Sunday, 27 September 2015

Pickled Plates Supper Club, London

More than ever, eating out is becoming a social experience. My instagram is awash with people's culinary snaps. Chefs and critics may bemoan bloggers, vloggers and the like for reaching for the camera with every dish they're served, but it's all part of a new social era. Social has become virtual, but it's also gone back to basics too. Supper clubs have sprung up across the UK. What can be more social than someone inviting you into their home to try their food? One of my very talented friends Polly, a trained chef, and Hana, with a background in events, have created a superb social dining experience with their Pickled Plates Supper Club. Earlier this year we got a group of friends together and went along to their home in Walthamstow to give it a try.
Pickled Plates Supper Club Menu
We arrived excitedly and were greeted with a cocktail of whisky, blood orange, ginger and bitters. If all greetings were with a cocktail that was this good the world would be a better (and drunker) place! I can imagine that if you didn't know your dining compatriots then starting off with a boozy cocktail is a great way to get the conversation flowing. Handwritten menus, tea lights and succulents dotted artistically around the table - this is an instagrammers paradise - created a wonderfully cosy atmosphere too.
Whisky, Ginger, Blood Orange and Bitters
Polly and Hana are big fans of Lee Wescot from the Typing Room and James Lowe at Lyles. Both chefs are about celebrating British food with a modern twist and this is certainly echoed in the Pickled Plates menu. A canapé of haggis, neeps and tatties, were crispy, coated, deep fried balls of good Scottish stuff. It's worth adding at this point that they were great at catering for my gluten allergy too. They had sourced gluten free haggis and cooked mine separately and they were delicious. A rabbit rillette was well seasoned, pickled beetroot and radishes cutting beautifully through the richness of the rillette, beetroot crisps giving added texture and a cassis dressing bringing all the components together. The salt baked celeriac was a real triumph, with a wonderful depth of flavour, and provided a superb companion for a perfectly cooked chunk of whiting. The crispy chicken skin provided a sumptuous, salty seasoning for a creamy clam and prawn butter sauce.

Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
Wild Rabbit Rillette
Pan Fried Whiting with Salt Baked Celeriac
When I read toasted marshmallow on the menu for dessert it conjured up images of bonfire night. I'll be disappointed with the Guy Fawkes version in future, because this toasted marshmallow was something else! A big, creamy, silky square, blow-torched to give just the right amount of caramel notes and then served with the acidic hit of blood orange and perfect (gluten free) shortbreads, it was a brilliant dish. The bring your own bottle policy - plus cocktails and a sloe gin accompanying the cheese course - meant that things were probably starting to get a little hazy! But I've got just enough recollection of the deliciously nutty comté, served with plum and juniper jam, a candied walnut and again gluten free oat cakes for the coeliac.
Toasted Marshmallow with Blood Orange and Shortbread

Sloe Gin, Comté, Plum and Juniper Jam, Candied Walnuts and Oatcakes
It was a great night, with great friends and great food. So if you want a fantastic social dining experience check out Pickled Plates, you'll also get the bonus of having some brilliant food to instagram!
Our Pickled Plates Team For the Night

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