Perched on the fringe of the London foodie network I had heard about supper clubs for some time, so when my foodie friend Caviar Girl invited me to come along to a Japanese home cooking supper club at the home of The London Foodie Luiz Hara I wouldn't dare decline.
For my loyal readers; mum, sister, friends and people who land here via bounced google searches I best explain what a supper club actually is. It's simple really, ordinary people who ooze passion for food open their homes to cook for strangers. For me it was a much more enjoyable, trendier, less chavy version of Come Dine With Me, with amazing food next to people you not only want to be surrounded by, but actually find quite inspiring.
Having done a little twitter research on Luiz Hara, I thought I knew what to expect from my host and the evening however I was even more impressed to arrive at his beautiful home in north London, and be greeted by a team of professional volunteer wait staff with a tray of PomPom takoyaki and a g&t. We gathered in the lounge, chatted to our waiter and glanced excited looks at each other before we were led downstairs to the dining room to meet our host. Luiz was welcoming, kind, enthusiastic and above all a wonderful and generous host.
We were seated at the long, stylish canteen style dining table for our first course, pitan dofu. I'm going to be honest, the silken tofu topped with chopped century eggs, ginger, soy and sesame oil freaked me out a little. I'd not tried century eggs before but I'm not one to shy away when it comes to food. I tasted it and it wasn't at all bad.
Next was my favorite dish of the evening, salmon sashimi with wasabi soured cream and fried shallots. It was perfect, The balance of flavours was amazing, fish smooth and frightfully fresh with the unevenly cut pieces reminding you just how incredible this homemade dish was. As the next course came out Cavier Girl and I had to conceal our excitement... It was a Japanese hot pot. We are slightly obsessed with this style of dish, it's our go to comfort, girly catch up food. I've had good hot pot in China Town, Clapham and recently in Holborn but this cod and seafood nabe in a white miso and soy broth was by far the best I've tasted.
The courses that followed were of an equally delicious, innovate and impressive standard. Melt in your mouth pork belly with japanese radish (cooked for over 48 hours in a dashi and soy broth) accompanied by Japanese fried rice and Tamagoyaki (omelet) followed by aubergine dengaku, that we were delighted to hear was Luiz' own take on the dish. He had experimented after trying something similar in a restaurant near his home. After all of this we were gluttonously full, but still polished off desert - home made green tea, red bean and sesame ice cream.
The entire evening was an amazing experience, with outstanding food made with passion you could taste. Luiz is an amazing chef, and I do encourage everyone to try out his supper club. It is also worth a mention, that this man is so passionate about food that he lends him home out for Grazing Asia super clubs. @MalaysianByMay, we'll be at yours next.
Photos by Catriona Mills.