|The beef pho|
I have 2 good reasons for writing about London supper club, Fernandez & Leluu.
1. They cook some of the best Vietnamese food I've tasted in London.
2. They recently hosted a charity dinner with Unearthed in support of Action Against Hunger. And I love the idea behind this new campaign.
Simon and Uyen have been hosting their supper club from their East London apartment since late 2009. Uyen's mum, who is Vietnamese, along with the gorgeous Gail from One Million Gold Stars, were helping in the kitchen on the first night I rolled up for my Vietnamese feast.
A Vietnamese chicken salad is both juicy and packed with fresh, zingy flavours. Bountiful platters of spring rolls follow, crammed to bursting point with prawn, crab, tender octopus and pork. They're a terrific mix of contrasting textures and the flavours bounce off each other well.
A bowl of beef pho with flat rice noodles is wonderfully aromatic and, although mild, there's some interesting layers of delicate spice at work.
The tuna sashimi that stole my heart at the Fernandez & LeLuu summer picnic at the Henley Royal Regatta features again at the supper club. We finish with pork cutlets and rice, before moving on to a coconut and Cointreau sorbet as a refreshing end to an excellent, fun marathon meal. No one leaves hungry.
This supper club is dancing on the tables, barrels of laughs, type fun. There's a huge energy in the tiny room and it tends to work to a slow crescendo as supper clubbers share their wine freely around the table. The crowd is mostly fun loving folk in their 20s and 30s and generally everyone brings 1-2 bottles of wine.
Yes, Fernandez and Leluu is BYO with no corkage fee. The suggested minimum donation is around £35 plus tips.
"Fight Hunger, Eat In" - Action Against Hunger & Unearthed
I returned again more recently for a charity dinner hosted by Fernandez & LeLuu with Unearthed, to raise awareness and funds for Action Against Hunger. Action Against Hunger is an international humanitarian organisation committed to ending child hunger. Their new Fight Hunger Eat In campaign follows its recent "Fight Hunger Eat Out" campaign spearheaded by some top chefs and restaurants.
The idea is to encourage food lovers to host a dinner party and invite their friends to make a donation in return for a great meal. Hosts pick a menu, invite their guests and cook away. Action Against Hunger has prepared lots of tips and materials, invitations and recipes which are available for hosts to download to make it all as easy as possible.
Simon Day, founder of Unearthed, hosted the evening I attended at Fernandez & LeLuu. Apart from being a lovely guy, Simon has what just might be the best job in the world - he travels around Europe & elsewhere in search of excellent products from great producers which might not otherwise see the light of day in the UK market. Unearthed products include things like rillettes, olives, cooked and cured meats, white bean tapas with Manchego and panettones. The products are sold at Waitrose and were the foundations of the meal cooked by Fernandez & LeLuu at this charity dinner.
We start with a tasty selection of Unearthed's potato omelette with pork rillettes, duck mousse, oyster mushrooms and garlic bread. I particularly love the rillettes from Le Mans and find myself happily placed between 2 large platters of the stuff. These are clearly quality products, and from the snippets I caught on the subject, they seem to come at very reasonable prices (eg. the rillettes are £2.49 at Waitrose).
A velvety sweet corn veloute with chorizo film had me at "sweet corn".
Next are some flamenquines - meaty fried parcels of pork, pepperoni and ham with mustard and herb dip. Completely addictive.
Then, pork meatballs (again from Unearthed) with Fernandez & LeLuu's Russian salad. Fernandez & Leluu do a cracking Russian salad (again, it's one I sampled before at their Henley Regatta picnic), and the meatballs are a sweet, juicy counterpart.
Finally, we feast on Unearthed's Serrano ham with F&L's own champagne poached pears and a watercress salad. A gorgeous combination.
I missed the churros and chocolate - and I'm still kicking myself.
I love the spirit of this supper club, and the Action Against Hunger campaign, combined with the joint efforts of Unearthed and Fernandez & LeLuu, was inspiring. If you are interested in hosting a dinner party in support of Action Against Hunger, you can see their website here. You can book for other supper club events at Fernandez & LeLuu on their website.
Fernandez & LeLuu, a mystery location in East London.