"She found me roots of relish sweet,
And honey wild and manna dew
And sure in language strange she said-
"I love thee true" La Belle Dame Sans Merci (John Keats)
Monday, 24 October 2011
Oh what a night!
Friday's supper club was a great success with everyone getting into the dress up spirit and a fantastic atmosphere throughout the evening. It was a high pressure service with much of the menu been served to order which if I say so myself is no means feat for 32 people. We started the evening with a fish and vegetarian ceviche amuse bouche. Latin American in origin these are a delicious combination of lime marinated fish or in the case of the veggie option, red onions combined with different combinations of red peppper, tomatoes, cucumber, & avocado. Heat is added by the addition of red or green chillies and finished off with fresh coriander. Guests commented on how delicious the halibut-based version was. Guests arrived dressed in an array of outfits to include hats, feathers, scarfs, lace gloves, cleavage themed dresses, wonderful billowing skirts, red lipstick, sparkling jewellery and of course heels and that was just the men. We, the staff ,were all dressed up in Burlesque outfits tottering prescariously around the kitchen in our heels. The starter included a roasted tomato basil soup but the majority opted for the king scallops , of course they would. I sourced these from Eddies famous fish market in Marchmont. They were a big hit and VERY stressful to cook and get out seared and not over cooked as they should be. BUT...judging from the feedback we did it. They were served with an onion and cream based puree, pancetta and leek matchsticks. We forgot about the lime sorbet so served that after the main course. This may give you an idea of the pressure on the service not helped by a mooile cooker deciding to burst into to flames at one point. Alan, my hubbie, took decisive action and threw it in flames out of the window. A neighbour thought we were having a fireworks display! The main course had a set of demands all to itself. We served the Ossoc Bucco with risotto and green vegetables in a lemon & mint butter sauce which again mostly had to be addressed at the point of service The vegetarian option was freshly made open lasagna with wild mushrooms & asparagus and a nage butter sauce (Nick Nairn - amazing flavours in this). And lots of little issues came up that you just cannot second guess. By this time, we had started to get used to the stress and things were coming together nicely. I like when the last main dish goes out as we can all breath a big sigh of relief. I tend to go out and speak to the guests at this point whilr the staff soldier on with the desserts. There were some fabulous guests to talk to and all seemed happy to be at the supper club and incredibly postive about the whole experience. Again, comments of my facebook page back this up. For desserts I served coconut cake, sticky gingerbread with fresh blackberry ice cream and sorbet and little strawberry tarlets with creme patisserie. My pate sable pastry was acceptable ( I always worry about my pastry) & scottish cheeses from Mellis cheese. . To finish we served coffee and petit fours. Everything on my menu is homemade from the rolls, to the stocks, to the pasta, ice cream, pastry, petit fours. All my menus are throughly researched and recipes compared before settling on the final choice. Cooking is a passion and the supper club a labour of love. It is FANTASTIC to get the kind of feedback and vindication I am getting from guests that it is worth going to this trouble. I believe it makes a difference. The same applies to the sourcing of good ingredients such as local eggs, meat, fish and so on. Supper clubs are different to restaurants. They are typically run by non professionals in their own homes and while we aspire to great service, good food and a good atmosphere, there is always the caveat that it is in your home and therefore meant to be more informal than a restaurant. Guests were able to talk to the staff and wander into and sit in the kitchen after service lending a real party atmosphere to the proceeedings. I really enjoyed this one and look forwad to the next. Sadly I failed again on recording the event properly due to a last minute cancellation by a photographer who had been lined up for the night. There was a certain lady taking photographs and I am hoping she may be generous enough to share some of them with me for this blog. If any other guests took phootgraphs and is willing to share them , let me know. Thanks to all staff and guests for sharing in my joie de vivre! Karen