Forgive me for I have sinned… I have taken far too long to tell you about a wonderful evening I had at the end of 2015 with Tabl. They offer an incredibly interesting selection of supper clubs, food adventures and pop-ups with a difference. But I went travelling for 3 weeks and my to-do list got waaaaaay long so yeah, I’m telling you now. Oops!
Supper clubs have really taken off and the London dining scene has changed for it. It’s not just restaurants on foodie lists – small, intimate supper clubs and pop-ups where you actually get to meet your chef and meet new people are topping the must eat lists too.
At the end of November I was invited to a very weird but wonderful evening of food and science hosted at Parlour in Kensal Green. The night was the brainchild of Heston Blumenthal’s food psychologist Charles Spence and chef Jesse Dunford-Wood and it was definitely a food adventure!
It was a night of Stimulating the Senses and after being made to pick a jelly bean from the bowl and going straight for the pink one thinking oh yes, candy floss and sitting there realising it actually tasted of vomit, I was not sure how the night would go… They tested and tricked our senses but don’t worry, there was definitely a happy ending.
There was no menu so you never knew how far into the evening you were or what was coming next. Once in our seats we answered some food related questions and did a bitter taste test. The first real challenge of the evening was to eat little pieces of pita with a delicious chestnut hummus off drinks mats perched on our wine glasses with out using our hands. Managed to do this without making too much mess. Challenge 1 complete.
Next was a lovely piece of asparagus with hollandaise plated in a ‘positive’ way – everything in this meal was done for a reason. Apparently the best way to serve food diagonally is with the top point to the right. Makes it look more appealing.
Next came out beautiful looking raw sea bream with citrus fruits served on spoons and some on big ol’ ladles which you had to feed each other. I got the ladle and looked rather un lady-like whilst trying to eat it – tasted lovely though! Next up we fed each other parsnips and were later asked if this aroused us… Can safely say being fed a parsnip doesn’t really do it for me!
We then got to enjoy some dishes by feeding ourselves! The saying goes, you don’t know what you got till it’s gone, and it was lovely to be able to feed ourselves again! The dishes included popcorn chicken nuggets; raw beetroot ravioli with whipped goat’s cheese; in-house smoked salmon with crispy salmon skin and salmon caviar; a wonderful creamy duck liver pate with figs, honey and bread; and my absolute favourite a blue cheese custard topped with hazelnut and served in egg shells. Oh my, it was SO good.
We hadn’t even made it to the mains…
We were all served one dish – some included just a plate of mashed potato or cabbage, and some with a ginormous kiev, cow pie, sea bass or mushroom flan. I was one of the lucky ones with getting sea bass plated in front of me. But it didn’t last for long, soon the bell rang and it was time to swap! The mushroom flan came my way next and I think this may have been my favourite dish, but you know the drill, a couple of mouthfuls and it was moved on down the table.
Now we were back to the mad scientist ways. We were presented with a tiny little pill, a shot of lemon juice and a wedge of lime. We were asked to slowly chew the pill and then suck the lime and drink the lemon juice. I was thinking, what kind of palate cleanser is this!? But they were so sweet. Almost like drinking liquid sugar. It was so strange! And the sweetness lasts for about 20 minutes – definitely should have consumed all my wine before this as it was sickly sweet after this.
The long table was then cleared and we were presented with headphones. Foil lined the table and while music played we watch the finale unfold. Jesse and his team created a truly unforgettable dessert right in front of us. Too many to remember but there were macaroons, baked Alaska, honeycomb, truffles, arctic roll and much much more. By this point I was a tad tipsy and deliriously full and generally feeling rather happy!
Whilst I sat in my taxi home I contemplated the evenings events. What a night. Not something I’ll be forgetting any time soon.
This is just one of the many events Tabl host. They are not just about the supper clubs, there is such a range of foodie events to get involved with. They really are about bringing people together over the love of food and making it interesting and fun. Just take a look a The Inksiders with Gizzi Erskine, The Great Nordish Crepe Off and The Glam Clam Valentine Banquet coming up! I’m looking forward to see what they’ve got in store for the rest of 2016.
Thank you to Tabl for hosting such a wonderful meal. I was a guest of Tabl, but as always views remain my own.