Not content with dishing up strawberries and cream during Wimbledon, one café has gone to great lengths to ruin our favourite summer staple by teaming it with salad cream, of all things. And it’ll cost you £4.20 for the pleasure.
Elys department store in Wimbledon is celebrating the tennis tournament with the mash-up nobody ever asked for, devised by head chef Bernado Garea. A spokesperson confirmed to HuffPost UK that the dish will be available to sample throughout the tournament.
Intrigued – borderline outraged – by the pairing, we headed to Sainsbury’s and bought some salad cream, strawberries and mint to recreate the dish from the safety of the office. Here’s our verdict.
Vicky Frost, Life Executive Editor.
With the right vegetables, good salad cream can be a delight: lovely on an egg salad with crisp, fresh lettuce; delicious spooned over ripe tomatoes in Nigella’s simple salad. But I suspect there are no right fruits for salad cream. Paired with strawberries, the result is particularly disgusting – massively sweet and unnecessarily astringent, it is a distinctly unpleasant mouthful.
I presume the idea was that balsamic vinegar works well with strawbs, so maybe this old-school cocktail of sweet and tangy would be equally delicious with them. Either that, or someone just couldn’t resist a rubbish pun. In either case they should have been stopped – and just a single nibble would have provided all the reasons why. Revolting.
Sophie Gallagher, Life Reporter.
Confession: I have never tried salad cream before. So what better way to dip my toe into the world of weirdly-coloured mayonnaise than this? And the way it’s been served up by my wicked colleague, you could be forgiven for thinking the salad cream is a delicious pool of custard in the bowl.
But my brain has been tricked into a false sense of security. The taste is 100% rank. The tanginess of the cream with the sweetness of the strawberries is gag-inducing. I manage to swallow but not with any pleasure. I go back for a second bite (I’m promised with a sprig of mint it will get better). Reader, it does not. I can’t understand why anyone would pay to eat this dish, you’d need to pay me to bring it anywhere near my mouth again.
Natasha Hinde, Life Reporter.
As I squirt salad cream into a bowl and top it with strawberries, my colleague turns to face me. “Do you want some?” I ask. “I’d rather shit in my hands and clap,” she replies. The salad cream is a gooey, yellow mess with an unappetising jelly-like consistency and no amount of strawberries can hide its foul texture as it lurks at the bottom of the bowl, waiting for my poor unsuspecting tastebuds. The smell is equal parts eggy and vinegary.
When I lift a whole strawberry into my mouth the taste is outrageously tangy. Thankfully, a burst of strawberry juice comes to save the day – but for all of a nano-second. Then the tang comes back with a vengeance and I’m left retching at my desk. I try a second mouthful with a sprig of mint and I’m given temporary respite from the tang before the salad cream closes in and ruins everything – 14/10 would never eat again.
Nancy Groves, Life Editor.
Now, I grew up in Wimbledon, so I know and love Elys department store. Think Debenhams for suburbanites (though we had one of those too – spoiled!). Elys cafe is where grannies go to gossip/die and where we’d sometimes skive off from our sixth-form tutorials for a slab of delicious Battenburg. The store has had a fancy makeover of late – and perhaps this offering is part of that. But the ‘head chef’ needs to have a word. Because, yes, that is my face in the picture above, grimacing with pain. Salad cream is an abomination in any context – and using it to spoil my hometown’s most famous export is pure sacrilege.