- Food & Drink
Fernandez & Leluu was one of the first supper clubs I went to last year and it’s where I learned my supper club skills. I was tutored in the importance of keeping hold of your cutlery, instructed in the art of dining thigh to thigh and knee to knee and came to understand that bringing 2 bottles of wine per person isn’t dangerously excessive, it’s just covering basic needs.
To my shame, I haven’t been back since, but on the 27th October I was invited over for dinner and this time I wouldn’t just be eating, I’d be Doing Good. Fernandez & Leluu were holding a Fight Hunger, Eat In night for Action Against Hunger. The concept is simple: raise money for Action Against Hunger by inviting friends round for dinner and then charging them for it.
Fancy ham botherers Unearthed are also supporting the campaign by donating 1p from every product sold to Action Against Hunger and they supplied Fernandez & Leluu with boxes of their astonishingly well-priced charcuterie. Campo Viejo provided the wine. We bought our stomachs and our wallets and tucked in.
The meal began with a plate of Unearthed products and meatily adorable oyster mushrooms. The cooked ham, duck mousse and potato omelette were good but the pork rillettes merit a religion of their own.
A subtle fork war soon developed over the them, the glistening slithers of shredded pork completely capturing the table’s attention. I acquitted myself well in the battle and faced the next course with a greasy chin and pig filled belly.
After the meat feast, a bowl of sweetcorn soup with chorizo film. A distillation of the edible wonder that is chorizo, a swirl of this smoky-sweet sauce bought richness and a bit of meaty heft to the delicate soup.
Next were flamenquines: a pork tripple-decker of ham, pepperoni and pork loin breaded, fried and served with fresh herb and sweet mustard dips. A grown up nugget that was wisely served in slices, it went particularly well with the mustard, which cut through any lingering heaviness and made the flamenquines the kind of deep fried meat feast that’s easy to swallow.
The flamenquines were followed by Unearthed meatballs (sold in nice terracotta bowls, for those who like to buy their plateware with their dinner), which Fernandez & Leluu had pepped up with a slosh of booze, some meltingly sweet figs and a pinch of something fiery.
Good, solid meatballs – the kind you long for on a cold day when mashed potatoes and steamed puddings seem like heaven – they came with a big bowl of Russian salad, which Leluu told me that hadn’t served since I was last at the supper club.
Because of this, I’m going to consider the Russian salad my signature dish and expect to be served it whenever I eat at Fernandez & Leluu. It is, still, the only Russian salad I’ve ever considered worth eating and there will be hell to pay if I’m not bought a big bowlful of it the second I step my foot in Hackney.
The break out star of the meal was served next: Serrano ham (Unearthed, obviously) with Champagne poached pears. Flecked with vanilla, bronzed with caramelised sugar and swimming in flowery booze, the pears were wonderful. The crowd’s vocal and lengthy appreciation has lead to Fernandez posting the recipe on their blog and I, for one, know exactly what I’m serving as a starter on Christmas day.
A welcome lull enabled us to chug/appreciate bottles of cava and rebuild our appetites for the baked rice. This was a double carb feast of monstrous proportions.
An enormous tray of rice mixed with fat little chorizo sausages, knobbly spare ribs and other meaty bits that past me by in a haze of scarfing. The rice was topped with tomatoes and slices of crisp potato that provided the perfect edible shell to protect the rice while it cooked to soft, slippery perfection.
We finished with cups of Spanish style hot chocolate that was thick enough to stand your spoon in, and cinnamon churros for scooping.
As ever, it was a perfect supper club evening. A jumble of brilliant food, wine and company all served with chaotic elegance by our hosts. There was a tin for donations and you can find the online equivalent here. Donate now and feel good about yourself for weeks.