Friday Food Club
Blackheath, London SE3 9JN
- Blackheath Rail Station (0.2 km)
- Kidbrooke Station (1.1 km)
- Contact us:
- Opening hours:
Fortnightly supper club on Fridays and Sundays
4 reviews of Friday Food Club in English
Please refer to http://hungryinlondon.com/2010/10/friday-food-club-supper... for some pictures as well
The Friday Food Club is fantastic. You have to imagine it like one of these posh dinner parties that you thought you would be invited to all the time when you are grown up and (at least in my case) never actually seem to be taking place (or seem to be taking place without me).
Lee & Fiona are a lovely and gorgeous couple, both have a full time job and do their supper club as a hobby but also to raise money for charity. Lee, a trained chef and now working for a PR agency, is in the kitchen and creates beautiful food while Fiona is the perfect hostess. They made us feel very welcome and I felt like I would know them for ages. They live in Blackheath in South London (which I was surprised to find out is a lovely area) in exactly the apartment I would like to have when I am finally grown up and invited to posh dinner parties. The flat is in a historical building with high ceilings and is decorated with a lot of taste. The tables are layed in a cozy living room for around 15 people and one would probably be able to force more people in, but at the Friday Food Club everything is about style and making your guests feel special. We even got a printed out menu as a place mats.
I was very happy to start the evening with a complimentary glass of excellent Prosecco Riccardo. In fact it was not only a glass as we could share a whole bottle of prosecco between the four of us. Good start I thought! The tables were set with white table cloth, beautiful wine glasses and even the tap water looked great, in a glass jug together with fresh mint, orange and lemon.
The amuse bouche was too substantial to be called appetizer, but it should really not have been any smaller as it was great. The perfectly cooked quail sunny-side up rested on a piece of toasted baguette. This was accompanied by a paprika sauce and chorizo (I am usually not a big fan of chorizo but this one was delicious) and a seriously hot little green chili. The combination of these ingredients worked very well indeed.
Then there was a problem with the sweetcorn soup which was supposed to be served with plaice fritters. Lee explained to us that he had not been happy with the quality of the plaice he had bought, so he served the soup without the fish. It was nevertheless nice and warming and I really liked the hint of curry.
I had quite a few disappointing chicken dishes recently but Lee's main was truly excellent. The ballotine of chicken filled with more chicken and herbs was incredibly succulent and harmonised so nicely with the curly cale, the Dauphinoise potatoes and the bacon. (apologies for this picture, in real it looked VERY GOOD and I have ordered a new camera, these kind of pictures should soon be a thing of the past!)
Highlight after highlight, we then received the cheese course... look at these 2 big pieces of cheese, this was for only four of us! The Stilton was good while the French stinky one (whose name I can't remember) was heavenly, perfectly ripe and runny and so good!
Now the dessert in form of 'harvey's lemon tart' which Lee made after a recipe of Marco Pierre White. I am sure however, that not even Marco could have done a better job here. Lemony and light it was a due end of an excellent dinner. From the time we got first the limoncello and then the Irish coffee my memory starts to become slightly blurry..
We missed the last train home at 11:30 (15 pounds to London Bridge by cab just to let you know) and emptied another couple of bottles of wine with the lovely people we met at the Friday Food Club. And when I woke up the next morning with a monster hangover my day was (at least partly) saved by the muffin that we got as a good bye present. They are sold out until Christmas, I don't think I will survive that long without my perfect dinner party...
For pics see Greedy Diva @ http://greedydiva.blogspot.com/2010/09/friday-food-club-b...
Allow me to cut to the chase: the Friday Food Club is brilliant.
This terrific little supper club is run by Lee and Fiona Behan from their rather funky apartment in Blackheath. Formerly the GPO film studios and an art hall, the building has now been converted into apartments with high ceilings, huge ornate windows and (in the case of Lee and Fiona's apartment, at least) ritzy furnishings. This is a supper club with all the trimmings.
Lee Behan is a classically trained chef, while Fiona is the gorgeous, bubbly, front of house personality. They opened their doors in January 2010 and since then, it seems, have mastered the art of utter professionalism, while keeping things relaxed and friendly.
They often host special events - recently, Mark Hix took over the kitchen and this week they're working with Dhruv Baker (winner of Masterchef 2010). The Peanut Gallery and I recently attended for an evening with Prosecco Riccardo, and a menu designed to match.
