Supper at Fernandez and Leluu

Update October 2016: Uyen still runs supper clubs, though now from her work studio just off Broadway Market. Authentic Vietnamese and very lovely. Worth going to.

There are perks, it turns out, to having the slightly seedy hobby of sitting in your bedroom very late at night / in the early hours of the morning. With the lights off.  In front of a laptop. Writing. Writing.

One of which is meeting interesting and nice people and being invited by them to meet more interesting and nice people.

On Tuesday I benefitted from one of these perks and spent the evening at the Fernandez and Leluu supper club. I’d been invited by Uyen (the Leluu half of the name), having met briefly and corresponded a few times via the magic of the tinterweb. Really very kind of her.

I’ve written about the supper club concept before. In short, they’re basically dinner parties that you pay for … or restaurants in people’s homes.

However you choose to define the genre, Fernandez and Leluu is a well established supper club, and takes its form in a cosy living room in Hackney. Maybe a touch more than 30 people are squeezed in and fed interesting food. Conversation flows. Friends who’ve been tell me that it’s not unusual for said living room to turn into a dance floor when the early hours start to arrive. I reckon if this hadn’t been a school night, disco beats would probably have been played.

The evening was a charity one, in association with Yell’s review site Trusted Places, and for the benefit of the Jamie Oliver Foundation.  Wine was donated by Naked Wines, fish by the very amiable Richard from Fin and Flounder, and seriously good steak from the East London Steak Co.

From this produce, Fernandez and Leluu (assisted by a couple of chefs from Fifteen) cooked up a pretty eclectic and diverse menu (which Simon Fernandez – the Fernandez half of team – had designed). Assorted sushi to start; Italian bacon and tomato swirls with a shot of tomato consome; sloooow cooked oxtail and green beans; very sustainable white fish ceviche in a coconut milk marinade; fantastic steaks (hanger steak and fore-rib) served with the trimmings and doused with a tangy tarragon sauce; and, finally, a citrus fudge with popcorn ice-cream.

The ceviche, steaks and popcorn ice-cream were the stand out dishes for me. Though the presentation of the sushi was pretty smart too (as you can tell from the London Foodie‘s photo – check out his overview of supper clubs).

The practicalities of cooking so much stuff for so many people, using just a small domestic kitchen, was evident in the timing of the courses. But that definitely didn’t matter. Like I said, conversation flowed and it was a stonking evening. This was only my second experience of a supper club, but I know I like the concept. I met great people and ate and drank well. I’m going back.

Must stop writing now. It’s late. I’m in danger of going blind.

Fernandez and Leluu in 3 words

Fun. Chatty. Cosy.

The Bill

This was a one-off charity event. Ordinarily, it’s suggested guests pay £35 and bring their own wine. They also run Vietnamese cookery classes for £75 a day. – In a house near London Fields Station, Hackney