sharing plates will include Aligot, made with Mrs. Kirkham’s Lancashire, and a half-kilo Baron Bigod, made bespoke by Fen Farm Dairy for the Barge, and served baked to order.
The team have also devised the perfect sharing snack, in the form of fried Quicke’s Cheddar curds, curried and tossed in chilli honey. Those with a sweet tooth can get their fix with Yorkshire Curd Tart and a Malted Milk Chocolate Cremeux.
In collaboration with Crown & Queue, The Cheese Barge will be combining their love of cheese and charcuterie to create a cured sausage laced with Young Buck. Pressed as a traditional cheese would be, the sausage will be the perfect balance of umami-rich blue cheese and sweet heritage pork.
Head cheesemonger, Sam Wilkin, will be curating a weekly list of seasonal British cheeses served with individual pairings including Spenwood with quince and almond fruit cheese; Winslade with chilli dukkah and St Andrews Cheddar with green kimchi.
Carver said, “Hailing from Jersey, I spent my childhood years messing around in boats. So, when the opportunity of opening The Cheese Barge came along, we couldn’t say no! The fact that it was British-made by real craftsmen appealed to our continued efforts to support British industry. Win, win!
'We’ve always set out to create fun restaurant experiences, and what could be more fun than eating the best of British cheese on the Grand Union Canal. ”