Eating London: a super {secret} supper club

Despite the dizzying diversity of eating options available in London it's very easy to get stuck in a rut and stick to the same old reliable places when it comes to choosing where to eat out. I recently realised my friends and I no longer even discuss where to go to eat we just automatically shlep to the same regular haunts whenever we think of getting a bite to eat, so I've decided to instigate a monthly foodie adventure in an effort to branch out. As a result of this three of us spent an extremely pleasurable Saturday evening eating our way through a great six course meal at Fernandez and Leluu, an underground restaurant in deepest darkest east London.

I'm not entirely sure when I first heard about the underground restaurant scene in London, but remember thinking the idea of talented home cooks running supper clubs from their front rooms was pretty intriguing, then I randomly stumbled across Fernandez and Leluu's blog run by software developer Simon Fernandez and Uyen Luu who's a designer and boutique owner. One look at the photos of their yummy looking grub and I immediately signed up to the mailing list to give it a try. Despite the fact that they are usually booked up months in advanced I managed to get lucky and score a table, so with a touch of trepidation and quite a lot of excitement we headed over to their secret location, buzzed the door and were met  by the lovely Uyen who showed us into her cosy candle lit flat which had been transformed to seat about 20 diners.

We cracked open a bottle of wine settled in and first course was sage and butter frogs legs which we'd been impatiently waiting to try ever since we caught sight of the menu. I'm basically a try anything once kind of girl in terms of culinary adventures, and more often than not it has stood me in good stead. I hadn't come across the opportunity to eat frogs legs before, so other than knowing it was meant to taste a bit like chicken (it did) I wasn't sure what to expect. What we got was a pile of meaty (thankfully not too froggy looking) legs, which were tender, melty and delicious. We stopped chattering and demolished the whole lot in a matter minutes, I then realised we'd scarfed the lot before I'd remembered to take a photo.

We were also served a shot glass of sake infused with sweet basil seeds with the frogs legs. Sweet basil seeds swell up slightly in liquid and look a little bit like frogs spawn- quite an amusing accompaniment to the dish, sounds hideous I know, and again forgot to take a snap but I assure you it was very nice. These tiny little black seeds are commonly used in various types of cold drinks in Asia and are said to have a cooling effect on the body. When I was growing up I remember my dad used to give me pink milk flavoured with rose syrup and little blobby basil seeds bobbing about in the glass, weird but yummy.

The next plate was simple salad of beetroot, red cabbage and goats cheese. The sweet beetroot and crunchy cabbage was tossed in a kick ass dressing which was studded with tiny shards of fiery red chilli which paired beautifully with the slices of cool creamy goats cheese. This was then followed with a delicious sweet potato tortilla (as in Spanish style omelette, not flat bread) served with meaty slices of octopus, and a warm fragrant squares of garlicy Turkish bread which was really addictive.

I was starting to wonder where exactly I was putting all this food, so far each and every plate had been wiped clean!

The next course was I think my favourite - glorious melt in the mouth cubes of tuna sashimi dressed with I think soy, orange juice, wasabi, ginger and spring onions and served with a little bowl of perfectly crispy 'Ferdie Chips' with a blob of wasabi mayonnaise for the chips. If I could have this dish everyday for lunch I would, it was easily the best sashimi I've had for years. I went to Tokyo a couple of years ago and ate a plate of ridiculously fresh sashimi at one of the market side cafes by the famous Tsukiji fish market, and I can honestly say this stuff was on a par if not better.

Next up was a squid and squash risotto, I was definitely flagging in terms of space left in the tummy by this point and although it was as yummy as everything we'd been served, a rice dish at this point of the evening sat quite heavily so I didn't mange much more than a small helping. That said, the squash was roasted perfectly, rings of squid tender without any trace of rubberiness and the rice well cooked, although my tiny personal complaint would be a preference to serve risotto a bit soupy with more sauce rather dryer as this was served.

Finally, many plates, many hours and many glasses of wine later we got to pudding which was a lovely slightly wobbly orange and vodka panacotta with a berry sauce. I was fearful of being unable to manage even a single bite as I was so full by this stage but, one creamy spoonful turned into two, then three... I mean look at it - how could you not?

These guys make the kind of food that puts a smile on my face. I'm so glad we had the chance to enjoy their hospitality and I'll definitely be going back for more, and in the mean time will probably try to recreate some of the dishes at home. I just might need to starve myself for a bit before the next time I visit to make sure I can fit it all in!


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