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Sunday, 28 November 2010
"Inspired by Others, Executed by Us"
I love the concept of Stolen - the above phrase taken from their website says it all. Partners Mia and Leandro started their new venture in 2010, recreating the dining experience of high class restaurants at prices affordable to all.
Stolen is a Monday Supper Club, and on the evening I visited the theme was "Hix Oyster & Chop House". I was impressed by their attention to detail - knowing Mark Hix personally, Mia and Leandro were able to borrow some of the restaurateur's napkins, source the steaks from Jack O'Shea Butchers (his meat supplier), and also Hix's house white wine "Tonnix" by Quinta de la Rosa from the Douro. All the dishes for the evening were recreated from recipes by Hix's own cookbook.
Well, isn't imitation the highest form of flattery after all?
Located in a cool house in the Notting Hill/Holland Park area, the venue (not the hosts' home) is stylish and spacious with a beautiful back garden ideal for pre-dinner drinks in summer. Guests sit in the dining area with an open plan kitchen while Leandro and his assistant busily prepare the dinner. This in my opinion really adds to the experience at Stolen.
Stolen is one of the more intimate supper clubs in London seating a maximum of 15 guests. The house is a short and pleasant 10 minute walk from Holland Park tube station.
For starters we were served a platter of "Oyster Mary", large Irish Oysters purchased that morning from Billingsgate Market and topped with a delicious Bloody Mary granita. I enjoyed the unusual combination of alcoholic tomato juice and seafood in this starter and thought the presentation was also very pretty.
Following the oysters, we had a massive "rib-eye steak from Jack O'Shea" butchers, perfectly cooked. It was medium rare and very juicy, and served with matchstick chips, chop house butter, béarnaise sauce and various types of mustard.
After the large steak, I was pleased that the dessert was a light and refreshing shot of "Sloe Gin Jelly" served with "Sorbet and Jersey Cream" which ended the meal perfectly.
Stolen is BYO and no corkage fee is charged. On arrival, we were served a glass of 07 Tonnix by Quinta de la Rosa (Portugal, Douro). This wine was created by the winery in collaboration with Mark Hix, Mitch Tonks, and Tracy Emin for the interesting label.
I really enjoyed this wine, it had heaps of fruit, high flavour intensity (from the Douro summer temperatures), and with a good level of acidity. I felt it a nice touch that Stolen had sourced this delicious wine as most supper clubs do not give much thought to the wines they serve.
Mia Kulla, a half German half Japanese former model, quit the fashion industry to work in hospitality where she has earned her crust for the last 10 years. Leandro Santos, a fellow Brazilian, is a professional chef working at one of London's top restaurants.
Mia and Leandro were very friendly - they sat with us towards the end of the meal and mingled with all the guests. Mia was a very generous and attentive host, opening her own wine to ensure we all had something to drink even when the wine the guests had brought was finished.
Stolen also provides catering services and has a stall on Thursdays at Maida Hill Market from noon to 5pm. For more information on future supper club evenings, visit their website here.
Cost: Donations vary depending on the weekly menu. On this occasion, the recommended minimum donation was £30 per person. This is excellent value as a similar meal at Hix would cost around £50 for food (£12 oysters, £30 steak, £7 dessert), £27.50 for a bottle of Tonnix wine, and 12.5% service charge i.e. around £150 for two.
Likes: the concept is novel and having a supper club operating on Mondays is also a great addition to the scene. The food was made from top quality ingredients and expertly prepared, the hosts were charming and very friendly.
Verdict: Top restaurant-inspired menus/evenings at affordable prices cooked by professional chef Leandro Santos and girlfriend Mia Kulla. Stolen is a Monday supper club in leafy Holland Park, offering Londoners authentic restaurant quality food in more intimate and convivial surroundings . I love the concept. Highly recommended.