My London Supperclubs by Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express:
What better to do in the face of Brexit than fight back with food? Asma Khan, of Darjeeling Express, is doing just that by launching a series of international supperclubs to celebrate the cultural and culinary diversity that is London today. London has been Asma’s home for the last 25 years and she herself is well known as the hostess and chef behind Darjeeling Express, one of London’s leading supperclubs.
“I hope those coming to these supperclub events,” says an excited Asma, “will enjoy breaking bread with other Londoners and recognise that the heart of this city is made up of people of all backgrounds, religions and ethnic origins. It will be a very uplifting experience – for those cooking and also the guests – just the kind of thing that makes London so amazing- the rich mix of people, the quirky, the exotic and the eccentric! We have much to celebrate in this beautiful city- the food is definitely world class. If you walk into any kitchen, whether it’s the grandest of Michelin starred restaurants or a humble café, the chances are you will find people working in the kitchens of all nationalities and by having this event, we want to celebrate the contribution of all these people who have made London their home.”
If you haven’t been to a supperclub before, expect something QUITE different to a restaurant meal with food that is no less fabulous but usually closer to the kind of thing you might find served up if you were lucky enough to know a real gastronome who enjoyed entertaining at home. Those running supperclubs are almost always experts in their own style of cuisine and it’s a great way to really get to understand a diverse range of culinary traditions.
Supperclubs are also generally friendly affairs. You may find yourself sharing a table and it’s often a good way to get to meet new people who share a love of food. Best of all, 68 and Boston who are hosting the events offer all their wine for £20 a bottle, so you’ll be able to drink well and eat well for a song. I’m going, on the 2nd of September because a friend of mine, Manjiri is cooking and it is the first opportunity I’ve had to try her supperclub food, Bombay Kitchen. I’m exciting and thrilled – I know her food is authentic – she’s the person I drag along when I want advice on Indian food and I’ve followed her blog Travels for Taste so I’m quite familiar with her recipes. But there are plenty more evenings I’d like to go along to so who knows I may well end up going back for more!
My London Supperclubs – Dates Confirmed:
Filipino Supperclub – Friday 12th August
To be hosted by The Adobros, Mark and Mike. Offering up their take on the Filipino food they grew up with, the brothers will be serving their classic Adobo Chicken Wings (a twist on the Filipino national dish), Beef Short Rib Kare Kare (a dish said to have originated in the Muslim South of the Philippines), and Sans Rival (a celebration cake that became popular during the Spanish colonial era) – a menu that reflects the rich diversity of food and culture in the Philippines.
Asma Khan, Darjeeling Express, Calcutta Supperclub – Saturday 13th August
Asma will be making Fish Malaikari which is usually served in Bengal (unlike the usual tradition of cooking fish with mustard, fish malaikari is cooked in coconut milk). The other mains will be the classic Bengali Goat Curry – Khosa Mangsho. The dessert will be steamed Bengali caramelised yogurt.
East Asian Supperclub – Saturday 27th August
Shu Han Lee, Jason Ng and Cherry Smart (all three are well-known supperclub chefs) The three chefs are collaborating to present their take on East Asian street food with the menu featuring a combination of Singaporean and Hong Kong dishes like Chwee Kueh (rice cakes with preserved radish), Stuffed Chicken wings and Pumpkin Cake.
Mauritian Supperclub – Wednesday 31st August
Hosted by supperclub chef Selina Periampillai. The menu will reflect French, Creole and Indian culinary traditions. Dishes will include Slow Cooked Mauritian Lamb Cari, Rougaille Ti Pois, Pilau Rice, Zasar Pickle and Salad.
Club Lola’s Italian supper club – Thursday 1st September
British chef Lola is pairing her cooking skills with a passion for European cuisine to create an Italian-inspired evening. The menu will feature British and European twists on traditional Italian dishes – such as charred spiced polenta, and rhubarb and amaretto tiramisu – for a celebration of flavours, cultures and really good grub!
A Taste of India “Friends and Food” Supperclub – Friday 2nd September
A culinary journey of three different states with hosts Chintal of ChinsKitchen, Manjari Chitnis of The Bombay Kitchen and Rinku of Raastawala. Each dish at the supperclub will represent one of the states of India – Kolkata, Gujarat and Maharashtra with items including Daab Chingri (king prawns delicately prepared in coconut gravy), Caramelised Coconut and Banana along with Strawberry and Chocolate Gol Guppa.
Australian Fusion Feast Supperclub – Saturday 3rd September
Michelle Francis from Scratch Suppers and Food Walks, uses fresh and zingy South East Asian flavours to pimp traditional European produce. Slow cooked duck for instance is braised in a Chinese masterstock but gets a European twist as it’s served on a bed of soft polenta, finished with a peppered peach. East also meets West in the pairing of the kaffir lime and lemongrass ‘soupette’ which is served with a feta, raisin and cumin seed cigar.
