Saturday 20 November 2010

Good Stock Supper Club

There's a new supper club in town.  It's called Good Stock and it's run by a lovely team of sisters and cousins.  Anna, Marie, Sarah & Lucy and their team hosted their first dinner last night and it was a huge success.  The biggest coup being the fact they've managed to secure the best venue - a spacious riverside penthouse on the Thames!  So the wow factor was apparent from the moment you arrived and were handed a glass of pink Prosecco to enjoy whilst taking in the stunning view overlooking Tower Bridge.  

Professionalism is certainly the name of the game with Good Stock, and in some ways it felt more like a restaurant than a supper club in someone's home.  They run a very slick operation and being quite a perfectionist myself, I really appreciated their attention to detail, including simple ideas such as putting sprigs of fresh mint in the water bottles, and colour printed menus on each table.

The 24 diners comprised of groups of friends, regular supper club goers and friends of the hosts.  I sat at a table with a lovely bunch and we all got along like old friends, enjoying the food, wine and banter.  The atmosphere in general was happy and relaxed, and despite the kitchen being open plan and only feet from the diners, we were oblivious to any action frantically taking place as the hosts moved deftly between us serving the food.

A platter of delicious peat-smoked salmon parcels with beetroot and horseradish, and some cheesy rarebit puffs with pancetta crisp were handed out whilst we had our welcome drink.  They were a great combination of flavours and would have been perfect if offered as canapes.  But according to the menu, these were in fact the starter, which I found quite disappointing as there wasn't a substantial enough amount for all the guests (I only had one of each) to justify a starter.  The smoked mackerel and trout terrine with saffron potatoes was tasty and made up for it.  The main course was a Carbonnade of British beef with garlic and dijon croute which was effectively a beef stew served in individual pots with a slice of French bread on top and some green beans wrapped in courgette on the side.  The beef was tender and the sauce was excellent, really flavoursome and perfect for a hearty, cold November evening.  But being quite rich, it would have definitely benefitted from a good dollop of creamy mashed potato.  Surprisingly, no bread was offered on the table, but when we asked for some, the hosts instantly brought us a basketful. 

It was rose water-poached pears with homemade spiced vanilla ice cream for pudding.  Beautifully presented on a plate with a delicate mint leaf, at first you wondered if the ice cream was coming separately, until you discovered it gently seeping out of the pear's bottom!  The girls had painstakingly hollowed out each pear and inserted the ice cream.  The pear, spiced vanilla and mint were a lovely combination and the ice cream was especially creamy.  

A cheeseboard of brie drizzled with honey, figs and stilton rounded off the evening perfectly.  Compared to most supper clubs, Good Stock didn't offer the BYO wine option, instead offering a glass of carefully selected wines to accompany each course.  This was a nice touch but I'd like to have had the option to bring a bottle too.  They did offer additional wine for sale.

Towards the end of the evening, we were all given a little brown box, with 'Good Stock' neatly printed on the lid.  Inside was a duo of handmade salted caramel truffles.  As mentioned earlier, it's this  kind of thoughtful detail which makes Good Stock stand out from the crowd.  The chocolates were so delicious, with the perfect contrast of sweet and salt, I'm sure the best chocolatier in the world would have been impressed.  A great trademark. 

When they'd all finished sweating over the hot stove, the team emerged looking fresh and gorgeous to join us at the table for some cheese and chat.  It was a fun night and I met some interesting people and think Good Stock should be very proud of themselves for hosting such a great dinner.
Hopefully they will be putting on more dinners soon, so I suggest you book yourself a place and check out their website  Thanks for a lovely evening and well done!

Friday 12 November 2010

Supper Clubs

I love a secret supper club and have been frequenting them for a while now.  In fact, supper clubs, pop-up restaurants, underground dining or whatever you want to call them, were part of the inspiration for this here blog you are now feasting your eyes upon.  Along with various other great secret London stuff I hasten to add.  

My first real taste of a supper club was at a paladar in Havana a couple of years ago.   Widespread in Cuba, Paladares are small, family-run restaurants where locals open their homes to the public.  Friends, neighbours and tourists alike pay a few pesos in exchange for a home-cooked meal in the comfort of their host's home. 

Life in Havana
Paladar hostess complete with pig
Now a similar trend has taken off here and it really is a fun, sociable and completely different alternative to going to a restaurant.  And as you have to take your own booze, it works out much cheaper too!

