Don’t quote us on this, but someone famous — perhaps Ben Franklin or Gandhi — once said, “Cheese is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.” Except for the lactose intolerant and those who hate delicious foods, everyone loves cheese. So, a restaurant that serves a non-stop parade of cheese on a literal conveyor belt seems like something out of the perfect fever dream. And that’s precisely what London’s aptly named Pick & Cheese delivers.
Located in the newly opened Seven Dials Market in Covent Garden, Pick & Cheese is like Japan’s conveyor belt sushi joints, only with cheese. Guests belly up to the 130-foot “Cheese Bar” to find an enticing and never-ending parade of cheeses. There are 25 in total, all sourced from local British farms and urban producers. Each serving comes pre-plated with appropriate sides, condiments, small-batch wines, or some combination of the three. It might be the best food-wine pairing tapas idea ever.
Founder Matthew Carver was inspired to create the concept by listening to frequent customers in his other famous London-based eateries. He noticed they “always want to pick different cheeses from our house list, and create their own bespoke cheeseboard.” By working with his own chefs and local farms to find out what’s new, exciting, and innovative, they narrow the selection to include something for everyone. “We’ve tried to cater to the more well-known flavor profiles, as well as trying to push people out of their comfort zone to try something new.”
Inspired by similar concepts in Japan, the restaurant color codes each dish based on price. The least expensive cream-colored plates start at less than $4 and include a Quicke & Devon cheddar paired with a simple tomato relish and a Stilton from Nottinghamshire that’s backed with a chocolate & oat cookie. Even the blue-cheese-averse will find a blue to appreciate in the Beauvale. The restaurant describes it as “a blue for people who ‘don’t like blue cheese.’”
The selection grows more interesting as diners work through the gray, blue, red, and yellow. More adventurous cheese lovers can sample the Baron Bigod (paired with mushroom duxelle) and the Kingham, a new release that Pick & Cheese turns into a sweet & salty pairing by adding a side of walnut fudge. “Off-belt” options are also available, including a four-cheese grilled sandwich and a blue cheese soft-serve dessert with honeycomb, pear coulis, and shaved chocolate.
Pick & Cheese is open seven days a week, starting at noon. Most of the seating is walk-in only, and the restaurant warns that there’s almost always a line. Although, like all good things in life, good cheese comes to those who wait.
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