Underground supperclubs are like a little dip into the unknown. Unlike going to a restaurant, where you roughly know how the experience is going to pan out, going to a supperclub requires taking a big leap of faith. You’re essentially paying complete strangers money to eat a meal in their living room, sitting alongside other complete strangers. What could be weird about that?! Well...they could feed you revolting school dinners, bore you with their stamp collection or lock you in the basement. And much other worse things besides.
Thankfully, nothing like this occurred earlier this week when we visited a supperclub called Fernandez and Leluu, run by charismatic couple Uyen and Simon in their artfully decorated Hackney flat. We ate a generous spread of prettily presented and delicious Vietnamese dishes and chattered away to a very nice couple. M did scary sounding things with helicopters and oil rigs in his day job, and H once owned a wedding dress shop which she sold to a crazy woman who immediately burned it down for the insurance money. It's always fascinating meeting new people and hearing their stories – not something that is always easy to do in London.
This is what we ate:
Wide rice noodles with spicy sausage:
Pork terrine and pork spare ribs –ribs flavoured with (I think) star anise, and an interesting Vietnamese-style terrine that contained egg and glass noodles; much lighter than the traditional French version:
Prawn and squid paste on sugar cane – yummy sugar cane juice squirts out when chewed!
Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup) – fragrant and light with pieces of tender beef:
Chicken and lemongrass wrapped in vine leaves, with a citrus and fish sauce dip in shot glasses:
Coconut sorbet – absolutely delicious and light, just the right thing to end the meal:
The only slight thing that went wrong, though, was when I drunkenly wobbled out of the door to go home, and only realised the following morning that I had been wearing someone else’s denim jacket. I tried to wear it to work, and several steps out of my front door I realised it just didn't feel right...d’uh!
The rightful owner of the jacket will be reunited with it soon...meanwhile, my cheaper and vastly inferior denim jacket is being posted back by the lovely Uyen, who says that diners have left large quantities of umbrellas and scarves behind in her home. She probably has a special 'lost property' cupboard. Imagine if one day somebody left behind their wooden leg or glass eye - that's not as weird as it sounds, especially since someone lost their prosthetic leg at a music festival my husband N used to work at - it got handed into The Big Chill's Lost Property!
Fernandez and Leluu supperclub