Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Supperclub: Ferdie's Food Lab at The London Cooking Project

A remarkable thing happened last week... I went to my very first supperclub. I don't know how or why it took my so long but I did it and will never look back again. 

It all began with Ferdie chefing my birthday party... many gin cocktail's into the night he kindly invited me and the Mr to his supperclub, not sure if he remembered but we were not going to miss the opportunity!

The food, as before, did not disappoint and a the company was a lot of fun. We were sat next to the hilarious duo behind the foodie boys blog, who reviewed the same meal here.

After quite a few glasses of wine, we started with pressed lamb cubes with a herby dip..

Followed by that delicious beetroot cured salmon I had on my birthday, and delightful 'green bombs' that came with a delicious Asian salad...

But we both agreed that the rose veal cutlets stole the show with their melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and gentle beefy flavour... 

Other than the great food and company, the best thing about supperclubs is the bring your own booze, allowing you to drink some pretty fine wines for the price of a house white in a restaurant.

Despite the foodie boy's (and Vivino's) claims, our Hugel et Fils 2013 Reisling far surpassed their Asda quaff though I am no stranger to a wine bargain... For the boys,  Asda's Marques de Concha Chardonnay is a favourite of mine and currently on rollback.

All in all, a wonderful first supperclub experience and a definite start of more to come..

Foodie boys, perhaps we can found our own food fight club, starting with Twinny Feast in East Asia. Elle will come too. Shiso up for it, miso ready, yuzu guys are in trouble...

Monday, 29 August 2016

Available for Hire: Ferdie's Food Lab

I first met Simon (a.k.a. Ferdie) when I was trawling through grubclub looking for a chef to host my birthday. As soon as we spoke, he won me over with his humour and down to earth style, focusing on bold flavours and sharing dishes. 

We began designing a menu together right away and settled upon five savoury courses leaving me to come up with dessert.

The food was fantastic and I had so much fun I forgot to take proper photos (always a good sign)... But here are some of the highlights...

My very own thrifty table decorations consisting of a £2 tube of gold acrylic, three £1 pineapples and leaves from the garden!

Incredibly delicious Vietnamese carrot salad with Thai basil and shredded chicken. So so good

Beetroot cured salmon with horseradish parfait and orange candy

Slow cooked pigs cheeks in a crackling crumb served with a herb and lime sauce and afghan bread

Pork loin with a passion fruit gravy 

My birthday cake (as in I made it - sad, I know), a dense chocolate and hazelnut cake served with milk ice-cream

My photography skills rapidly deteriorating...

Simon was great fun to work with and utterly recommended. If you don't have any private parties coming up, you can eat his marvellous food at the London Cooking Project in Battersea. I went for the first time last week and had an excellent time getting (too) drunk and eating incredible food. Review of that coming soon...

Sunday, 21 August 2016

New Opening: Kisetsu

Cute panda spoons!

Last week marked the launch of Kisetsu, the chef's table at Sosharu. The offer is simple, book for a ten-course omakase ('I'm in your hands' in Japanese) and hope for the best.

Omakase basically means the chef cooks whatever he feels like each day, it means throwing caution, dietary preferences and quite a bit of money to the wind... but, when the man on the other side of the table is Alex Cracuin, you feel very reassured. 

After a year sous-chefing at Pollen Street Social, he spent a year training in Japan before the opening of Sosharu. His skill and passion for Japanese simplicity and precision came through beautifully in everything we ate.

The first dish was a rich mushroom broth, topped with a silky tofu cream, this was followed by a delicately seasoned tuna tartare topped with top quality Russian Beluga, encased in a wafer flower.

Next was a somewhat strange but authentically Japanese savoury set custard favoured with fresh crab meat and exquisitely packed shiso flowers from a remote Japanese village. This was garnished with proper Japanese wasabi, ground to a paste on a shark-skin board.

Then came a chicken broth like no other, potent but pure, flavoured with chicken necks which, apparently, hold the most flavour. This came with a chicken liver and frois gras parfait piped between attractive beetroot discs. Perfection!

Next came the assorted sushi starting with a hand-dived scallop shot, and followed by lightly blow-torched salmon. Then there was the battle of the tuna, with a lightly rice-smoked sweet soy dressed akami (lean tuna) followed by the deliciously fatty otoro (belly) cut. 

On a similar theme, we next ate temaki consisting of mayonnaise-dressed cobia tartare wrapped in paper thin sheets of cucumber. A refreshing mouthful somewhat reminiscent of a really great kebab.

Then, perhaps the highlight, the Kobe beef course. Thin slices of heaven topped nigiri made from aubergine, rice and then pickled cabbage, to be dipped in a pedigree breed of chicken's deep orange egg yolks. 

If that wasn't enough luxury for one evening, our next course was, of course, lobster, with an incredibly potent, bisque-y rice. Delicious.

Then onto pudding, the intriguingly named, water mochi, which turned out to be a beautiful jelly bubble flavoured with aromatic distilled water, cherries and a peanut crumb. This was served with a Japanese street snack in the shape of a fish that tastes a bit like freshly made waffles. And finally (as if any meal is complete without at least two puddings) a medley of foraged berries and blue-berry sorbet.

Now it wouldn't be fair to end this review without paying homage to the comedy double act of the chef and sommelier, Suzuki, who generously plied us with carefully matched Sake all night. This included an unusually wine-like sake called red turtle and a vintage Fuji Shuzou that tasted of toasted barley.

The meal was one of the best I've had in London and a very memorable experience. As chef's tables go, it's pretty amazing value to be one of eight sat around the chef as he explains and prepares each dish in front of you. I wouldn't hesitate to go back and am already looking for the next special occasion to justify it. 

Bookings are by email only: reservations@kisetsulondon.com