Malt n Mash, a pop-up global gastropub, has opened its doors on Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District. For the rest of the year, the restaurant will serve some of the most progressive and ambitious food that the neighborhood has ever seen. But while the food is complex, the atmosphere is laid back and casual.
The kitchen is led by executive chef Nahid Ahmed, a protégé of Gray Kunz who helped open Lespinasse, as well as Café Gray in New York and Hong Kong, and executive sous chef Arjuna Bull, who also worked at Café Gray and most recently, Pearl & Ash. They divided the menu into five categories: Raw, Share, Land, Sea, and Sweet. The dishes are technique-driven and artfully presented, as items include Foie Gras with chipotle peanut butter; Hamachi seasoned with tangerine dashi and togarashi; Octopus with black garlic; and Sweetbreads with ramps and popcorn.
The food's international influences stem from the diverse backgrounds of chefs Ahmed and Bull. Ahmed was born in England, raised in South Africa by Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian parents, and received his first formal culinary training in Switzerland. Bull was born in England to parents passionate about Indian culture, but spent a significant amount of time in Miami and later, Hawaii.
The food is meant for sharing and every dish contains surprising, clever elements that are true conversation pieces. Case in point, oysters on the half shell with mango puree that are plated on a bed of “snow” aka rock salt with peppercorns and coriander. But in addition to the artistic food, Chefs Ahmed and Bull also serve a rotating selection of specials displayed on a large chalkboard etched into the wall. Enjoy casual yet expertly prepared pub food like lamb burgers, grilled fish, and fettuccini with beef cheeks. There is also a strong focus on beer, wine, and specialty cocktails. The intimate dining area features mosaic floors, exposed brick, and a rustic wooden bar. There is also an upstairs space for private events.
Malt n Mash is Ahmed and Bull’s culinary playground, as the pair plan to experiment with items here before developing an even larger menu for 44 Acres, a more formal restaurant that will open next door in November. Both restaurants are owned by The Line Group, the hospitality company behind Sons of Essex and Petaluma.