Supper Club

Delicious by DS5 – Shoreditch Pop-up restaurant

Often times, pop-ups are a little difficult (if not slightly pointless) to write about. By the time you get a chance to do so, they’re – poof! – gone. However, the one I was lucky enough to snag a table at a couple of weeks ago was a unique enough experience that it would be a disservice not to talk about. Oddly enough, it was for the launch of a car, the Citroen DS5.

The setting was typical of your Shoreditch pop up: big, white gallery space, hidden door, champers on arrival, lots of creative types waiting anxiously to be sat, but once led to our tables, it was quite unique. Three reasons why:

  1. Entry was a £5 donation to Fareshare
  2. For £5, you got a 5-course meal devised by Tim Anderson (of Master Chef and Brew Dog Camden fame)
  3. The menu was based loosely on the 5 senses, and incredibly posh at that

First course, Textures of Duck included a tissue-like dissolving in your mouth piece of crispy skin, a lovely liver parfait disguised as a quail’s egg and a deliciously leather-y jerky

Second course, Visions of Beetroot, was visually stunning, but not for me. I take beets in small doses, and this was way too much for me. Pretty though…

Hands down favourite was Flavours of Beef, a simple, but majestic fillet perfectly cooked and served with a delightful blue cheese potato puree and cashew butter.

And of course with any gastronomy-inspired tasting menu there has to be a bit of theatre.This in the form of Sounds of Bacon, made up of a pancetta lolly pop and pork rind popping candy (ie Pop Rocks). Good fun, both, although the popping candy made me want to reach for a nice cold Diet Coke rather than wine.

Also in the theatre department were the liquid nitrogen macaroon palette cleansers. I can’t say I enjoyed them any more than any other macaroon, but it was quite fun to blow ‘ smoke’ out of your mouth in between courses (as modeled by my friend George…)

Dessert – Aromas of Syrah – I was incredibly sceptical of. Peeling back the lid on the jar, you’re met with what can only be described as a cigarette barbecue. Not at all appetising. However, once the ridiculous odour dissipated, you were left with what actually was a quite nice chocolate ganache.

And in between all this, we got to play around with the car itself, and all its shiny buttons and features. It’s about nine million times out of my price range, but we had a lot of fun playing with the moon roof and driver’s seat massage function

By the end of the evening, suitably impressed with almost everything and having now been to two different Tim Anderson sort-of ventures, I’m wondering when is he going to get his own restaurant. I think it would have a lot of potential.  Surely something must be in the works…

Fernandez & Leluu – Super Secret Supper Club Location

I’d never been to a supper club before a two weeks ago.  I’ve always thought it was a cool idea, but for some reason, I’d just never gone through with it.  But then I was invited to the much-lauded Fernandez & Leluu supper club. F&L (aka Simon and Uyen) were hosting a special event with Qype , sponsored by After Eight mints and led by the King and perhaps first-ever supper club master – Jim Haynes.

Jim is a total legend. American-born, has lived in Paris for decades, and every Sunday for the last 30 years has hosted anywhere from 80-120 people for dinner. Such a cool story. Plus, he was a wicked ‘tache:

Jim Haynes

So late one Monday evening, about 40 of us all pile into the secret supper club location, and eat Jim Haynes-style, which basically means standing up with plates and mingling while trying desparately not to drop our food. (It was as difficult as it sounds.)  Normally, however, Simon and Uyen host abut 25 people in their living room, which my friend Sian described as ‘a magic supper club TARDIS’. Brilliant.

The first course was a selection of finger foods, mostly Vietnamese:

  • Fresh Summer Rolls With Mint, Shredded Pork Skin, Barbequed Pork, Roast Pork Belly, Cured Vietnamese Ham, Sweet Basil & Lettuce
  • Spring Rolls With King Prawns, Minced Pork, Black Fungus, Carrots & Glass Noodles
  • Pork & Chicken Liver Terrine On Ciabatta
  • Whole Prawns With Green Herbs Mayo & Salmon Caviar
  • Carrot & Corriander Salad With Shredded Chicken

I’d never given much thought to a summer roll before. They’re usually just a bit basic, but this one (the big honkin’ roll on the left side of my plate) left me speechless. I never would have thought to put pork skin, barbequed pork AND pork belly in a summer roll, but wowza – I sure would now.

Also a big thumbs up to the liver terrine. I’m not generally fan, but this was gorgeous.

For our mains, we had:

  • Carpaccio of Argentinian Beef Fillet Rolled in Black Pepper With Raspberry Jus
  • Mashed Garlic & Spring Onion Inside Baked Potato Skins
  • Lambs Lettuce In Olive Oil & Lemon
  • Garlic Foccacia

I wasn’t as big of a fan of this as I was with the starters, but mainly because it was way to difficul to cut it into manageable pieces.  I ended up having to chow down on huge chunks when I really would have preferred to savour it a bit longer.  Note: If holding a standing supper club, I’d recommend bite sized foods.

Dessert was an absolutely amazing Trifle Of Croissant Bread & Butter Pudding With Whisky Raisins, White Chocolate Custard & Strawberry, Raspberry & Blackberry Soaked in Cointreau.

By this time, I was outside in very low light, so I didn’t get a great photo. Luckily, Kang over at The London Eater did though (as usual!):

I was in love with this from the first bite it was a beautiful explosion of fruit with just about the most boozey strawberries I’ve ever had in my life.  If I wasn’t ipsy before this dessert, I certainly was after.

The verdict?

My first supper club may not have been traditional, but it was certainly good fun. I’m really excited to try Fernandez & Leluu, properly, if not just to have a chance to eat that summer roll again.

If anyone has any other Supper Club suggestions, let me know!  I’ve had a couple already, but would be keen to hear more.