For the past couple of years, as part of my mission to seek out new and interesting dining experiences, I have been going to supper clubs in London. This is basically where someone opens up their home and transforms it into a mini restaurant for the night, and in exchange for a donation you are thrown together with other like-minded intrepid diners to enjoy a meal in a complete strangers living room. You get to hear about these places mainly by word of mouth, the best places flourishing though their good reputation and ending up over-subscribed every night.
The first supper club that I went to, back in late 2009 was Fernandez and Leluu in Hackney, shortly after they first started running. The food was fantastic, with the two chefs showcasing the best of their Vietnamese and Spanish heritages. I have tried several other supper clubs since, but always kept coming back to F&L every few months for the reliably excellent food. Uyen, the Vietnamese half of the pairing has gone solo now and still runs the supper clubs from her flat, along with numerous other projects such as a Vietnamese cookery class, that I persuaded Jon to try out with me yesterday.
We spent the afternoon in Uyen's kitchen preparing and eating some of my favourite dishes such as Beef Pho, Bo La Lot (spicy beef in Betel leaves) and braised pork belly in cider and coconut juice. We learnt the proper way to balance all the elements of our dishes, and how to wrap the perfect summer roll. We also took a trip to the nearby Vietnamese supermarket, where I was able to stock up on all the essentials to recreate the dishes at home. It was a great afternoon, lots of fun and I definitely feel confident enough now to cook Vietnamese food for my next set of unsuspecting friends who come to visit! You can find out more about the cookery class and the supper club here: Love Leluu