I’d never been to a supper club until last night. I knew they were happening across London every day of the week but somehow I’ve just never made it to one. The thought of sitting on a bean bag in a someone’s living room in Kilburn eating tapas with strangers may have been putting put me off.
Well more fool me.
As a relatively new food blogger, how stoked I was to receive an email from a lady saying she’d found me online and would I like to come and review her supper club The Gutsy Chutney. Hell yes.
Roping in a SW London friend from work off we trotted to deepest darkest Wandsworth. Strolling through the leafy residential streets we were finding it hard to picture where this venue could be and then there we were. Barmouth Kitchen is a sweet cafe (run by ten local families) and the location for tonight’s event.
On what was a freezing night we were greeted by the friendly Deepa and her husband and shown to a large communal table prettily set with name cards – almost Christmas like. Deepa had clearly put alot of thought into the aesthetics for the evening and that really showed.
Bowls of dried snacks sat on the table which look delicious but we had no idea what they were. Jackfruit. If you like plantain chips you’ll like these.
We sit with a fun local couple originally from Norway and lovely man from Ilford. We all hit it off and chatted throughout the evening on a range of topics ranging from breast milk ice-cream through to the ship tunnels in Norway. Not a dull moment at our table. The other guests seemed to be equally enjoying themselves.
Gutsy Chutney events always have a theme and this one was food and wine matching. Result. The wine had been chosen by Deepa herself from a place in Tooting Market called Unwined. I used to live near Tooting and back then Oddbins was the sophisticated place to get one’s libations.
We were treated to a German Reisling, Austrian Zweigelt, an Italian Dolcetto and Rofosco and finally a French Grenache dessert wine. Yes that’s five. Each one matched perfectly to each course, and it was great to try something unfamiliar.
So to the food. Deepa is from Kerala but her menu is far-reaching, adding twists on dishes with Mexican, Goan and English influences. This was fusion food at it’s finest.
We start with prawns balchao golgappas – three little vermicelli puris stuffed with a fiery Goan relish and whole prawns offset with a little tamarind sauce. We were advised to eat these whole and on the first one I didn’t listen. They were very spicy and I felt a bit pathetic. They were so tasty though, and for the next two I ate them in one bite as instructed. My Reisling soothed any burning sensation and normality resumed.
Cleverly this starter was followed by a palette cleansing salad of green mango, pineapple, chilli and coriander all served in a little ice cream cone.
My friend and I agreed that after this next dish all future pies and probably curries would never match up. We were only given butter chicken in a pie! But wait, not pastry but a naan topping – light, crispy and hugely innovative. The whole table ate every scrap – this for me was the standout dish of the night.
There were two more mains and a dessert still to come. On we go.
We are served a cold creamy rice dish mixed with unsweetened yoghurt and mustard seeds. This is traditional in Southern India served as a soother after spicy food. Deepa paired this with a rich mutton (another first) curry. The meat was tender and full of flavour and heat, but worked brilliantly with the rice particularly (as we discovered) if you put both things on the fork at once.
So this is where the Mexican twist came in – a keema and chickpea curry served in a taco shell – a popular street food served in Bombay we’re told. This was tasty too – peas added in for a bit of sweetness. It reminded me of my South African grandmother who used to put peas in spaghetti bolognese which I know was not her attempt at fusion cooking.
On the home stretch now and despite being full to bursting we are served a carrot halwa with ice cream. This was totally gorgeous, so I asked Deepa to run through the ingredients – carrot, condensed milk and raisins with some clarified butter. It tasted like a rice pudding and we couldn’t believe there wasn’t rice or some sort of grain in there.
If you’re off the booze there were non alcoholic drinks on offer and each course had a vegetarian option for the non meat eaters. The night was £50 in total – 5 courses and 5 wines which we didn’t think was bad at all.
Deepa and her husband talked through each dish as they arrived and answered any questions. At the end of the evening they sat and chatted with us making us feel like we were at a dinner party rather than a restaurant.
Feeling happy and full we head out into the cold after a fun night fuelled by the most delicious food and wine.
* My meal was complimentary but my friend paid the full price.