Modern British Supperclub – Wednesday 7th September
Hosted by Naomi Knill Jassy Davis, who will be presenting a Modern British Autumn menu with a bevy of tempting dishes such as Cured Sardines, Rye, Beetroot & Labneh along with Sourdough Crackers, Cheese, Pickled Gooseberries.
Calcutta Street Food Supperclub – Thursday 8th September
Angus Denoon- the Scottish born “Jhalmuri Express” will be serving Calcutta street food. Angus is a London institution- he rarely hosts an organised event and prefers to travel around London with his cart where he makes Jhal muri – a street food which is a mix of textures and tantalising flavours. Angus is going to serve a mix of street foods at his event.
Czech Us Out Supperclub – Friday 9th September
That’s right, you read it right! The event is indeed called “Czech Us Out” with South Indian food expert Kanthi Kiran Thamma and his Czech team who will present their take on fusion South Indian and Czech food. This is probably the first time ever that these two very different cuisines have been fused in an attempt to prove that ‘food is one universal language and has no borders or limitations’.
Russian Revels – Saturday10th September
Russian Soul Food – the Russian Revels cook food from the ‘New East’ – from the Baltics via Moscow to Georgia, drawing on their roots but often inspired by the culinary world of this great city! Sample dishes for the evening include Borsch-in-a-Pie and a heartwarming Mushroom Soup with Sour Cream.
Cameroon Supperclub – Monday 12th September
The cuisine of Cameroon is one of the most varied in Africa. Food is as varied as its cultures, with over 300 ethnic groups having one or more local dishes, which may have similar variations eaten in other parts of the country. Matango Supperclub celebrates just that; whether on its most traditional; contemporary or fusion way. If you have never tried Cameroonian food, don’t miss out, the food is as tasty and spicy as a hot summer on your skin. Dishes on the evening will include Cassava & Banana “beignets” served with a selection of mild to very spicy dips, Smoked Chicken, slow cooked in peanut soup , served with steamed rice and for one of the desserts, Mango Sorbet served with crunchy caramelised coconut balls.
Jewish & Muslim Supperclub – Tuesday 13th September
A wonderful collaboration of three wonderful and passionate home cooks – Medeia Cohan, Masarat Daud and Hajera Menon. All three are cooking dishes which are classic home comfort food in their families. The evening will also feature a couple of speakers at this dinner of both traditions who will talk about the ties that bind both these faiths – food.
Nigerian Supperclub – Wednesday 14th September
Hosted by home cook Nana Fatimah Ogunfemi. Nana will be making Nigerian street food – she will be making both sweet and “akara” (savoury) puff with two soups. Egusi and Banga Soup and a choice of grain meal (pounded yam or tuwon rice) as well as some northern Nigerian drinks called Zobo and Kunun Aya and Kunun Zaki.
Indian Seasonal Vegetarian Supperclub – Thursday 15th September
Hosted by none other than Asma Khan of Darjeeling Express – Asma will be cooking vegetables the traditional Indian way- using local vegetables in season. All the vegetables in the mains will be British grown and as much as possible organic. The different variety of vegetables in season will include beetroot, cabbage, courgette, aubergine and apricots. The rice is a classic home comfort dish – Tehri. We will also be making Bengali Beetroot Chops, Hyderabadi Baghare Baigan, Kala Channa Kofta and Courgette Bhaji.
Moroccan & French Supperclub Collaboration Friday 16th September
Moroccan with French collaboration (these are all parents of a Kensington Primary School, Bousfield Primary school getting together and cooking- there are two professional chefs in that group!) The mains will be Lamb cous cous cooked in the old fashioned way and dessert will be Sahara Dates stuffed with almond paste
Burmese Supperclub – Saturday 17th September
The Rangoon sisters Emily and Amy Chung will be cooking a superlative array of food. Sample dishes on the menu include Ohn no Kaukswe – coconut chicken noodles, one of the most popular dishes in Burma. A rich, gently spiced coconut milk broth with noodles, chicken and several additions that you add yourself, such as egg, chilli, fish sauce, coriander, crispy noodles and lime. There’s also Lahpet Thoke – Pickled Tea Leaf Salad.
Which one will you pick? I’m finding it hard to choose from this stellar list of London supperclubs!
Venue: 68 and Boston
5 Greek St, Soho, London W1D 4DD
Date: Friday 29th July – Saturday 17th September 2016
Bookings for all individual supperclubs are via Edible Experiences