Monday, 7 December 2015

Ferdie's Food Lab

What better way to spend a chilly winter's evening, than enjoying a 6 course gourmet feast and lots of vin rouge. Well, that's exactly what my friend and I thought, so we headed off to Ferdie's Food Lab on Saturday, to do just that. The Chef Extraordinaire behind Ferdie's is Simon Fernandez, who I've known for several years, as he and his partner at the time did the catering for a special party I hosted. And to this day, it's a menu I will never forget. Simon is an adventurous and imaginative cook with a flair for new ideas, as well as creating interesting twists on old favourites. So dinner at his Battersea-based supper club was just the ticket.

It was held at the London Cooking Project (formerly London Kitchen Project) in Battersea, which is a well-equipped space for cookery classes; resident chefs; supper clubs; venue hire and community gatherings. The front part of the venue is the dining area with a long table and chairs all set up for the diners. Whilst the rear of the venue is where all the cooking action and magic takes place. The only downside of the venue from a dining point of view, was it felt quite soulless and cold, both physically and atmospherically. And being December, I would have liked to have seen a nod towards something more festive. Maybe the warm glow of a Christmas tree in the corner. Or a token cracker. But the most important thing is we were there for the food. And that certainly didn't disappoint.

We took our seats and chatted to our friendly, fellow diners whilst enjoying a feast of lamb cubes, tarts, green Haggis bombs, curious sauces, cucumber spaghetti with a real kick, a cracking roast rib eye and some delectable sweet treats. Even though a couple of courses looked quite similar, they were worlds apart and everything was delicious! Surprisingly, the veggie Haggis with spicy cucumber was probably my favourite. But then again the beef was excellent. Oh, and did I mention the chocolate peanut butter cups...

Ferdie's is a BYO event, and he does attach some suggested wine-pairings on the menu, which were also included in the booking info for you to buy in advance, but this wasn't very apparent, so I'm not sure how many people did attempt the wine pairing. But we took a couple of bottles of red which seemed to go well with everything! If you enjoy food and like the unusual setting of a supper club, then I highly recommend you check out Ferdie's Food Lab. Gather some friends, some wine and if you're going in winter, you may want to wrap up warm. And check out his website which he regularly updates with interesting recipes.


Pulled Roast Lamb Cubes in Breadcrumbs with Sauce Verde & Garlic Turkish Bread

Morcilla & Apple Tart with a Champagne, Vanilla & Orange Sauce

Green Bomb (Vegetarian Haggis) with Hot & Sour Cucumber Spaghetti

Roast Ribeye of Beef with Liquorice Salt, Roasties & Caramelised Carrots

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Almond Gelato & Black Olive Chocolate Sauce

Petit Fours -  Salted Caramel & Peanut Butter Temptations & Cocoa Almonds

* * * * *

at London Cooking Project
1 Ethelburga Street
London SW11 4AG

£45 per head for 6 courses & a welcome glass of Prosecco

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Cahoots Bar

I met a friend up West the other week and as we ventured off Regent Street into the buzzing vibe of Kingly Court, we headed through a discreet doorway where we descended a staircase deep underground into a tube station. As we entered the Ticket Office, we suddenly found ourselves in 1940's post-war Britain. We had arrived at Cahoots. And the beginning of a rather splendid evening...

Cahoots is an elegant cocktail bar with a hint of speakeasy about it. Located in what was a genuine air raid shelter beneath the heart of London's West End, the space is now a 'disused' underground station complete with a tube carriage where you can sit and sip cocktails amongst the very authentic sand bags, posters and war-time decor. Despite being a 'theme' bar, this is a class act from the off. The attention to detail is magnificent, as are the extensive array of cocktails (and other beverages), all printed in the local Cahoots rag - 'The Kingly Court Herald'. Whether it's a refreshing 'Vera Lynn', a classic 'Gracie Fields', a peculiar 'Boiled Beef & Carrots' or a creative 'White Cloves of Dover' which tickles your cocktail tastebuds, with prices starting at a reasonable £8 a pop, there's no reason not to try a few!

If it's food you're after, then let's not forget you are now in Post-War Britain, so it's only fair to expect nothing more than rations. But when your ration tin comes filled with such creations as 'Crisp and Salad Cream' and 'Spam and Cheese' sandwiches, or 'Marmalade Crumpets', it's hard not to smile with childish delight.

The service at Cahoots was exceptional. Despite it being fully booked and busy pretty much all the time, everyone from the 'Station Guard' and 'Ticket Man' to the 'Train Staff' were courteous, friendly and accommodating. We had a particularly lovely table waitress who not only looked the part with her pinned-up hair, red lips and 1940's flair, but even her name, Phaedra, was fitting. As for the music, there's a whole lot of swing, jazz, lindy hop and late night electro-swing going on. Cahoots is a den of high spirits, snappy dressers, naughty scoundrels and elegant damsels. Whether you're enjoying jolly japes with friends in a tube carriage, or re-enacting 'Brief Encounter' in a cosy snug with your sweetheart, you'll find yourself oblivious to the world and era going on above ground. 

I totally loved Cahoots and it was so refreshing to find a unique place in the heart of W1 rather than having to venture to deepest Shoreditch for the quirk-factor. Although I bet the very convincing underground signs confuse the tourists no end. Which is probably part of the fun! It's a brilliant place. I loved it. Just go! Oh, and remember. It don't mean a thing, if you ain't got that... table booked in advance. Ha!

13 Kingly Court (somewhere beneath)
London W1B 5PG
020 7352 6200

Open 7 days a week from 5pm till late
Book in advance! (Strictly over 21's only)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Once Upon A Time At The Fairground

It was all the fun of the fair in downtown Peckham last night. Some friends and I headed to the legendary Bussey Building to check out Once Upon A Time At The Fairground. We grabbed a drink from one of the many bars, and went to explore the four floors of hedonistic madness. There were some brilliant outfits going on, including a bunch of jolly jesters. A healthy scattering of fairground ringmasters. A sexy wolf. And a blue-bearded lady.

We listened to a couple of live bands (Carousel were particularly good), and busted a few moves to one of the excellent DJ sets. After a quick go on the hoola-hoops, it was into the games room to partake in a few traditional fairground antics, including hoopla; coconut shy, and 'bounce the ball in the cup'. Lollipops and popcorn prizes were in abundance and then it was off to the photo booth for a quick group prop shot.


The final stop was the theatre room where we witnessed a Fatboy Slim dance-off, a few rounds of Musical Bingo and a lot of very intriguing characters taking part in the freak show. By then, the place was filling up nicely and all the hardcore party people were going for it. And time for me to quietly leave them to it...

Once Upon A Time are renown for organising high-production themed parties which take place in unusual spaces across London. I wonder what they'll be rolling out next. To find out more, check out their Facebook page here.

Miss Immy & her Fairground Friends were guests of Once Upon A Time At The Fairground

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