Last night was one of those rare occasions where being sober on the periphery of pissed-ness was as entertaining as getting goosed amidst a group. By 11pm we were down to a couple of pockets of relative revelry, the two gents who had enjoyed a late-ish dinner politely refusing to be distracted by the racket emanating from the Ben Sherman boys and their new-found friend.
These were some of the worst Michael Caine impressions I’d ever heard. Including my own. Short of “stop frowing….dose bladdy spears…at me”, we were bouncing back and forth between an x-rated paraphrasing of his best known bit from the Italian Job, and an interpretation of something he (if he was in fact Ray Winstone, not M.C.) may or may not have said as Alfred in one of the new Batman films. It was marvellous to watch, not least because P had only tentatively stuck his card behind the bar on arrival but left having signed off on quite a few; those nights you don’t see coming remain among the best you can have. Their new mate Simon, it turns out, besides being the unabashedly balls out, gin-charged purveyor of the worst (and bluest) impression round the table, has been saving his best for Supper Club.
Supper Clubs, you’re probably aware, are the gastronomic equivalent of a rave and have been springing up across town with unlawful regularity over the last couple of years. Privately hosted evenings at addresses only disclosed (to first timers at least) at the eleventh hour, they’ve amassed a vaguely bohemian, B.Y.O. following of folks looking for quirk quotient and quality without coughing through the nose. With the price per head amounting simply to a “suggested”, tax-dodging donation, these pop-up dinner parties thus succeed in sailing under the radar and, at the same time, illicit excitement among those that lean liberally to the left and who, by their very attendance, are made to feel as if they’re doing something naughty.
Anyway, Simon’s supper club, Fernandez and Leluu, goes down every few days at the Hackney home he shares with Designer partner Uyen Luu. Catering to up to 30 people at a time and drawing on various food themes, each event features a menu comprising of up to seven courses, with this week’s card including a Pork and Shrimp Wonton Soup, Poached Pears and Prosciutto, Paella, and a palette rinsing Coconut Sorbet. What is apparent from their homepage is their passion for food, a flair for presentation, and the fact they seem to be, to borrow a word from the operation’s assistant Head Chef, fucking good at this. Also apparent is an awareness that these dinners aren’t only for social animals – you can opt to sit alone if you’d rather. One gets the feeling though that the best experience is to be gained by getting stuck right in. If you want something to talk about, you can start by engaging your neighbour on your hosts’ taste in interiors. Something about the success of these two, however, suggests the venue is more than part of the equation.
It feels only right now to find out for myself what all the fuss is about. A pub it ain’t, I know, but you know just as well that if it involves food and booze, I’m in. There are spaces tonight….
For details of how to book follow the above link or go to http://www.fernandezandleluu.co.uk