Txoko Pan Asian Supperclub Review

Reinventing themselves from Table for 10 to Txoko Supperclub, pronounced “Cho-ko” and meaning a ‘cozy corner’ in Basque language, which was the name given to gastronomical societies for members to cook, drink and socialise together.  An apt name I think!

Having visited their first attempt, I was keen to see how it had changed and it was great to be in a cafe in Finsbury, compared to someone’s living room.  Without a shadow of a doubt, this was a much improved and great experience.  The food was great, with lots of stories about how they concocted the menu and in addition, there were two glasses of wine with a detailed explanation of why that wine was chosen and where it came from.

Full menu:

Gin, pineapple, lemon, vanilla and Thai basil welcome drink

Fried duck eggs, Chinese style
Chilled cucumber, dill and yoghurt soup
Mangalorean “Chicken Sukka” with coconut rice
Mango and coconut semifreddo with hazlenut dacquoise

Santa Florentina unwooded Chardonnay 2015
Dominio de Toya Torrentes 2015

To start the evening, we were handed the welcome drink and oh my gosh! It was amazing.  Definitely something I’d want to recreate at home, especially as I’m partial to gin!

Once we were all seated, the hosts Wendy and Reshma introduced the supperclub, the meaning behind it and the menu.  After finishing the cocktail, the first wine was introduced.  Normally I have an aversion to Chardonnay, but this one was a pleasant surprise and also wasn’t too yellow.  I might give unwooded Chardonnay a try in the future but it wouldn’t be first on my list!

The wine was chosen to cut through the flavours of the duck egg.  Hands down, my favourite dish.  I would have licked the plate if I could but in company of strangers and in a cafe, I refrained! But at home, I might have done!  It was beautiful, the flavours exploded in your mouth.  This is apparently a typical snack for when children in China would get home and were peckish, but wasn’t too much to fill them up.

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Next up, was a move away from China and more towards Malaysia/Singapore and a chilled cucumber soup.  Although this was nice, going from a warm dish, to cold, and back to warm was a little odd.  However, the flavours were lovely and was a nice twist where you wouldn’t normally associated the flavours with Asia.

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Next up, was the next wine, which again, was chosen to be paired with the Mangalorean curry.  The curry derives from Mangalore, a small region on the East cost of India, with unique spices and recipe from that area.  With a dry curry, the coconut rice was important to give some moisture and the chicken was cooked on the bone to prevent it becoming too dry.  Served with a salad with onions, tomato and beetroot and then lashings of coriander.  Delicious!

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Last but by no means least, and ensuring that you have had your fill of alcohol when you leave, was the exotic fusion dessert fusing east with the flavours of mango and coconut and a semifreddo from Italy.  But as with the last supperclub, this was served with a shot, this time, coconut liqueur.  For most of the table, the portion was unexpected after three courses already but I still polished it all off!  The hazlenut meringue was a delight that really complemented the Asian flavours.

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Overall, the dinner was a success and the group of people were interesting and happy to tuck in to whatever was put in front of them.  Definitely went home with a satisfied belly!  I also recommend looking them up on Facebook and attending their next supperclub on the 10th of September!  Big thumbs up!

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Three Girls Cook supper club @ Bluebird

Any proper foodie loves a season of Masterchef.  Personally, I love the amateur version, to see someone really grow and blossom to become outstanding chefs.  So when I saw that Giovanna, Alison and Lorna had banded together to form ‘Three Girls Cook’ and that they were starting supperclubs, I knew I had to try my best to get involved!

I know my parents also love the show and we all loved the style of cooking from these three girls and so when the opportunity flashed up on Instagram, I was quick off the mark and booked three places for a lunchtime slot at Bluebird.  Notice I said Bluebird, so I had a slight hesitation as my last experience wasn’t great!

Nevertheless, I booked and kept an eye on instagram for any sneaky peeks at the food and menu.  We were promised English summer flavours on a plate, and they didn’t disappoint!

My parents were fresh off a plane the day before and we headed to King’s Road for our feast.  We were greeted with cucumber gin cocktails and then allowed to sit wherever we pleased.  One thing was guaranteed… everyone in the room was a Masterchef fan.  We swapped stories of other contestants, why we loved the show and our love of food.  It felt like a bit of a cult but without the killer kool-aid!

As we got to know each other, we were served some little picnic treats of cheddar beignets with pineapple chutney, rabbit an ham terrine and smoked mackerel pate.  Lovely little bits to whet our appetite!

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Next came the starter, Crab roll with watercress and fennel.  An absolute delight, very light and full of flavour.  We were all wondering if the outside of the crab roll was bread or a batter, but it was delicious!

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Next, was my personal favourite dish of Barbecued lamb , lamb sausage, peas, mint, artichoke and goats curd.  The lamb was beautiful although we did have to wonder where the sausage was, but it was crumbled up and same went for peas and artichoke all blended in one place.  The goats curd was a lovely addition but was a little overpowering, with slightly less of this, it would have been perfect.  It was still my favourite though!

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Between the lamb and the dessert, we were served a very cute tiny little ice cream cone with cherry ripple ice cream which had a lovely flavour but was a bit icy and more like a sorbet, but two bites and we all demolished it!

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I like my desserts but I don’t have a huge sweet tooth.  Whilst everyone else declared the dessert their favourite, I liked it, but the lamb won hands down.  At the end of the day, we were served Blueberry and lemon Eton Mess which was served with some lemon verbena.  It was a delicious sweet end to the night with some asking for seconds.  I would have loved a little bit more lemon to cut through the sweetness, but other than that it was lovely!

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I was thankful to be part of a special day with the girls coming out to say hello and being warm and friendly.  We felt we all knew them after watching the show and they’re just as lovely in person and I have a feeling that we’ll be seeing a lot more of them in the future and I wish them all the best with future supperclubs and whatever takes their fancy!

Quick tip: quick quinoa

Quinoa, yes it might be a fad food, but I still like it.  The annoying thing is cooking it on the stove and getting it right so it’s not mushy or stuck to the pan.  So, here’s my best tip for cooking quinoa!

A microwave.  Just like how I cook rice, a microwave can be your best friend here.  For one person you will need:

  • 1/2 cup of quinoa (rinsed to get rid of the starch)
  • 3/4 cup of boiling water
  • Salt, pepper and any seasoning (chicken/veg stock cube)
  • A microwave safe bowl and a plate

So, in a microwave safe bowl, add the quinoa and the water plus any seasoning you want as it will be quite plain without anything.  Put this in a microwave with the plate on top and then cook on high for six minutes.

That’s IT! Easy and perfect!quinoa