Tuesday, 6 July 2010
Anyone who's into supper clubs in London knows about Fernandez & Leluu. Simon and Uyen host a supper club at their home (mystery location) on a regular basis, and have obtained quite some acclaim for it. They even played host to the Grand Daddy of Supper Clubs, Jim Haynes, a few months back.
So when I received an invitation mentioning (1) free flowing Laurent Perrier champagne, (2) at a picnic (sponsored by Ryvita), (3) scheduled for a sunny day at the Henley Regatta, with (4) the great Fernandez & Leluu in charge of the food, I dove straight into my wardrobe to fossick for the nearest below-the-knee frock. (Truthfully, they had me at "champagne".) I emerged some time later, covered in dust but triumphant. Finding comfortable, yet suitably glamorous, shoes with heels which would not poke stiletto sized holes all over the royal lawns of Henley was quite another matter.
Anyhoo, to the food.
I'm just loving this season of sunshine, picnics and BBQs. Fernandez & Leluu excelled themselves with a picnic that had random passers-by stopping to take snaps. It certainly put the surrounding picnics (comprising a few packets of crisps and a tub of hummus) to shame. Northern Rock oysters were freshly shucked and served with lemon and Tabasco to taste - although so rich and creamy were they, that I sucked them up in all their naked, voluptuous glory.
Gigantic Wild Madagascan Tiger Prawns boiled on a neighbouring stove top were also a show stopper, as were lavish chunks of fresh Yellow Fin line caught tuna sashimi (with spring onion in a light, sweet Japanese soy sauce) accompanied by bulging plates of samphire. Seafood was sourced from Fin and Flounder, an independent fish monger on Broadway Market. Cheeses, pates, rillettes and hams (largely sourced from Broadway Market) were loaded up on a never ending supply of Ryvita snacks and fresh breads, and served F&L's potato salad (enough to feed a large army). A hefty platter of red and yellow cherry tomatoes with mozzarella and basil was another refreshing summer plate. If you like the look of the snazzy blue and white plates, they were kindly supplied by Cornishware for the event.
In between helpings, we feasted on colourful bowls of cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes and flat peaches.
I'm a big fan of anything I can lather in butter and Vegemite, and usually this is where my relationship with Ryvita snacks begins and ends. But their new range of crispbreads were on show for us since our picnic was located at the Ryvita stand - we sampled several flavours including a sweet Fruit Crunch variety (which matched well with cheese) and my favourite, the Sweet Onion which went marvelously with some excellent smoked salmon (by Donald Russell) and cream cheese.
Simon had poached some pears in champagne (magnificent with cheese) while Uyen had burned the midnight oil perfecting a gorgeous, layered Cointreau and berry trifle served in glasses at the end of the day. Violet's Curd (of the Hatcham Supper Club) also made some lemon curd cupcakes which I wanted to try all day, but somehow had my snout so far down my champagne flute that I missed them at the end - all reports are that they were fantastic.
A superb day all-round.
Oh, there was some exciting rowing going on too. Apparently.
Fernandez & Leluu were interviewed about supper clubs on BBC Radio 4 on Sunday, and you can see the dates for their next supper club event here.
I attended this event as a guest of Ryvita, Wild Card and Fernandez & Leluu along with fellow bloggers, The London Foodie, Meemalee's Kitchen, Tamarind and Thyme, Feast on Scraps and the Hatcham Supperclub.