Wednesday, 19 December 2012

φ pilot supper club nights

Boy! That was not as simple as we had thought!! As probably everyone who's done something similar knows, preparing for a supper club night is not even close to what you have in mind when you set off on this adventure. Contrary to simply cooking for a group of your friends, hosting a supper club dinner is a performance: things have to happen at a certain time and they have to happen in the right way the first time, especially if you are hosting a supper club with entertainment, like us.

As we have stated before, φ is all about doing everything from raw ingredients: we kneaded the dough for our bread on Sunday morning; we bought the best-quality dry-aged sirloin we could find in London; the vegetables were hand-selected from Church Street Market on Saturday; the ice-cream was actually made from milk and eggs two days in advance. All recipes were our own and even our entertainer, Avgoustinos, played his own songs (for the first time!).

We welcomed our guests with homemade bread and two kinds of olive oil that foreshadowed the starter and main. The starter, a hot and numbing bean soup that had been slow-boiling for almost two days was our take on the traditional Greek fasolada, inspired by a Sichuan bean-based hotpot we love. The concept for our main was an inside-out stir-fry: our roast was injected with our beer-based marinade and slow-cooked to medium rare. We served it with caramelized onions with juniper, mash of potato and beetroot with a hint of wasabi, roasted seasonal British winter vegetables, and a simple crispy green salad to quietly refresh our guests. The dessert was our halva ice cream with pieces of halva, served on ice-cream cones (yes, we made those ourselves too) with two warm sesame biscuits for a gentle contrast of temperature. Finally, while Avgoustinos was playing his last songs, we served chocolate branches with chocolate covered mint leaves, and 'flowers' of rasberries with petals made out of chocolate covered orange peel.
Of course, throughout the whole meal our guests were (de)hydrated with a 2006 Rioja Reserva we had specifically chosen for this menu.

We had an amazing time both Sundays. The first Sunday, being our really first time, found us rather stressed yet very very excited. As expected, mistakes were definitely made and we had to deal with unpredictable situations, e.g. guests arriving more than an hour late and losing one of our dessert glasses! Most our friends gave us really constructive feedback, that resulted to our second Sunday feeling exactly as we can only hope our first supper club will feel in the summer!!

Allow us to publicly thank Avgoustinos, who honored us with his talent and his unique songs. Also, Kostas Kon and Tinaki, who were the "hosts" of our two nights, without whom these two nights would have never run so smoothly. And thank you Tina for posting on your blog (link here) about φ, glad you had fun!

Finally, a big thank you to all who came and experimented with us. Really. 

φ winter menu
\to tickle your tastebuds
-homemade bread
-olive oil infused with chili
-olive oil infused with garlic 

-hot and numbing bean soup

-beer roasted beef with orange and soy sauce
-crispy green salad
-caramelized onions with juniper
-potato and beetroot mash

-halva ice-cream with warm sesame cookies

\happy ending
-chocolate covered mint leaves and orange peel

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