Supper clubs… About time I tried one, right?
Yes, in fact it happened that within 10 days I got to eat at Sabrina’s Kitchen twice for two of her differently themed pop up dinners. I met Sabrina on Twitter and she seemed super nice – she is just as nice in person, bubbly, open and honest about her food (I wish all chefs were like this) and full of energy.
Both evenings were held at a private home in North London. As we made our way from South London on a cold November Friday evening for our first session, the three of us (myself @bmcboy and @squadrilla75) were not entirely sure what to expect. Bringing our own bottle of wine (a crisp Greco di Tufo), we finally arrived after a long drive through London traffic and were greeted by a homemade cocktail and friendly smiles.
We introduced ourselves to the other diners and soon took our places at one end of a long table where a total of around 12 people were sat. At our side were a fun couple, a friendly soon-to-be Punjabi supper club host, a drinks & beer consultant. A very assorted bunch of people which, as the evening progressed, were going to reveal themselves as a fun and noisy group (including ourselves – more later).
The night’s theme was ‘Arabesque’ and the menu promised some fantastic dishes, from the various starters to the mains and the dessert.
The first round started to arrive… my favourite amongst these has to be the Tabouleh, served in romaine lettuce leaves and sprinkled with fresh pomegranate. It was fantastic, so light yet full of fresh, zingy flavours; another great piece were the lamb K’bbeh Halab, very crunchy on the outside but bursting with lamb and mint on the inside.
All were served with Persian flat bread, not prepared by Sabrina as, she explained, you need a proper Persian oven for that.
By the time the mains arrived we were already quite full, and one thing for sure, Sabrina prepares plenty of food! While @Chuchibum brought the plates in, we chatted with our fellow diners… by now the conversation was polite and mostly, verging on food (for example, meat from Ginger Pig).
Seared fillet with pomegranate molasses was delicate and seared to the right level while the Lemon harissa poussin was well cooked and spicy (although I would have liked more preserved lemon on the meat). What came with the meats was Aubergine with a saffron yoghurt dressing and pickled chili which was my favourite dish of the evening – absolutely amazing, delicate, yet powerful with the saffron colour and aroma hitting you after the first bite. Let’s not forget the Butternut squash with feta and crumbled pistachio pesto. Gorgeous and a great combination.
After the mains, we were truly quite full and relaxed with our new friends. The conversation veered off food, covering gerbils, Richard Gere, rabbits, dogs and some interesting music videos which made us laugh our heads off but which I would not recommend showing to dinner guests you want to see again. I think I lost Sabrina some customers!
We left very happy, as we had a lot of fun and tried some gorgeous food.
Our second dinner at Sabrina’s Kitchen was a week or so later, this time for a mid week, Persian meal. We had with us @Gi_nav and this time, there were more guests so we had two tables.
Ours had us on one end and an older couple at the other side, plus two women who attended together. The other chair remained empty, the single guest preferring to squeeze at the other table rather than sit with us. And as an evening is made by the guests as much as the food, this particular table was nowhere near as fun as the Arabesque night. No talk of Ginger Pig, no mention of hamsters, rabbits or Punjabi supper club or dodgy videos. Instead, we over heard some ‘interesting’ views on Italians and their failure to integrate in London (!). Gi_Nav and I preferred to catch up and plan our Neapolitan Easter menu and not get our Italian tempers into it.
The starters were different from the first evening, being more vegetarian and fresh, with fantastic feta, walnuts, loads of herbs and some fabulous dips including an aubergine and whey (Kashk-e-Bademjan ) and a cucumber and yoghurt with rose and pomegranate.
The mains were, in Sabrina’s words, not fancy but rather, real Persian home food. A lot of it, too. Lamb with preserved lemons and split chickpeas (Khoresht Gheymeh Bademjan) was earthy and the lemon was this time, nicely sour although the aubergines that came with it felt a little greasy.
The Chicken with molasses stew (Khoresht Fesenjan) was very sweet but tender and fell off the bone – dense flavour but I loved it. Mains were served with basmati rice. I wasn’t convinced by the Coucou Sabzi, a herby frittata which was fluffy and perfectly cooked but too thick to be enjoyed at this stage of the very large meal. One of our dining companions had lived in Iran and told us usually this is made a lot flatter, so it is used as a ‘bread’, which might be a lighter way to enjoy it.
Finally, the mint tea and the dessert – slightly disappointing for us (but purely because we wanted to try more of Sabrina’s sweet skills!) as the cake was quite similar to the Pistachio, almond and carrot cake we had on the first night – yet we wrapped it and took it home to be enjoyed fully the next day with a cup of tea.
I am looking forward to trying her next venture and of course, more supper clubs.