Category Archives: Supper Clubs

Tapas!

As someone who is thouroughly indecisive and wants to try everything Tapas is pretty well perfect for me.  I mean, I like an all you can eat buffet but have a tendency to overdo it so somewhere I still have to make a selection but can choose 4 or 5 things rather than 1 is brilliant!

Of course Tapas is about more than just multiple dishes to share, it’s about good quality fresh ingredients, and it’s about sharing and making food into an event.

Last week those good people at Sauce Comms invited me and several other members of the food blogging cognoscenti to a “Secret Cena” to promote the launch of Phaidon publishing’s new release “The Book of Tapas” by Simone and Ines Ortega.  We were told to rendezvous at Borough Market’s Tapas Brindisa and were met by head chef Jose Pizzaro who contributes a couple of recipes in the “guest chef” section of the book.

We had a couple of beers standing in the doorway and getting in people’s way (as the bustling restaurant was doing a roaring early evening trade) eating stuffed olives (when Meemalee wasn’t chucking them over the floor) and other nibbles it still wasn’t entirely clear what the secret part of this evening was set to be.

Once everyone had arrived (I may be forgetting people but our gang definitley consisted of @R_McCormack, @EssexEating @FoodUrchin, @GastroGeek, @MathildeCuisine,  the aforementioned @Meemalee and @Bribedwithfood) we were shepherded across the road and on a short walk to where we knew not.

Soon we were walking past a gym and into the courtyard of a rather nice appartment complex, the penny didn’t drop until Jose held open the door and told us his flat was on the third floor.

Yep, that’s right, we were being treated to Tapas at Jose Pizarro’s flat, the way it should be done.  He told us that Tapas is about entertaining, about good company, good food and good wine!  Never one to argue with this kind of suggestion I was hugely impressed that he would be so open and trusting to complete strangers.  It’s something which I think Londoners are getting better at, given the rise of the supperclub and all that but it’s still not something that comes entirely naturally.  Jose has lived in London for 11 years so he can be classed as a Londoner but I guess the Spanish hospitality is what shines through!

So, a selection of delicous hams and cheeses, a stunningly moist and light tortilla a chorizo paste and some bread got us started and while we mingled in the lounge and around the table it sunk in where we were.  Jose had a couple of assistants helping to cook the warm dishes, the chorizo in red wine sauce was so moreish and the plump prawns and juicy scallops just sensational.  English Asparagus is the best apparentley and it was served hot.

With such sparking company and excellent food we could barely fail to have a great time, hanging out on the balcony and enjoying wonderful hospitality.

I didn’t take any photos – didn’t quite seem right in someone’s flat but here’s what the book looks like (if you haven’t got your glasses on and everything is a little blurry)…

I’m going to try the vegetable tortilla recipe later I think..

Next post I shall be attempting to even up picture/words ratio since I think I’m going to heavy one way or another at the moment.. (That’s called deconstructing..)

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Fernandez & Leluu

It is hard to know where to start in reviewing a night that was essentially just a really swell party. I’d heard wonderful things before visiting but the hype was well and truly lived up to on Tuesday as Jim Haynes, surely a man with the ideal lifestyle, After Eight and Qype helped them to host a Dinner Party through the Decades.

Having been to a couple of supper clubs before I thought I knew the drill but the crowd here tonight turned it more into a cocktail party than anything as Johan the Mixologist served up Bellinis while we mingled.

With Qypers and food bloggers rubbing shoulders and appreciating the sensational starter selection it became clear that this was going to be something of a special evening. Crispy Spring Rolls and Summer Rolls stuffed to absolute bursting point were superb while the take on the Prawn Cocktail (2 large tiger prawns in Garlic & White Wine with Mayo) worked nicely as well.

Then the cocktails came out in force with a refreshing Summer Tom Collins, the Bramble which didn’t quite have as much Blackberry as I was expecting, and the rose one, which most had as their favourite.  For more detailed reviews of the drinks check out Billy’s Booze Blog.

The main course consisted of rather yummy mushrooms, a delicious carpaccio of beef and a baked potato mash. Not as immediately stunning as the starter but we were satisfied and really beginning to get into the swing of things by this stage as it was time for Jim to regale us.

