Welcome to The London Foodie
Reviews of London's Restaurants, Supper Clubs and Hotels, Wine Tastings, Travel Writing, and Home to the Japanese and French Supper Clubs in Islington
For the latest food events, restaurant openings, product launches and other food and drink related news, visit the sister site The London Foodie News
Saturday, 5 March 2011
I recently visited Shelley's supper club in Holland Park. I had heard great reports from other supper club hosts regarding the Nomad Chef, and was pleased to finally meet Shelley and try her cooking.
Set in a beautiful garden flat on a residential street in lush Holland Park, the Nomad Chef dinners take place in her spacious conservatory, with room for up to 22 diners.
The flat is in a Victorian building, and is tastefully decorated with elegant artwork scattered around the main rooms. The modern open-plan kitchen looks out both to the reception room where the guests arrive and mingle with an aperitif and canapés, and the conservatory in which they are seated for dinner.
I was intrigued to see Shelley's menu for the day, and pleased to see a strong influence of Central and South America with items like garlic soup, ceviche and tamales.
As the guests arrived and mingled in the reception room, we were served a canapé of "Spicy Okra", served in paper cones with a chilled glass of Prosecco. The okra was deep fried in a lightly spiced batter. It was crisp and delicious, and I kept going back for more. I am sure I had more than my fair share but Shelley didn't seem to mind!
As we were seated, we were served a flavoursome "Sopa de Ajo" (Garlic Soup). With a intensely rich garlic flavour, the soup was enriched with cubes of fresh tomato and avocado and cheese. It was comforting and refreshing, with fresh citric flavours.
To accompany, we had "Swordfish Ceviche". Thought to be of Peruvian origin, it is made from cubed raw fish pickled in lime juice, served with a variety of vegetables according to which version is being made. Shelley served it attractively in crisp pastry cases.
For the main course, we had a selection of small delectable morcels. These included "Chicken Parcels" - these were well seasoned, and moist having been steamed in baking paper parcels; "Stuffed Courgettes" with rice; the star dish was the "Mushroom Tamales". A combination of flavoursome mushroom and cornmeal steamed in maize leaves, these were dainty and delicious.
For dessert, we were served "Orange, Ginger, Cranberry Steamed Pudding". The aromatic pudding was served with sour cream, and was a suitably warming end to a winter's evening.
The Nomad Chef Supper Club is BYO and charges no corkage. On arrival, Shelley served her guests a glass of a deliciously chilled Prosecco on arrival at no extra cost.
Originally from the USA, Shelley has lived in London for many years. She is a very open, charismatic and thoughtful host, and will go the extra mile to make her guests feel welcome.
Our table had a mix of interesting people of different nationalities and background. Lovely May from Slow Food Kitchen accompanied me and Dr G. We also shared our table with an English yoga instructor (Shelley's late son's best friend), a German translator and a Norwegian financier.
Cost: £30 per person, plus £1.40 booking fee with EventsBrite.
Likes: great cooking, interesting mix of people, elegant setting, very charming host.
Dislikes: I left feeling that main course portions could have been a little bigger, or that seconds might have been offered.
Verdict: The Nomad Chef is another interesting and cosmopolitan addition to the London’s supper club scene, and is one of very few in West London. I loved Shelley's cooking, her warmth and endearing personality. Highly recommended.