A very seasonal corn veloute seduces us into the evening like the glorious pink sunset we watch through the windows. Served in small, white espresso cups, it is sweet, mellow and simply sumptuous. It is paired with Riccardo's lovely Superiore D.O.C.G. Spumante Extra Dry which is not as dry as the name suggests. Its apple and pear characteristics work well with the corn.
A starter of pork, pistachio and apricot terrine is served with red onion marmalade. It's terrific. And also smart - for the first 2 courses, most of the prep work can be done before the guests arrive, so everything is timely and relaxed, while losing nothing to quality and taste. The D.O.C. Treviso Spumante Brut is a fabulous accomplice, balancing dried fruit and floral hints.
Cornish pollack is pan fried to perfection and served atop a creamed Prosecco sauce of smoked bacon, leaks and clams. This dish really shows Lee's skills. The pollack is transformed into a thing of luxurious splendour, basking lavishly in its luscious, creamy sauce.
This dish had an unusual partner - a still Prosecco, Riccardo Prosecco D.O.C. Treviso Vino Tranquillo (for "tranquil"). Made with 100% Prosecco grapes, this wine had all the apple and pear flavours of Prosecco but without the fizz. While the wine was popular with other guests, it seems I'm a bubbles girl to the end. I like the lift that the fizz gives the flavour in a Prosecco and felt it fell a bit flat without it. However, the wine matched well with the pollack and so perhaps is more of a food wine for me.
If anything tops the main, it is a pretty late summer berry prosecco jelly balancing elegantly on white chocolate set cream - a divine match of flavours, so light and delicate, this was an accomplished dessert of which any Michelin starred restaurant would be proud. It matches wonderfully with the Riccardo Cartizze Prosecco Superiore D.O.C.G. Spumante Dry - very dry and delicate.
We were even given a home baked muffin as a parting gift to munch on for breakfast the next day. No, I did not wash it down with Prosecco (but I thought about it).
Douglas of Intoxicating Prose and Riccardo Tomadin from the winery did a sterling job of educating and entertaining us about the wines throughout the evening. Riccardo Prosecco is the business of the Fornasier family, which has been growing grapes since the end of the 1800s. "Prosecco" is no longer a label that can be used by any wine made with Prosecco grapes - as a protected designation of origin, the grapes of a Prosecco wine must come from the north eastern Veneto region of Italy and meet defined standards of quality and production methods. The Conegliano Valdobbiadene region was recently promoted to D.O.C.G. status, which means the wines are subjected to the most stringent quality and production standards for Italian wines.
The Friday Food Club is normally BYO and I understand they will advise guests on the most appropriate wines to match their menu of the day. Tickets normally cost in the range of £26.50-£38.50, although this event was subsided by Prosecco Riccardo and so lucky guests experienced the joy for a bargainous £18.
Ultimately, as a supper club, it's hard to fault. The only draw back is the last train leaves from Blackheath station at around 11.20pm, just as you get the sense that the party is about to warm up. So think about booking a taxi, sit back, meet some new people and enjoy.
Friday Food Club - Pics at The London Foodie
Sometimes I am asked – what is your favourite supper club?
I find this a difficult question as every supper club is unique, and this risks comparing apples and pears. There are, however, certain qualities which I hope to see in any underground restaurant – and for me, it is the combination of these which make some supper clubs preferable to others.
The food is obviously paramount. Having a BYO policy with no corkage is also within the spirit of this movement. Location/decor certainly plays a role, as well as the friendliness of the host(s). Most importantly, diners should be able to interact because this is what differentiates supper clubs from restaurants. This is a tricky one to get right - a good seating plan is crucial. Diners also need to find a supper club best suited to them – some supper clubs will offer poetry readings, quizzes or cross-dressing performers and consequently will attract different demographics.
If you read my supper club reviews over the year, you will probably guess I have one or two favourites. But now I have found another – the Friday Food Club. This gem of a supper club has ticked all the boxes for me:
Set in the Blackheath Arts Club, a most elegant, Blue-Plaqued building in the heart of the village and only 50 metres from the railway station, this amazing building was home to an arts club, a film studio, and a hotel before being converted into the most stunning set of apartments.
