A few weeks ago I got an email from a friend inviting me to a supper club called Fernandez and Leluu. Like most supper clubs in London, it was an informal ‘restaurant’ run out of someone’s home. This particular home was in Hackney, and this particular supper club was known for being one of the best in London.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make it that night. But the very next week another friend invited me to the same supper club. Then I got an email from a third friend about another supper club in London. It seemed as if the world was sending me a message.
Message received, I signed myself and a friend up for last night’s dinner at Fernandez and Leluu. We arrived at 7:30 and enjoyed a glass of wine before moving into the ‘dining room’ (i.e. the living room of the flat that had been set up with several tables of varying sizes).
Knowing I was in for a multi-course meal, I arrived with my appetite fully intact. Bad idea. With only one person serving food for 30 people (and apparently only one or two cooking it), it took a very, very long time for the first two courses to be served. So long, in fact, that half the bottle of wine we brought was already gone by the time the second course arrived.
When the food finally did come, I understood why Fernandez and Leluu had such an excellent reputation. The Asian chicken salad was small but great, and the spring rolls that followed them after an eternity were the most flavorful I’ve ever had.
The third course mysteriously appeared just moments after the second, and my still-hungry stomach was thankful for the prospect of additional calories. These came in the form of a delicious bowl of pho. Despite the fact that some of the meat was too fatty for my liking, the soup tasted amazing.
After the pho there was another long break, at which point I went into rationing mode with my wine. The next course finally arrived with four pieces of fresh tuna sashimi, a spinach salad, and a tiny bowl of fries (for two to share) with wasabi aioli. All of it was just as good as the previous courses, but unfortunately just as small. I was still hungry.
Finally more carbs arrived. A bowl of rice with pork and tofu was set down in front of me, and I barely tasted the contents while I scarfed down every last grain. Five minutes later I was finally starting to feel like I had something in my stomach.
The final course was a let down. It was brought in tiny bowls, and it had apparently been coconut sorbet at one point. By the time it got to the table, it was almost completely melted. There was little more than a tablespoon of it, too. I assumed it was a palette cleanser before the dessert course, but sadly, it was the dessert. Although it tasted good, I couldn’t help being disappointed.
At 11pm I left with a few others to catch the last overground train from Hackney Central to Hampstead Heath. As I walked up the hill from the station to my flat, I realized that I should have arrived at dinner with three extra things: a full stomach, a second bottle of wine (or a third, or a tenth), and my own canapes. Armed with those, the dinner would have been far more enjoyable.
I’m signed up to go to another supper club in London in December, so I’ll make sure to put my lessons into practice. Until then, if I ever go back to Fernandez and Leluu’s supper club, I’ll make sure to eat before I go.