A few weeks ago, I had to pleasure of being invited to my first Secret Supper. This sort of dining involves something that I don't excel at: planning ahead. You have to contact the chef in advance, he's only open two nights a week, and you have to gather a group of friends together, lest you want to dine with another group of diners. But, if someone else does the planning and the organizing, I am more than happy to do the eating (and drinking).
Once you find the NFA, climb some stairs and knock on the door hesitantly, you are ushered through the kitchen into the dining room. The menu is written on a chalkboard, and it looks like we're in for a long meal. You're welcome to arrive at 6.45 and have to leave by 10.45. It's a 6 course meal for $65, and it's BYOW.
Our first course was the Strawberry Gazpacho, with confit strawberries. I loved the presentation of this dish, at first glance, you would think that the red bits you see on top were strawberry slices (or at least I did), but when you go to take a spoonful, you're surprised to find that it's actually crispy prosciutto. The croutons were very crunchy and I found that the soup had a good mix of textures and flavours overall. However, I would say that the piece of fresh prosciutto in the middle was unnecessary and actually had a weird mouth feel, especially after sitting in the cold broth.
Next on the menu was the Fish and Chips, and a cute play on words. We all expected Battered Fish and Fries, but we were only partly correct. It was a dual of Red Spring salmon tartare. One was done in an Asian style, and you could taste the flavours of miso, sesame, ginger and green onion. It's the one on the right. On the left, we have a Mediterranean style of fish, done with lemon, capers, pinenuts and olives. Two very distinct flavour profiles and both were quite nice. The fries were pretty good as well, with a nice bite to them.
Our next course was the Seared Lamb Sirloin with a White Gazpacho and some Merguez Sausage. The dish has a Moroccan feel to it, and is very pretty. The gazpacho is a blend of almond and bean water, and is very thin. The two different oils you see are the Chorizo Oil and the Chive Oil. Both are highly infused with very intense flavours. The merguez sausage is meaty and soft, and really complemented the Lamb. There was also some avocado underneath the lamb, lending an even creamier texture to the whole dish. The fried crisp on top is simply parsnip!
For our fourth course, we got the Grapefruit Sorbet with Lemon Curd as our palate cleanser. The lemon curd was quite rich, but the grapefruit sorbet was perfect. The curd still overpowered the sorbet, but you could see what the chef was trying to achieve. I'd say either half the curd or double the sorbet, and you'll have a winner on your hands.
email@example.comOur final savory course was next and it was a complicated one. Ahi tuna with Sweet Pork Thai Salad. The Ahi tuna was seared perfectly on all sides. The Thai Sweet Pork is actually very crispy, enhanced more so by the corn fritter tucked underneath. The mint and cilantro salad is very refreshing, and the dressing definitely has a kick to it...you might not taste it right away, but it'll get you.
The dessert was the Sticky Toffee Cake. There are hints of bourbon, coffee and even chantilly cream in this delicate cake. It looks heavy, rich and dense, but it is surprisingly light with a warm soft centre. I'm not saying it's low cal, but it's not as sweet as you would expect. Having said that, I still couldn't finish my generous portion.
As luck would have it, the Chef had one extra dessert from last night's dinner that he brought out to share with me. It was a Molten Chocolate Cake with fresh cream and macerated cherries. Served separately, the idea is to split the cake open and pour the cream inside and then top it off with the cherries. This was good, and the cherries made it seem even lighter than the Sticky Toffee Cake. This one I ate about two spoonfuls and then had to share. My meat tooth is stronger than my sweet tooth, I guess!
So if your friends are looking for a fun, BOYW and private venue to celebrate a special occasion, email firstname.lastname@example.org and get yourself hooked up!