The South West Supper Club were proud to present another unusual and spectacular dining experience in London’s East End of Hackney, hosted in a relatively intimate, industrial style, open-brick and concrete room in the Arthaus. The venue had been transformed into something quite exquisite in ambience and culinary dining, hailing by the name of The Wild Food Kitchen.
On hearing the term ‘pop-up’, you couldn’t be blamed for a pre-empting something of a sub-standard quality with a scarcity in provisions or planning. However now, after considering pop up’s like The South West Super Club, The City Supper Club and The Wild Kitchen, it leaves more to the imagination and tickles curiosity in your taste buds.
Welcomed into a room decorated with hand painted murals of animals and a large ‘scrap book’ feature wall, tables were laid impeccably with white linen and low hanging lampshades, small lanterns flickering light around the edges of the room and a pianist tinkling in the corner; the room had a definite air of a ‘secret society’ to it. We were welcomed to our shared table and attended on impeccably throughout the evening.
The South West Super Club was set-up by Chef Jimmy Garcia, still very much a fresh name in the game. Their reputation is already proceeding them with the club’s locations and expectant diners stretching over the UK to France and soon, possibly, The World? The Wild Food Kitchen presented a quirky evening offering something more than the food itself; evoking humility between diners and waiters, conversation amongst strangers, and full five courses of exciting food to your table like no other restaurant, topped off with a good glass of wine and outlandish entertainment.
Canapés to start, a selection of mini, moreish mouthfuls to welcome us in to the foragers feast.
Wild and foraged apple and walnut salad dressed with orange and mint; a fresh, light and zesty summer salad.
Wild nettle gazpacho with wild garlic and chorizo oil; a surprisingly full-bodied flavour, satisfying yet clean and light.
Duo of wild Rabbit: Confit leg, stuffed loin wrapped in pancetta with apple mashed potato and cider gravy. The flavours bounced between the salty pancetta, sweet mash, slight cider tang and rich rabbit – the plate could have practically gone straight back into the cupboard.
Wild mushroom brioche bread and butter pudding with a whiskey jus, brioche for dinner? Yes we thought that too, but it was sublime; the earthy and meaty mushrooms, slightly sweet heat of whiskey through the brioche and texture from the crispy top through to the moist centre, the only criticism? The portion could never have matched our appetite; this dish is the way to any girl’s heart.
A surprise course treated us to some fresh asparagus foraged and hand-picked fresh that day. Served with a béarnaise sauce and mini salad; simple, seasoned and home-grown. The novelty of the entire menu as a freshly organic sourced or foraged ingredient makes for quite a humbling, yet beautiful culinary experience.
Then they dropped the gauntlet - ‘Guess the leaves’, evoking the forager in us all, after taking a look around, some felt brave enough to take a little nibble, and bingo! Garlic, mustard and dandelion – Yes our table of strangers came together like true foraging novices and we all won free beers!
Desert was kicked-off with a surprise performance from The City Shanty Band; feet stomping, hands banging on tables – the atmosphere in this small room was bizarre but fantastic! After a couple of songs pudding was served:
Deconstructed eton mess, berry ripple meringues, strawberry cream and raspberry coulis (Utter drool.)
Spiced pear with iced white chocolate parfait –Now, a warning: this parfait was like melting desire and we shall not be held responsible for our insuppressibly huge urge to lick the bowl.
The evening finished with Petite fours, light chit chat and arguably a bit of banter amongst the hosts and guests. All five courses were equally as sumptuous whilst the standards were upheld throughout the entire evening’s culinary offerings.
At a mere £36 a head we could not think of a better-spent evening, alleviating the social boundaries and etiquette’s, yet maintaining high standards of service and at worst equalling that of a top restaurant’s culinary skills, we wonder why we don’t spend more evenings enjoying this gastronomic secret society; mind you if everyone knew about it, we would be hard pressed to book a table. We have been warmly welcomed into Jimmy Garcia’s culinary world, and by God, we’re hooked.
For more information on where you can next catch Jimmy and the South West Supper Club take a look at their Facebook page – and grab a chair while you still can.
Written by Cat Foley