Fish Market

Every so often an email pops through that causes an instant reaction. When I got an email from Fish Market asking if I wanted to come down and try their new chocolate pot (and dinner) my instant reaction was shouting at Pack your Passport “PLEASE TELL ME YOU ARE FREE FRIDAY NIGHT”. She was and it was locked in.

The reason I was so excited about Fish Market, a restaurant down one of those little side streets near Liverpool Street, is a little bit totes emosh. Fish Market was one of the last places that I went for a drink with my sister before she left London. *sob* Sad but totally amped for a night of fishy fun with Beverley.

That is of course until the day of, when I woke up with a mammoth hangover (it was my leaving party at work the night before). In a miserable state I DM’d Beverley and spent a good 140 characters complaining about my pitiful state, and she replied with her own tale of hungover woe. So that was it, we formed the Hungover Supper Club and The Fish Market would be our first biannual members dinner.

First up the Fish Market is like a frekin Narnia or something. It has this magical courtyard that makes you feel a million miles away from the bustle of Liverpool Street. It might have been verging on winter but tucked under blankets with overhead heaters and fairy lights, this Narnia rocked…and it had wine. Oh and Narnia also had AMAZING fresh crusty bread and salted butter. I like this Narnia.

Predictably the menu is seafood based (even in my hungover state I understood the connection) and after a lovely fig and cured ham starter it was on to the main event, the fish. While being told off by Beverly for not using Goggle Analytics (ugh fair call, setting it up now) I chose the Lemon Sole from the market fresh menu – which means that you chose how its cooked, if it has bones in, what sauce and sides. As you may well know, that many decisions on a hangover is tough, but by supporting each other (and drinking more) we managed it.

The fish was just amazing, the skin was fatty and crispy and just oh so full of flavour. As amazing as the fish was it was the sweet potato mash that we couldn’t stop talking about, and stealing from each other and putting on every bite of fish and tweeting about.

We finished off with the new chocolate pot that tasted exactly like something my Mum made. Unbelievably rich and with sugar biscuits to dip in it was all kinds of melty goodness.

After dinner the Hungover Supper Club rolled down the road to the New Bengal Bar to let out the #ginmonster in me. Hair of the dog had never looked so pretty.

Old Bengal Bar

Home made after dinner mints

Ok so what the fuck do you do when you have gluten free and dairy free people over for dinner and you want a little snaffle to go with after dinner drinks? After trawling Pinterest for desserts I almost pulled my hair out trying to find something that didn’t involve a combination of coconut oil, cashew nuts and nightmares. Then a glorious pattern caught my eye, home-made after dinner mints it had to be.

I wish I could call this an actual recipe… but all you need to do is choose your chocolate (I went as dark as possible because of the aforementioned dairy free issue) then melt it in a bain marie, or microwave if you feel like living on the edge. Then take your fresh mint leaves and dip them round end first into the chocolate.

A couple of things that I learned in the process, leave this as late as possible i.e. just before your guests arrive. The longer your mint is off the branch the more it will wilt, so put this together just before you get the party started and then pop them in the fridge.

Also be patient with the chocolate, once you have melted it it will be hot (don’t you roll your eyes at me) so just chill out and wait till it has cooled right down to room temperature before you get your dip on otherwise you will scald the leaves. Oh and when you are popping them off the baking sheet don’t grab them by the leafy tops, just turn the baking sheet upside down and push on the chocolate part and they will leap for freedom.

The finished after dinner mints were the perfect refreshing but decadent snaffle, and went down a treat served with sloe gin over ice.

Only complication? I don’t like mint.

The Colour Palate feeling green

Every so often you hear about something so quirky that you can’t help but immediately book a ticket. One of these was the Colour Pallet dinner run by the clever kids at the Art of Dining. My imagination was running wild, each of the courses was going to be themed around a colour…but what exactly did that mean?

Arriving at the Colour Pallet we went straight down stairs only to be smacked in the face with green…green everywhere. The walls were green, the lights were green, the tables were green, and just in case you weren’t maxed out by green there were trees lining the walls. I have never been in a room quite so emphatically green. Sitting down there was a lot of nervous laughter in the room, not something you normally hear in a London restaurant (unless its first date central), it sounds like we weren’t the only ones eagerly anticipating the evening to come.

The Colour Palate

We started with quail wrapped in vine leaf with wilted herb salad and freekeh. My first bite was the start  of an evening long mind fuck that I am still bamboozled by. Nothing on the plate tasted quite as expected; it wasn’t bad by any means (the entire meal was fantastic) it just tasted indescribably greener than it should. The colour of the room/lights/cocktail/plate/table was totally messing with my head and taste buds.

The Colour Palate green

Throughout the green course the Audio Wave Ninja and I were debating just how we would move on to the next colour. How would the Art of Dining crew turn this green pleasure palace into a mellow yellow dream boat (yellow was our next course). Would we go into a different room? Would there be a massive delay while they made our green world yellow?

This was partially answered when the waitress had a quiet word in my ear “start ripping”. Seeing my confused expression she demonstrated and ripped part of our green table cloth. Trading joyous looks of disbelief, the Ninja and I started ripping away the green paper tablecloth to reveal the yellow beneath. The discarded green was thrown over our shoulders and onto the floor. Then the lights changed, turns out we were in a white room and all the colour was provided by the lights. Genius.

The Colour Palate orange

Throughout the yellow course we kept ordering the colour cocktails and getting a bit grumbly that they didn’t fit in with the colour themes. The ‘yellow’ cocktail looked more orange, and similarly the ‘yellow’ food appeared white/orange/brown. It wasn’t until the white course that we all shut up. Turns out the food and drink colour had been entirely on point, it was the colour of the lights that was distorting our perception of colour – total mind fuck.

The next question was how we would enter into the black course…there isn’t exactly lighting that fits an absence of light. Well, easy solved really… they turned the lights off. The waitresses all put on mining head lamps and we were in the dark to eat the soy aubergine with fermented garlic and black sesame. If we thought the lights had changed how we tasted food, wait till you can’t see a thing. Absolutely amazing to experience food in this way.

The Colour Palate black

By the desert course (orange) we had managed to make our way through every colour of cocktail. So it seemed totally reasonable to make friends with the couple next to us and wage war on the other long table. During the final table cloth rip, instead of quietly depositing it on the floor it was a paper snowball fight – with extra points if you could hit someone without incriminating yourself.

It was such a fun and unique evening, I will for sure be keeping an eye out for any future Art of Dining events.

I know I am normally all about the coffee, but sometimes a Runawaykiwi has to eat. So to get you planning your Friday night feast here are two new names for you to try.

BunnyChow

1. Bunnychow, Boxpark (and other locations)

A bunny is something I first heard about in Disneyland but actually originated in South Africa. The Disney version was a full sized loaf of white bread, top cut of hollowed out and filled with clam chowder. The London version is much more civilized, a small round loaf filled with whichever of the creatively named options you want. Now, as good as Monkey Glands sounded I went for the BangCluck Bunny which was a Thai chicken curry in the aforementioned loaf. Full of flavour, and 100% portable Bunnychow is the ideal Friday night feast.

 

Bird London

2. Bird, Shoreditch

Bird does exactly what it says on the tin, top class free range fried chicken.  You can choose how many pieces, light or dark meat, what glaze you want and then a dipping sauce. I was uber demanding and wanted different glazes on my order and they were happy to indulge me. I highly recommend the Honey Ginger glaze, its crispy and sticky and all full of goodness. Bird will forever be awesome in my eyes, because they guessed that it was my dinner mates birthday and bought us a doughnut and a party popper to celebrate.