Monday, February 1, 2010

Fernandez & Leluu

It had been one of those weeks, I had been chugging throughout and was actually shocked it was Friday. And I love Fridays even more when there are exciting dinner plans to look forward to. I'd never been to a secret or underground supperclub anywhere before, so Fernandez & Leluu was going to be my maiden voyage into this fashionable restaurant scene.

I wasn't sure what the USP of a supper club was meant to be. Interestingly, Wikipedia (LOVE Wiki!) almost suggests the idea springs from Latin America where they are known as restaurante de puertas cerradas or a "locked door restaurant". We are naturally apprehensive when ringing the bell, but were greeted by lovely Uyen (suppose she was Leluu?) who was a warm host from start to finish.

It's a charming space, tastefully decorated with hints of Asia, vintage, and even country chic. There must only be enough seats for 20, and us three (Boy & Best Friend) are seated at the long communal table. Whilst we are offered a welcome drink, it's a BYO arrangement. When everyone is seated, service begins and not much later than the suggested start time.

Borrowing from their site, this was the menu:-

Summer Rolls of Egg, Barbequed & Cured Pork, Shredded Pork Skin, Mint, Corriander & Lettuce
Lemongrass Beef With Vermicelli
Shredded Chicken With Coriander & Lime Salad with

Prawn Crackers & Puffy Sesame Rice Paper
Woven Spring Rolls With Prawns, Pork, Black Fungus & Vermicelli
Braised Ham & Quails Egg In Fish Sauce & Coconut Juice Served With Rice
Beef Pho Noodle Soup
Banana With Tapioca in Coconut Milk

I was impressed. Every dish was served with care, and each course had distinct presentation. I hate to imagine the washing up pile later! They were classic Vietnamese dishes in small to medium portions of which ingredients had not been scrimped on. 

Summer Rolls: Beautifully wrapped. I guess there are infinite combinations of what you can put inside, this one had chinese sausage and barbequed pork meat. I loved the sauce that had generous amounts of garlic and peanuts for added texture.

Lemongrass Beef on Vermicelli: Super tasty beef, though traditionally the meat tends to be more caramelised. I'm really nit-picking, that shows the standard they were at anyway.

Apologies for the slightly blurry picture. I might steal this as a dinner party idea. Juicy, tangy Shredded Chicken with freshness from the herbs on top of crunchy Prawn Crackers.

Woven Spring Rolls with Black Fungus and Vermicelli: Really delicious. Super crunchy and light on the outside and the filings were ideal to soak up the sour sauce. Boyfriend had to fight me for the last one.

Braised Ham with Quail's Eggs in Fish Sauce Soup: I've had Chinese versions of this which just have regular chicken eggs, so I thought the richer Quail's yolk was a nice partner to the smoky tea-esque stock.

Beef Pho: Again I'm nitpicking - if I had to choose I would have said this was the most "ordinary" dish of the evening. I'm probably used to the uber Ajinomoto versions in Vietnamese restaurants a la Kingsland Road.

Banana in Tapioca Milk: Rather pleasant and simple end to a meal, and am afraid I can't remember that much at this point! I blame it on a very friendly but self-absorbed thespian sitting next to us. Whilst he jabbered on about himself and his great knowledge of wine (which in fairness, he had some), he kept mixing  sherry (apparently the saltiness complements spicy food dahhling) with the same white wine he generously poured earlier. As the Boy would say, "Character". 

I'm kinda keen to try others. For £30 a head I'd encourage you to meet some funny folks, and enjoy the relaxed vibe and yummy food. Bravo Fernandez & Leluu!

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