Fernandez & Leluu
Me & Uyen
Sarah with Pea & Ham Soup
I think it was the fabulous Fernandez & Leluu who truly got me into the London supper club scene, and apart from being my favourite, they have also become good friends.  F&L kindly did the catering for my birthday dinner earlier this year and it was without doubt, one of the best meals ever.  And my 32 guests would totally agree!  I still dream about that pea & ham soup...

Vintage Pop-Up Birthday Dinner
Upcoming posts will include details about a few excellent supper clubs I've been to over the past year (F&L Saltoun, Pale Blue Door, Food Rambler & Savoy Truffle Club), as well as blogging about any upcoming ones I'm going to attend.  In fact, there are several on the near horizon (including White Room, Nomad Chef, Friday Food Club & Good Stock), so whilst I eat, drink, blog and be merry, please keep your eyes on 'Miss Immy's London' for the latest on which supper clubs should be on your hit list.  

What could be a better antidote to the cold, dark winter months ahead, than dining somewhere new with friends, enjoying good food, wine and banter.  Or even go alone - hey, they'll all become your friends before the evening is over.  Hello Winter, I think we're going to get along very well!  

Click on the Supper Club tab for more news.

Monday 8 November 2010

Blackheath Goes Bang

Autumn is in full swing, the pavements are strewn with crunchy, golden leaves and it's definitely feeling parky enough to dig out your hat and scarf.  It was perfect bonfire night weather on Saturday, as skies across the land illuminated in a giant frenzy of colourful, loud whizz, cracks and bangs.  My family and I ventured off to Blackheath in South East London which is re-known for hosting one of the best fireworks displays in the country.  And it didn't disappoint (apart from missing a bonfire).  
Sparkler Masters

As 70,000 people descended on the Heath, there was a wonderful air of camaraderie and anticipation as everyone excitedly twirled their sparklers and launched beautiful paper sky lanterns - some which went so high, they appeared to reach the stars.

The revellers all joined in the 10 second count-down, and so began the most spectacular fireworks which seemed to go on forever.  Hundreds of rockets exploding high into the air, filling the night sky with beautiful displays of gold, red and green splashes, circles, stars, twirls, all whizzing around, perfectly choreographed by the organisers.  It really was stunning and certainly one of the best displays I've been to.  



If you ever find yourself in South East London around 5th November  I highly recommend you go and see it for yourself.  And if you're organised, you can avoid the crowds, by booking a table for dinner afterwards at the Everest Inn which is brilliantly located, reasonably priced and serves excellent Indian Nepalese nosh.  Fireworks and a vindaloo.  It's a match made in heaven.

Monday 1 November 2010

Shock, horror. Audrey Eats Bambi.

Evening all!  I trust you all survived last weekend's spooky antics.  Halloween has reached a whole new level as apple bobbing and ghostly, sheet-clad toddlers appear to be a thing of the past.  Now the trick or treaters mainly run amok, donning ASBOs and Saw III regalia, whilst pulling down your garden fence if you have the audacity to not answer the door.

I, meanwhile, enjoyed Halloween in the form of The Evil Cake Shop, a curious 18+ pop-up shop which sold 666 cakes a day for 3 days.

Worried I may miss out, I spoke to a very friendly woman at Chance Collective who was kind enough to secure me a couple of cakes before they sold out.  I made my way to Maiden in Shoreditch on Friday evening where I was greeted by the lovely owner who showed me his wares, led me into the basement to view the evil lotions, potions and cake remnants of the day, and then provided me with two very special cakes, courtesy of the afore-mentioned 'friendly woman' (thanks Lizzy!)

One was a masterpiece of cake art by David A Smith entitled 'Bloodied Bambi' complete with its own signed Certificate of Authenticity.  The other was, erm... well I like to think of it as a mini ' Gateau de Gash'.

Maiden is an excellent gift shop full of wacky things, such as the Elvis and Audrey Hepburn face masks which I bought.   Arriving at a friend's that evening, it was a very peculiar moment as Elvis and Audrey tucked into their evil cakes.  The taste of marshmallow deer horns surrounded by chocolate sponge covered in sweet raspberry blood was strangely satisfying and definitely my idea of spooky.

I hear rumours that the Evil Cake gang may return next Easter.  Watch this space.
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