I arrived before any of the other guests to discover a very invitingly laid table and a waitress. The Drunken Butcher himself was hidden in the kitchen. I was getting excited already. I was a bit nervous as I’d decided to rock up alone. I’d been wanting to go to a Drunken Butcher supper club for ages and I decided to chance it by myself.
My nerves did take a bit of a spike when the remaining seven guests arrived. They ALL knew each other and had in fact been friends for about nine years. Sharp intake of breath. Perhaps this wasn’t going to be so easy. Thankfully they were all delightfully friendly and interesting, so I got stuck into finding out all about them.
The starter was a work of art: beetroot and pickled celeriac salad, with blue cheese and walnuts. And it was exquisite. My favourite item were the walnuts which tasted like they were honey roasted. Iain achieved this flavour by roasting them then caramelising them with sugar.
Next course was homemade gnocchi with sage and tomato – delicious, squidgy comforting potatoey dumplings in a tasty tomato sauce. And followed up by a main of vegetable terraine and ‘ratatouille’ and crispy shallots. The resounding favourite element of this dish was without question the crispy shallots which everyone went wild for. Iain had treated them in the same way you would batter fish. Soaking the shallot rings in carbonated water for two hours before dipping in flour and deep frying. Oh yum! And there was a nifty accompaniment to our meal – a little shot of spicy tomato vodka. I examined my glass warily – it looked like tomato stock in a glass – not my thing. But as it happens it was my thing! Effectively a clear version of bloody mary – made from the liquid of sieved tomatoes mixed with vodka and tobasco. Thank you very much Iain!
And then came dessert. A yummy combo of grilled and caramelised pineapples with Iain’s home sour cream sorbet (great idea!) and blueberry sauce. And how the evening had flown by! I was so busy chatting to my table neighbours that I hadn’t noticed the time. They were cheeky, challenging, opinionated and funny and I loved chewing the fat with them. And to me this is the point of supper club. What a lovely relaxing environment to meet some new people.
And the final treat of the night, was when the Drunken Butcher (Iain Devine) appeared from the kitchen to have a chinwag with us all. Iain is charming, witty and he really knows his food. We got the low down on his cooking techniques and life in the food industry.
It felt like a unique night – the doors being opened to me to Iain’s cuisine and house and to a lovely bunch of friends. It definitely beat a night in front of the telly. If you want to find out more about the Drunken Butcher’s supper clubs follow him @drunkenbutcher.
The Drunken Butcher emerges from the kitchen at the end of the night for a chat