Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saltoun Supper Club

Back on this supper club exploration of mine, this time at Arno Maasdorp's Saltoun Supper Club. I'd dutifully read all the other reviews and had somewhat high hopes for this one as the unforgiving, harsh but absolutely spot-on and fair food critic Jay Rayner reviewed it last year. Past stints at Loungelover and Les Trois Garcon came through in Arno's kitch and eclectically decorated home in Brixton. One wall covered with woven baskets, across another which was a mosaic of household items, dried insects, dolls and bric-a-brac. All intentfully arranged to create a cosy, playful and personal surrounding to the dining experience.

And so how was the food? Restaurant quality. It had all the swooshes, purees, blobs and dots of a top notch place. Each course was very filling (Hungry Female felt about 2 years pregnant with a baby elephant after all five courses) and had multiple elements that made unique and new food ensembles.

Hot and Cold Smoked Salmon with Spiced Apricot Puree. A little garden of salmon, beetroot, purees with a sprinkling of pomegranates. Lots of colours, textures and fresh flavours. Pardon the camera lanyard! Naughty lanyard!

Truffle Infused Cauliflower Gnocchi. This is what probably caused my overdue food pregnancy. Topped with loads of parmesan, I couldn't resist the little clouds of pasta that made their way into my mouth until the whole plate was clean. Cauliflower has an almost sweet taste when cooked that goes so well with earthy truffles. 

Roasted Duck. Hello Lover! Really tender duck with a celeriac puree, roasted onions and shallots. Couldn't get enough of the duck with the concentrated sweet onions. We were astonished by the portions and the ease in which Arno seemed to roll out these culinary feats from his home kitchen.

A Chocolate Plate. One of the most rich chocolate tortes and ganaches I've eaten. Despite it being gooey and that my throat felt coated by the dark gold, again I found it hard to resist. Beneath the chocolate was a caramel sauce and with regret I cannot remember what those Hershey shaped blobs are. How all these   sumptuous sweets are all on one dish but that the overall result was not sickening is real genius. 

Petit Fours. A quirky, random but adorable platter of ginger cake, chocolate cars, flying saucers and marshmallows put a smile on our faces. You can bring top restaurant food to the home, but you'd never bring humorous touches like these to a top restaurant. At least not the ones with puree swishes.

When the meal ended, Arno came over to chat. When asked why he wanted to have an underground restaurant in his house, he replied with "I wanted to do good home-cooked meals". Well Arno, you and I clearly live in very different homes! Bravo!

A minimum donation is £30 per person and is BYO

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