I have been lucky enough to be get six supper club invitations, courtesy of a competition run by Codorniu Wines and the Culinary Guide. Although supper clubs have been popular for a couple of years now, I’ve never been to one before so I was really excited when the first event was booked. Shacklewell Nights, a collaboration between Claire Roberson and Jonathan Woolway are doing a week’s residency in Canary Wharf as part of the Restaurants in Residence event (there are other supper clubs throughout the month too) and it seemed like an ideal opportunity for a West London girl to try without venturing into the wilds of Dalston where this particular supper club is normally based.
I took a friend of mine with a strong interest in food and drink, another supper club virgin! We arrived at the venue, a disused office building and went up to the third floor for cocktails before the meal. The place was laid out for about 6 tables of 8 – rather more than most of the supper clubs and had been ‘restaurantized’ with candles, white tablecloths and napkins, and the tables dressed with boards of brown bread, butter and bowls of fresh peas in the pod.
Our table was a mixed group of people and at least part of the fun of the event was meeting new people who enjoyed food and wine. We munched our way through the fresh peas and picked out wines. Claire was very much in evidence, checking that everyone was happy and giving a bit of background about Shacklewell Nights and the Sommelier was very helpful and knowledgeable. There was an option to have a flight of wines selected for you, but we decided to mix and match our own selection.
The first dish, Roast Tomato, Bobby Bean & Berkswell Cheese, arrived on two large sharing platters. We were ALL new supper club attendees and there was a bit of hesitation as people tried to work out how much it would be reasonable to take! It was, however, very moreish, a lovely mix of full, fresh flavours so it didn’t take long for some of us to go back for second helpings!
Next on the menu was Brown Shrimp, Cucumber & Chervil. My photography is just not that good and what should have been a lovely shot of a plate of tiny, tender brown shrimps mixed in with chunks of cucumber and chervil has turned out to be one of the tablecloth! Ah well, it tasted fabulous.
The main course arrived as three very large chunks of lamb garnished with first season carrots. The meat was slow cooked so that it was exceptionally tender and only needed the serving spoons to cut it. I was, however, was grateful that someone at the table seemed to be rather more capable than me of dissecting and serving it out! The slow cooking made for deep, rich flavours complemented perfectly by the sweet carrots. My piscatarian friend had the goat curd and courgette dish and looked more than happy.
There had been some amusement at the table about a menu with two desserts. Our peach sorbet with elderflower and schnapps was lovely, light and refreshing and very welcome after the richness of the lamb. The finale of Summer Berries, Meringue & Cream rounded off a great evening. The overall effect, despite around 50 diners was of a rather excellent home cooked supper, where a lot of the ingredients came from the fruit and vegetable garden that afternoon.
Lovely! Thanks to Codorniu and The Culinary Guide, I have another five supper clubs to go to and I am really looking forward to them now! If you want to try Shacklewell Nights yourself, they are at Canary Wharf for few more days and you can book online here. Or if you miss Restaurants in Residence, there are more events planned, contact them via the Shacklewell Nights site