Monday, 13 February 2012
My first supper club...
Just over three months ago, I finally made it to a supper club. Supper clubs are usually by word of mouth and the idea is that you are served incredible food that you would pay up to 2/3 times as much if you were to have it in a restaurant. I was away when ferdiesfoodlab launched in August but on my return to London (and prompted by an email or two) I thought back to a train journey in March/April and made my highly recommended visit to ferdiesfoodlab. The experience in under 5 words - it did NOT disappoint...
Having done some research on supper clubs (and also read reviews on Simon Fernandez - founder and chef of ferdiesfoodlab - and on his food) I decided this was the right one for me to visit. I expected an intimate evening with few diners eating out in a living room... Following the directions that were emailed to me I made my way to Toynbee Hall. On entering the hall I walked into a room with up to 30 people in it - the high ceilings and wood panels worthy of a listed building - it was really pretty and also a little intimidating for a first time supper clubber whose friend was running late! I really had nothing to worry about... within minutes I was chatting to a really outgoing and friendly guest and became acquainted over a complimentary glass of wine. I was so engrossed I missed 2 calls from my friend who was a little lost. A great start!
We entered the main hall where 2 long tables were set up and it looked exciting! There was a seating plan and we all found our seats. I had ordered wine to be delivered on the evening (details sent out once confirmed) so that was chilled and ready on arrival! Always nice not to have to carry a bottle from work/home and to be able to buy some really decent bottles of wine and bring them along. A genuine perk as there is no corkage charge.
The first dish out was a sweet potato tortilla with rosemary bread!
I don't think that the image does it enough justice - it was delectable. I can't remember what the sauce was but I loved it (my fault for waiting this long to write about it - sorry Simon). I remember it being really tangy and the flavours just totally burst out of it! It was an ice-breaking dish if ever there was one (not that one was needed)! It really got us talking and there was an increase in the air of expectancy in the room. I was also rather pleased to be able to share some of the last extra slice!
The next course was bacon swirls with invisible tomato juice! the bacon swirls quickly leapt to the top 3 of my favourite pastries. Again - filled with flavour whilst the invisible tomato juice filled my mouth and tickled my tastebuds... a definite "must have again!"
The next course was my favourite and I hope to revisit ferdiesfoodlab again in the hope that it will reappear on the menu - pork belly with pear preserve pureed gourds with preserved lemon apples! Feed me that and I am "almost" all yours. Simon - are you available? ;-)
The pork was succulent, the crackling crisp and the pureed gourds were a sweet, sticky accompaniment - perfect! It is clear that Simon is an incredibly talented chef who has a magical way with flavours and a special touch with the food(s) that he makes!
Dish number 4 was millionaires cheesecake with orange puree and orange sauce. I love dessert and this reminded me why. I did feel that the cheesecake had been chilled a little long and was between the texture of ice cream and a traditional non-bake cheesecake but it tasted great. The cheeseboard that followed had 3 great cheeses - Danish blue, Port Salut and Brie (in my opinion) but I wasn't too bothered about the Wensleydale with cranberries.
To top off the night was a selection of petit fours - black olive ganache and salted lemon fudge and limoncello. I liked thehte lemon one but found the black olive too rich for my tastes.
At the end of the night I felt as stuffed as a turkey on Christmas day and I'd met some great people and made friends. The 'banquet' style setup is great for conversation and encourages chatting and getting to know other people who share a respect of and love for good food. I had a great time and ate more than I thought I could put away.
I would highly recommend a visit to ferdiesfoodlab. You can book a place or check it out here! If you are up for some good food and great company, or just want to treat yourself (or anyone else) to great food I would recommend it. Remember - it isn't a restaurant so you have to just let the evening unfold as it does, knowing that you will have plenty of time to get your last train home. Would I go again - I did (watch this space) and I will be again in a few days time! Can't wait!