Photograph by Gail Haslam
For most home cooks, catering for your average dinner party is still quite a test: menu planning, shopping, preparation, cooking, hosting and serving. The thought of opening one's home to eighteen strangers would certainly be beyond most people, but thankfully Simon and Yuen of Fernandez and Leluu in Hackney are more than up for the challenge.
Their home is filled with curios and talking-point pieces: stacked vintage leather cases, antique typewriters, a flatbed editing table. In the upstairs bathroom, guests are encouraged to write to them on the mirror using a chinagraph pencil - and the overwhelming gist of the messages is ‘Can I move in? Will you cook for me forever?’ and ‘We’ll be back!’
For their fourth Supper Club night, they offered a seven course east-west fusion menu. It’s difficult to identify a highlight, as it was all utterly moreish, but the Frogs Legs Teriyaki with Vietnamese parsley was something Londonist wouldn’t necessarily have ordered in a restaurant, and yet we loved it. The Sweet Basil Seed Cocktail - or ‘tadpoles’, as Yuen jokingly called it - was equally unexpected but refreshing. The Hot Sweet and Sour Soup with Catfish is something we might even consider making at home. Fitting in dessert seemed incomprehensible, but the Macha Green tea ice cream, served with ginger shortbread, disappeared in seconds.
Fernandez and Leluu try to make their menus seasonal and source ingredients locally where possible, and though they bill themselves as enthusiastic foodies rather than gourmet cooks, it was a remarkable meal, especially for the suggested donation of £30 (tips are welcome, and bring your own wine.) Next week is Great British cuisine, for Bonfire Night and further dates are on their website. Book quickly - they will definitely sell out.
Fernandez and Leluu - the menu changes weekly, and address details are emailed to you once bookings are confirmed.
Fernandez and Leluu: http://www.fernandezandleluu.co.uk/
Hot Sweet and Sour soup: http://www.fernandezandleluu.co.uk/2009/10/hot-sweet-sour-clear-catfish-soup-w.html
Written by Gail Haslam