I really can’t remember how I came across Chefs London, I think it was twitter related. I was having a crazy supper club booking night (I booked 7 all in one month, crazy). The guys behind Chefs London are, surprise, two chefs, Daniel Doherty and Thomas Cenci. Both have super busy jobs and decided to start doing supper clubs without even going to one themselves. They just liked to idea of meeting interesting people in a relaxed environment were they can chat with the people eating their food and see their reactions while they eat. Instead of sweating in a hot kitchen in the middle of service plating the same dishes each day.
For me the interesting and self-inspiring aspect to Chefs London is the fact that they don’t base themselves in one place. They hold their supper club in the houses of gracious friends. Not without the reward of a complementary cooked meal for the hosts, of course.
These little starters of confit duck with pork belly topped with a baby cornichon were a great opening taster to the Gascony menu they had prepared for the night.
Their take on real Gascony food was of good rustic comforting fare. Could one complain, I don’t think so. The whole meal was a surprise as they don’t disclose their menu. Even on arrival there you have no idea until it’s sat in front of you. This allows some freedom to change the menu if required, I quite like surprises, in any case.
The next course was a real winner in my eyes, ethically produced foie gras with homemade toasted fruit loaf and a Sauternes reduction. Being chefs, Dan and Tom have the ability to source really top ingredients. I had nearly given up eating foie gras, hallelujah someone has had the sense to farm ‘greedy geese’, who just eat everything in sight, instead of the tube ramming force feeding that goes on. This is something I need to see in person to be absolutely convinced, I’m thankful just the same. It was not too rich but well balanced with the fruit bread. They let the produce speak for itself, simply deveining it and lightly poaching the soft buttery goose liver.
You could probably guess what was coming next, Cassoulet. Saved by the fact that there are so many ‘right’ versions of this dish they decided to make their own take on classic comforting Toulouse favourite. It was full of the bold flavours of confit duck and Toulouse sausage. The sausage was another ingredient the guys had source through the chef connections. It was juicy with a high pork (and garlic) content. The duck moist and falling off the bone. Delicious rustic fare.
What would be a French meal without a cheese course. Goats cheese from the base of the Pyrenees melted on torn bread. Oh yes this was rustic but at this stage of an evening chatting to a table of 7 new people, one was glad of the easy, tasty pleaser.
On the kitchen inspection I expected the usual busy heads down affair but it was clean, benches lined with awaiting plates and a clean sink. Dan and Tom leaning against the bench chatting and having the occasional sip of beer??? Is this the mark of professionals or the clever type of menu they had chose for the night.
Dessert, an apple, Agen prune and Armagnac bake topped with a short pastry topped with clotted cream. Yes admittedly clotted cream is not typically seen as French but Dan’s excuse was that we are British and we think it tastes good. Good enough reason for me. Served, like your mum, at the table, calling the portion size you wanted, was the beauty of such a small group.
Having a dinner party at your friends flats can limit the size of your party some what but at least you still get to have them and not at all. Dan andTom love the small intimate tables where everyone can chat to each other. They are starting to have a regular following of people on all sides of London, depending on where the supper club is held. Well done guys, the winter roast with roast chestnuts is sounding pretty good….let me know.