it’s been a weekend of firsts during my first weekend chilling on the solo tip in london, as my siamese twin chris is back in the states for a wedding. the never-been-done-before rundown:
1. my first halloween ball in may in the vaults under london bridge dressed as a corpse bride (let’s be honest, there may not be a second one of those).
2. my first time standing on the prime meridian of the world and touching a 4.5 billion year old meteorite at the greenwich observatory and planetarium. sweet.
3. my first secret supper!
i found out about salad club‘s pop-up dinner on a london food and drink blogger website, which has been a source of a few fun events and socializing since i moved here. all i knew was that there was an inaugural secret supper happening in brixton, so i decided to sign up last minute. a few hours before, i had an email with a location and a phone number to confirm. i chatted with the chefs – two friends named rosie and ellie – and was instructed to bring myself, a bottle of something, and money for a suggested donation. easy, especially since i happened to be right near greenwich market and had just met a really nice guy, morgan, who runs a specialty cider company. more about that sometime soon.
cider in hand, i made my way to the excellently named electric avenue in brixton just as the saturday market was breaking down and headed up a number of flights of stairs to be warmly welcomed by two girls about my age into a cozy, happy apartment. i was led by tasha and cat into the bright and airy room pictured at the top, which was set up with four small tables set with a charmingly mixed variety of tableware, pitchers of water, and tiny plates of olives. although some of my fellow food bloggers didn’t end up making it, i was soon joined by my dining companion for the evening, chris of cheese and biscuits.
i’m enjoying the food blogging connections i’ve made because there is ALWAYS something to talk about. what i’ve been eating. where i’ve been eating. things i should be eating. it’s a fantastic group to be tapped into in a new city and i’m super happy about it. while chatting, we perused the handwritten menu and an accompanying information sheet. i enjoyed the thoughtful touches like a cute box to leave your suggested donation, your own candles and matchbox, and good music on the ipod.
soon after, our first course arrived: a pair of thai pollock fish cakes with sesame, cucumber and carrots.
we poured the accompanying fish sauce on top and enjoyed the pickled carrots underneath. the fish cakes were very tasty – i noticed a slightly unexpected consistency that was a little eggier than the fish cakes i’m used to. upon perusing salad club’s blog, i noticed this post about making starchless fishcakes without breadcrumbs or potatoes. aha! random and totally unimportant question in the back of my mind now solved.
next up was a delicious trio of salads, as befitting a chef duo/food blog/secret supper called salad club. there was warm and subtly sweet roasted butternut squash with its seeds and little chunks of pancetta on arugula, which i really enjoyed, as well as a light and fresh sort of couscous with scallions, peas, and a few other greens.
one of the very nice and attentive servers, who both turned out to be flatmates of the chefs, brought around strips of pita bread and dished out spoonfuls of the third salad, a beet dish with sour cream, goat’s cheese, and a fantastically delicious and crispy chorizo. yum. the addition of the pancetta and chorizo added a nice element of flavor and heft to the really tasty but fairly lightweight salads.
the third course was my favorite: dessert! all nine diners got their own cute little espresso cup with a fabulously creamy and frothy white chocolate and cardamom mousse topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon. mmm. tasted like clouds of chai with the strong cardamom notes.
but it wasn’t over yet – there was a cheese course still to come! end-of-the-meal cheese courses, like double decker buses, on-the-street urinals, and good manners, are a much more common occurrence over here in the UK than in the states. i heartily approve (of the cheese..the urinals are a little weird). this one featured provolone picante (italian cow’s milk), queso de serra (portuguese sheep’s milk), and a french roquefort as well as an excellent homemade spicy tomato jam. i would eat that jam on lots of stuff – bread, eggs, pasta, a large spoon straight to the mouth – i’m not picky.
i really enjoyed getting a chance to chat with the support team of tasha and cat a bit (hope i got your names right) – we talked weird 80’s british tv shows for children and i got the story of the acquisition of tableware for eleven at a car boot sale and even directions to said car boot sale. i also enjoyed meeting our neighboring diners, abi and emily. abi writes a blog called foodrambler and is planning her own living-room supper club, which i just might help out with! i wish i had gotten more time to chat with the super cute and talented rosie and ellie, but they were obviously hard at work in the kitchen. i did sneak in to chat a bit and snap this photo during cheese course prep:
mmm. hello table of cheeeeeese. all in all, it was a really lovely evening. well done, ellie and rosie! as i know from personal bacon smackdown experience, it’s really hard for non-professional chefs to deal with timing and plating and serving and all that stuff for multiple people, especially strangers. but the food was delicious, the atmosphere was relaxed and homey, and i met lots of really nice people. thanks ladies…hope to share another meal sometime soon!