After a four flight climb in skyscraper heels I finally arrived at Shacklewell Nights! It was a warm summer day, and even warmer on the top floor of this former fashion factory. I was greeted with a cool glass of Vino Verde Arca Nova 2009 (chosen by The Wine Sleuth, supplied by Casa Leal) and I set off to mingle. I didn’t get far once I met the lovely Gizzi Erskine and her boyfriend Dean. It didn’t seem long before we were given a generous top-up and shown to our table.
We had barely sat down when Dr G (aka The London Foodies’ partner) popped the pink bubbly all over my phone, camera, and into my handbag. If I was sitting 2 inches to the right I would have been drowned! No sooner had the waiter and Dr G cleaned up accident when the guy beside me knocked over a full bottle of wine onto his plate smashing it in half! I bet they thought our table was going to be a hand full! But they took it in their stride.
The first course was an inviting summer Brown Shrimp, Potato and Samphire dish. It was a lovely balance of salty capers soft waxy potatoes and those tiny brown shrimp. I did feel sorry for whoever had the task of prepping all those tasty pink curls.
Our second course was Braised Duck Leg with White Beans and Tarragon Aioli, but it was so much more! The duck was moist and fell off the bone onto your fork. The beans with bacon, braised in fino, chicken stock, white onion and sage with watercress, was a perfect accompaniment. The tarragon aioli accenting the duck with a slight citrus lift.
Then comes a simple Raspberry Sorbet, delicious and refreshing. A shot of vodka, from Sacred Micro Distillery in Highgate, was served with it. It was a nice gesture but I think the sorbet alone would have been delightful.
Dessert is a Blackberry Fool, a thick concentrated syrupy blackberry layer topped with a gentle vanilla cream layer and then a softer mix of the two on top. A crunch of toasted almond flakes sprinkled over the fool gave added texture. This was served with a thin shortbread of the most beautiful soft, buttery, crumbly nature. Bless them, they brought some extra shortbread to our table.This is really not a typical supper club and the two collaborators, Claire Roberson (from the temporarily closed Green Onions Supper Club) and Jonathan Woolway (currently a chef at St John) feel that it is more like a pop-up restaurant (both pictured on the right below). It would be impossible to serve this many people without the help of waiters and waitresses. On their opening night they had 65 people and 45 the following night!!I managed to get into the kitchen to meet the crew and see the tiny space they have to work from. You could never plate up individual dishes from there, for so many. The shared plates worked very well for entree and main, and individual desserts. Making this all work smoothly is no mean feat.
I enjoyed the atmosphere created in this space, it felt like people were excited to be there. I certainly was, we had good relaxed food and a great table of company to share it with. Shacklewell Nights are running two nights a week, every two months until April. The four courses are £35 with an aperitif and is also BYO.