A few years ago, I tweeted something about Matty's MUNCHIES show Hangover Cures. He tweeted back and then he called me literally the day after. I felt like we were best friends after that conversation. We hit it off pretty quickly. Simple as that.
We chatted about doing a dinner together at [the author's restaurant] Black Axe Mangal for a while, but because we're both quite busy, we didn't really get around to organising much until a few days before.
We put it out there that Matty was going to be in London and he was up for doing something at Black Axe Mangal—just for a laugh. We got our heads together, he wrote a menu, and I ordered all the stuff. Then he came in and we prepped it all, and opened the doors at 6 PM on Saturday.
That was it, really. There wasn't much careful planning with every detail covered.
But Saturday's dinner ended up being a hell of a lot of fun and a great experience. We did food that we never do at Black Axe Mangal, apart from one dish—the smoked cod's roe on squid ink bread—which is one that Matty loves. The rest was all Matty Matheson.
It's always quite flattering when people queue up to eat at the restaurant and usually, we run a wait list of around 45 minutes. But on Saturday for Matty's dinner, there were so many people in the queue that we couldn't organise one. Some people waited up to three hours.
Everyone was really cool, though and seemed to love it. Matty loves it when people come up him and ask to take a photograph with him (he pretends not to, but he does love it).
Me and Matty did an event together in Toronto a while back but Saturday was the first time we'd done a proper service together, reading checks and sending food. Matty has been out of the kitchen doing a proper service for about a year but he slipped back into it brilliantly.
The whole night was hilarious. Matty just makes these funny noises like "Rargh rargh!" a lot of the time. It cracks me up.
People were into it, too. It was unique to Matty and I think people understood it. I loved the Big Mac Pizza. That was amazing. It's like eating a Big Mac but it's baked on our flatbread. Like a Big Mac Royale.
There was also a really nice cabbage dish where Matty burnt all the cabbage and then put it into a marinade. That was tasty. Everything he did was quite high impact flavours. There's nothing subtle about Matty or Matty's food, and that marries with the Black Axe Mangal attitude towards food. There isn't much subtle about what we do, either.
The restaurant seats 24 people and on Saturday, we fed more than 160 people. There were only two of us cooking. It was a lot. Matty was plating up as well … and vibe controlling.
It was great fun. It's nice to cook with friends and get different people into the restaurant. It's like having a party. But you work hard.
All photos by Joseph O'Connell-Danes.
As told to Daisy Meager.
Lee Tiernan is a MUNCHIES host and head chef and owner of London Turkish restaurant Black Axe Mangal, known for its wood-fired flatbreads, offal, and heavy metal playlist. He has previously worked at St. John and a pop-up in Copenhagen.