Lee and Fiona’s flat is spectacular. It has a spacious dining/living area, high ceilings and large Gothic windows which provide a very dramatic setting to their supper club.
It is also beautifully furnished, containing some interesting and tasteful art work, an exquisite 1960’s chandelier and restful, indirect lighting. Fresh flowers and white linen adorn each table, giving a refined sensibility to the room.
We started the evening with a complementary glass of “Cremant de Loire” sparkling wine, and Lee’s delicious “Tapenade and Jade Bakery Bread”. I was very impressed by this as Boulangerie Jade is one of the finest bakeries and patisseries in South London, and their goods are priced accordingly. Having lived in Dulwich for many years, I used to go there whenever I was in Blackheath.
As an amuse bouche, we were served “Asparagus puree with deep fried quail eggs” – these were lovely. The quail eggs had been coated in bread crumbs and deep fried, yet the yoke remained yieldingly tender, and the fresh asparagus puree appeared to be a witty allusion to mushy peas.
Next we had “Potato soup with spinach, scallops and chorizo”. The scallops were diver caught and purchased from Borough Market that morning. They went really well with the combination of chorizo and spinach in this delicate potato soup.
The main course was “Spiced rubbed fillet of pork, served with Romesco sauce, paprika cauliflower & salsa verde”. The meat, from Ginger Pig, was beautifully cooked and very flavoursome.
I adore Romesco sauce but normally make it to go with fish or seafood. I was surprised to find how the acidity from the sherry vinegar and sweetness of the red peppers were the perfect accompaniment to the rich and tender pork.
As a “surprise” course, we were served a selection of British cheeses, biscuits and grapes. The cheeses included Cropwell Bishop Stilton, Llawnroc Brie and Ashmore Farmhouse. A cheese course makes any meal feel like a real occasion and Lee certainly managed that - his choices were excellent and it was a most enjoyable way of finishing off my glass of 07 St Emilion.
The “Frozen berries served with hot white chocolate and white chocolate and cardamom mousse” was a beautifully presented and creative dessert and as good as any I have had at Michelin starred restaurants.
To round off a most delicious meal, diners were offered filtered coffee, fresh mint tea or Irish coffee. I went for an Irish coffee with a generous dose of Irish whisky - it was superb.
As the evening came to a close, Lee and Fiona gave us a homemade “breakfast pear and ginger muffin” to take home. It was a lovely touch and a nice reminder on Saturday morning of the evening’s event.
Talking to Lee, I discovered that his grandfather was a cook with the British Navy and his father was also a chef. Unsurprisingly, Lee read Hospitality Management and is also a classically trained chef. His Irish partner, Fiona, does a great job as front-of-house at the supper club. They both have full-time jobs in the advertising industry.
The Friday Food Club started as a food blog in 2007 and developed into a supper club when in January 2010, Lee and Fiona decided to open their doors to the public.
Dr G and I were lucky to share our table with a delightful couple, John who is in IT and his fiancée Liz, a vet. We had many conversations about food, their impending wedding, and also about Orlando my ageing cat, and dogs Tofu and Truffle.
I was also pleased to see some familiar faces, like Jill Hodges of Cucina Cinzia and her husband Cedric.
Not only was there no corkage charge, but a complementary glass of “De Chanceny Cremant de Loire” was served on arrival. The Friday Food Club advises guests on the most suitable wines to match their weekly menus.
We took a bottle of Australian Viognier, and since many of us had no red wine for the pork, Lee kindly offered us all another complementary glass of 2007 Roc de Lussac, St Emilion (available in Sainsbury’s for £13.99), as well as a glass of “Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois” with dessert.
The beautiful carafes of still water, flavoured with lime and mint, were constantly replenished.
The Friday Food Club is in the process of securing a date with Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker for June 2010, Mark Hix is taking over the kitchen in July for a charity event and Richard Corrigan will be putting his spin on the supper club in October 2010.
Cost: prices vary from around £26.50 to £38.50 depending on the weekly menu - ours was £32.50 per person.
Likes: Unfussy but sophisticated British food with the best ingredients available, generous, friendly hosts, elegant setting.
Verdict: Lee Behan is putting good quality, sophisticated British food back on the menu. His cooking, attention to detail and generosity are inspiring. Clearly not motivated by profit, his supper club is a real gem and I cannot wait to return. Very highly recommended.
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