We arrived to find a very relaxed and informal atmosphere with about 20 guests mingling and chatting to one another. This is one of the things I enjoy most about supperclubs like F&L, the opportunity to meet and chat with new people.
I soon spotted Gail (writer one of my favourite blogs “One Million Gold Stars”) & her partner Simon with whom I’d had great fun chatting previously at the Tsuru and Bangalore Express tastings organised by Qype. I also met the delightful Rejina AKA “Gastrogeek”, whose blog I admire and have followed for some time.
One of the great joys of the evening was sharing our table with Rosie who had bravely turned up on her own that evening. Rosie was a good sport and delightful company, and we all enjoyed having her with us that evening.
The opportunity for single people (and couples) to meet and dine with complete strangers has got to be one of the most important aspects of a supperclub and an advantage over any restaurant I can think of. For this reason (among others), I would have to disagree with those who think that supperclubs are passé and I hope that 2010 will prove them wrong.
We started the evening with warmed fresh bread and homemade pesto. I love making pesto at home, preparing many jars to last me through the winter as it freezes really well. Uyen’s recipe was very good, the pesto was dense with heaps of basil, parmesan and pine nuts.
The next dish was, in my opinion, one of the simplest but nicest dishes of the evening – “Salmon & Tuna Sashimi with Watercress Salad” and an “Orange, Soya & Mirin” dressing. I had experienced F&L’s sensational sauces at the Miss Saigon evening and this dressing was no exception – it was complex and complemented the salad and sashimi well.
The fish was from my local fishmongers Steve Hatt on Essex Road. I was impressed by this as Steve Hatt’s fish is very highly regarded for its quality & freshness but at premium prices.
We were then served a plate of deliciously al dente conchiglie topped with Uyen’s ragu sauce which had been slow cooked for hours. The flavours had developed well and I savoured every bit of it.
Before midnight struck an engagement was announced – we toasted the delightful couple Hamza and Natasha who will be tying the knot in 2010.
Soon after midnight, the main was served – “Roast Lamb & Chicken with Roasties and Carrots”. The meat was well seasoned and perfectly cooked, and potatoes were crisp and delicious. Comfort home food at its very best.
To round off the evening, we had “Orange and Vodka Pannacotta” with shavings of white chocolate and strawberry sauce. By this time, I was utterly sozzled and very happily full, but I still remember the flavours of this dessert – orange, cream and vodka – a combination I would have never imagined using but it worked very well and tasted delicious.
Verdict - As always, Simon and Uyen’s cooking was sensational, but it is the care and hospitality towards their guests (like good friends at a dinner party) and the warm and convivial atmosphere at Fernandez and Leluu that make this supperclub the best I have experienced in London. Highly Recommended.