Monday, 20 September 2010

Friday Food Club, Blackheath

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, Blackheath (a 5 minute stroll from the station), London, SE3

Greedy Diva was a guest of Prosecco Riccardo. Thanks to Riccardo Tomadin for the invitation.


  1. ooh you're making me hungry for that delicious food again! We must go back, and as you say, book a cab next time!

  2. Still dreaming of that fried fish with clams and creamy sauce, it was a splendid dish and the combination of flavours with Prosecco Riccardo, one of the best I remember trying.

    Luiz @ The London Foodie

  3. Thanks for the lovely comments - a lovely evening, nexct time its taxi's all the way.

  4. God, your living the many great eats out :-)

  5. Christina - I'm in! Was lovely to catch up again.

    The London Foodie - Yes, and I thought the pairings were great all evening.

    Lee - I'll have my party shoes on. Thanks for putting on such a great night.

    Ruairi - Thanks, I do my best!

  6. Looks like you got the better supperclub, Carly! Interesting comment on the still prosecco, I quite liked it but as you said, it's probably more of a food wine then one you can enjoy as an aperitif.

  7. Great! I like your comments Carly. It was the perfect end to our Summer with Prosecco Riccardo Supper Club Events. I enjoyed meeting you and the rest of the Riccardo's friends. The Riccardo Tranquillo is definetely a food wine: it's drunk at lunch in the Veneto region.
    We're changing the website check for the latest. Our eCommerce side will be up soon!

  8. Winesleuth - Definitely a food wine. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Riccardo - Thanks again - a terrific night and loved your wines. Sounds like your whole summer of events was a great success.

  9. I am fascinated by the dessert, looks very nice and tasty.


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