Jim is someone who for the last 30 years has had upwards of 60 people coming into his home every Sunday for a dinner party, and funnily enough he is entertaining, engaging and accommodating as you might expect. He told stories about how he had brought people together and of his foolproof method of not upsetting the neighbours (take them food).

It was a pleasure to be in the company of someone who unashamedly lives in the moment as an existentialist; his favourite food is the food he is eating right now, and by extension Fernandez and Leluu’s was his favourite supper club, at least that night!

We rounded off of course with a wafer thin mint and what was described as a summer fruits spotted dick. This was an incredible finish, baked croissant with white chocolate liqueur sauce, raisins and strawberries, just fabulous. So good in fact that Luis The London Foodie got so excited he managed to spill sauce down his front, how lucky to be wearing a black shirt!

An incredible event, Jim will be getting some new guests to dinner, this and other supper clubs will no doubt get an attendance boost now we have the bug and we all left with a box of after dinner mints and a tale to tell. “Did you hear about that night in East London when everything just worked?”

They do it here twice a week and I salute them.

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…And you will know us by the trail of our bread

My second ever supperclub and boy was I excited…!  Invited by the lovely Gastrogeek and amused by the name of this place aping the post rock outfit www.trailofdead.co.uk/ I was all set for an evening of madness..

The theme was “Lunacy” you see and on arrival to our secret East London location we entered the huge space and found ourselves transported to a Wonderland setting.  It certainly ended up pretty crazy but I’ll come to that later…

The enormous space where Jim lives is just perfect for this kind of event, plenty of room for tables and a large kitchen to prepare the food without being apart from our merry gang.  Interior designers by trade they had kitted the place out wonderfully, with wobbly mirrors, magic mushrooms and wonderous lampshades among other touches.

We had a goodie bag containing an Eat Me sugar flower, a Drink Me mini bottle of flavoured Vodka, which initially we were concerned might be absinthe due to it’s colour, a gift (I had a plastic nose) and a bag of popping candy which shamefully I’ve just remembered is still in my bag…

Anyhow, that was just the start as we mingled with some of the other foodie blogger types who were in attendance and wished that we all had somewhere as unique and big as this to hold our own events!

A delicious Chestnut and Chorizo soup with caramelized onion was the starter as we settled in and were even treated to, impossible to turn down, seconds.  It’s rich texture and intense flavour were just what I needed after a tiring day tramping around East London; I’d seen some real sights that day but I was so ready for dinner by the time we got here!

The second course was  pasta with Mushrooms and Tomatoes replacing the expected nettle dish because the nettles weren’t out yet, another victim of the late spring.  This was delightful and light tasting after the dense soup, we turned down second helpings but only because we were wary of getting too full!

The main course was Rabbit w/ petits pois, cider, lettuce and spiced glazed chicory (the mad march hare of course..) It was tasty, if a little tough and reminded me that my Mum had always served my sister and I rabbit in various guises when we were children despite us having two bunnies as much loved pets.  I would have been devastated at the time if she had told us what we were eating rather than chicken.  I only found out about three years ago.

After this and before the in-season and on trend Rhubarb Fool with a tasty Ginger Shortbread things started to get a little odd.  One of the other tables was getting rowdy and all hell seemed to break loose as photos were reluctantly posed for and conversations turned from bizarre to insane.  Was this entertainment laid on to enhance the lunacy element?  I don’t think so, but it certainly gave us one of the biggest laughs of the night even if there were a few uncomfortable moments!

You can tell I’m a novice to this blogging malarkey and technically challenged by lack of camera as well… however to see some photos from this event I recommend this photostream from Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/flib/sets/72157623594230347/with/4469719420/

We managed to avoid being in any of these but there is real evidence of Gail’s birthday cake in these which was disguised and on show throughout the evening as a plant pot.  With crushed Oreos as a realistic soil its lucky I’m not more green-fingered…

To round off we had the classic “Crazy” (wobbly) desert of Jelly!

First a taster of a lime leaf effort which hadn’t quite set but was quite delicious and then a taster of absinthe jelly which was interesting but in small enough portions to not scupper my long journey back across town…!

I’m off to another of these supper clubs (Fernandez and Leluu) on Tuesday and I can’t wait

Sign up for future events here

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