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Posts Tagged ‘underground restaurants in London’

roast Jerusalem artichoke at Tudor Road supper club

I’ve been avoiding the London underground supperclub scene. A couple of years ago, Jon and I ate at our first underground restaurant, Hidden Kitchen, in Paris. As much as I enjoyed the food there, the dining room was full of anglophone expats and tourists, and when on holiday in Paris, that was the last group I’d looked forward to socializing with.

Fair or not, our dinner at the Hidden Kitchen biased me against supper clubs as a whole, and so I’ve been perfectly happy sitting on the sideline and watching the trend blossom in London.

Last weekend, though, I went with a large group of celebratory friends to have dinner at Tudor Road, which, if you hadn’t heard from reading blog posts like this one and this one (or for a little mainstream action, this New York Times article), is the supper club run by ex-Noma chef and Jamie Oliver-doppelganger, Ben Greeno.

lightly-salted mackerel sashimi

Our dinner last Saturday almost didn’t happen. A week earlier, Ben had been ratted out by a neighbor and therefore could no longer hold supper clubs at his flat on Tudor road.

Rather than cancel our dinner, though, our chef-host teamed up with Victoria Park wine shop, Bottle Apostle, and so we spent our evening holed up in Bottle Apostle’s cellar, which happily has a kitchen.  Bonus of the evening:  Tom, a knowledgeable and friendly staffer at Bottle Apostle, acted as sommelier and created great pairings for us while charging only retail shop prices.  Here’s a format anyone could love, yes?

I mention the Bottle Apostle location because as of last Saturday, Ben told us he was unsure whether he’d continue with Tudor Road now that he’s lined up his next gig to start in January 2011.  Here’s hoping he keeps things running so you can get yourself a booking before he shuts down and moves on.

Now, without further ado — Highlights:

  • Meeting three new people at dinner that evening, all dedicated food and wine lovers, two from Malaysia and one from Denmark.  Isn’t London great?
  • Basking in the warmth and good cheer of a large group of friends.  Dining at Tudor Road really was like dining at someone’s house, particularly when Ben, his assistant, Gareth, and sommelier Tom joined us at the table for after-dinner coffee.
  • The silky texture of both courses cooked sous vide – the poached egg and lamb belly were gold-standard delicious.

Lowlights:

  • None, really, to do with dinner, per se.  Finding a way home late at night on a Saturday from somewhere near Victoria Park wasn’t ideal, though.  There was a minicab storefront down the street from Bottle Apostle, which was fine, in the end, but I’m not a fan of using unknown minicabs.

chicken wing, chicken heart and low-temperature-cooked poached egg

If I could’ve changed one thing about the otherwise-delicious poached egg course, it’d be to sub in a different offal.  The chicken heart was rather rubbery, whereas I’d been expecting something meaty and smooth (like liver, I suppose).

lamb belly cooked sous vide

The lamb belly meat was melt-in-your-mouth silky and rich.  So was most, but not all, of the lamb belly fat.  Overall, though, this course made me wish for an immersion circulator to call my own!

apples three (?) ways

Dessert course was intensely apple-y, and I loved how changing the shape of something changes your perception and expectation.  Here, I was surprised that the cylinders tasted like apple despite registering in theory that this was an apple course.  The apple crumbles reminded me of dessert at similarly-styled Le Chateaubriand in Paris.

petits fours - chocolate mousse, pistachios and meringue

This approximation of rocky rhode = mouthfuls of yum.

salted caramel truffles

Salty caramelized yum.

wines pairings thanks to Tom of Bottle Apostle

Overall, a wonderful experience for £40 a person (and just another £20 each for all those wine pairings).  Good cheer.  Excellent cooking.  Great value.  Maybe I’ll try out another London supperclub.

Tudor Road.  Undisclosed location.  Contact Ben Greeno via his blog, but as mentioned above, it’s unclear whether the supperclub will continue.

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