Supper Club & Secret Dining

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Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th & Friday 17th July: The Great American Chow Down at The House of Vans

We are also available to provide a unique catering experience for your private parties

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

June's Jubilations

Dear Candlestickers,

Hope this post finds you extremely well, perhaps a little sun kissed and full of the joys of what lies ahead, which is exactly what motivates our next dining experience

Saturday 9th June: "Bring on the Summer Banquet" - feeling inspired after a few days of sunshine and eating fresh foods.

Plus, my marvellous girlfriend Kat pulled out all the stops this year for my 30th birthday and booked a surprise holiday to Bilbao, in the Basque region of Spain. This is also home to San Sebastian, an area with more Michilin stars per head than any where else in the world. This sets the tone for the holiday which will involve copious amounts of pinxto (tapas), hams, local wines & many other high quality food and drink offerings, plus surfing; awesome. So this will be the catalyst for our dining exerience at the end of June:

Friday 29th June: "Taste of Basque" - a post San Sebastian trip banquet of Basque flavours and ideas, very excited about all the research needed for this!

If you'd like to come to either event, please let me know asap as spaces are limited. Once you've confirmed, I will send out more details closer to the time. If you've never been to a pop up dining event or are unsure about how it works, have no fear, its lots of fun, good food, good peeps, BYO. There is no set fee (for legal reasons!) only a suggested donation of 35quid to help keep the Candlestick Maker in wax. You may want to donate more or less, its up to you! 

Please let me know if you have any dietery requirements before hand, not a problem of course, just let me know in good time! 

Awesome, hope to see you soon


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wow, where to begin......?

The first Candlestick Maker dinner was held last Friday at the Roundhouse Chapel in Clapton and it went superbly if I don't mind saying so myself! It was a crazy few 17 hour days leading up to it, but was worth every second. Massive thankyous to all who attended and to my awesome team, Ani, Emma & Alex who help me pull it all together, not to mention Kat who played a sort of maitre d' role whilst 'sipping' a glass of wine!

5pm sharp we crammed ourselves into a tiny kitchen and got set on all the fresh, last minute prep, finished the pigs head and got the heart and chest marinating. The meat was from an amazing butcher called Nathan ( who orders in whole rare breed animals, and prepares the cuts in the traditional old school manner. I believe the meat for Friday was from a farm in Devon. Will have more details in future!

Anyway, back to Friday, it was fantastic. The girls set the room up beautifully, with lots of candles of course. We managed to produce all the courses, nearly exactly as planned. I had hoped to pick the asparagus from a farm in Oxfordshire last week but the cold weather had delayed the PYO season, darn it. The bread I had baked the night before and was laced with coriander, cumin & orange zest and was served with a slow roasted tomato & herb salsa. The seabass was baked almost en papiotte style, in tin foil however, with julienned veg, chilli, ginger, lemongrass & lime leaves.

We served up a little cleanser of tomato jelly, orange granita and basil foam which tasted really fresh but the jelly was struggling to stay jellied due to the acidity of the tomatoes I reckon. I think agar agar will be used in future, its vegetarian and much stronger.

The pigs head had been braised for four hours at my house then we crisped up the skin and served it with the reduced broth on a bed of radish leaves and watercress. Man, it smelt good! It was a pleasure to hear all the tales afterwards. I believe Anna, a vegetarian, carved one head whilst Wooz ate an eye! I had hoped for some new culinary experiences for the diners but wasn't quite expecting that!

The onglet and bavette we served medium rare with a radish, shallot, herb and orange zest salad, whilst the ox heart was served with a herb viniagrette. Both tasted delicious, rich & flavoursome. The simple marinade of garlic and rosemary helped deepen the flavours and the freshness of the salad and viniagrette helped cut through the richness and liven up the mouth, I thought/hope! Some of the guests/friends who I spoke to were glad they'd tried heart but were confident they preferred the onglet, whilst others absolutely loved the heart!

The desserts were lots of fun too. Milk n honey panna cotta with salted caramel and chocolate milkshake followed by rhubarb meringues, tuilles & dehydrated rhubarb served with bowls of warm rhubarb compote and vanilla custard, a play on rhubarb n custard. I know these went down well, especially with comments like “it just got better and better!” (max)

I popped my head in towards the end of the mains and was so happy to see the room exactly as I had hoped, full of people, chatter & laughter, with wine & food everywhere, whilst candles provided the only illumination. I knew at that exact point that the evening was a success. Then I was spotted and was beckoned in with a round of applause which turned me a shade of rouge! I managed to hold brief chats with most people, my mind was in a fair few places all at the same time, then made a swift exit to finish the desserts.

All in all, a brilliant evening. We raised over 300 pounds for Butterflies, a charity in India who work with homeless children. Tim, who represented Butterflies whilst he was in India, presented me with a bottle of single malt which shocked me completely and I just gave him a massive hug! Thanks again to all those who attended and who helped out on the night, it has definitely inspired me and it will certainly not be the last!! Lots of lessons were learnt and lots of fun was had. This continued in the bar round the corner, who suggested tequila?!

Keep your eyes n ears, taste buds n beers at the ready and the next event will be posted soon. Please leave any comments & suggestions you have about the night and I look forward to seeing/meeting you soon