It’s Chinese New Year, and in celebration I recently attended a Supper Club event at Kitchen Gallery SieMatic in the Mailbox.
Those of you who have followed the blog for a while will know of my love for Chinese food, but I’ve never had the opportunity to experience a ‘Supper Club’ before. The concept is experiencing a revival as of late, with roving premises (sometimes only revealed when guests purchase a ticket), a restricted menu, and guests are seated around a single table, often with people they don’t know.
Our hosts for the evening were Wing Yip (there are currently four Wing Yip Asian food superstores in the UK – the first and largest is located in Birmingham), and Pippa Middlehurst (Pippyeats). Pippa was the Winner of the first series of BBC’s Best Home Cook, hosted by Mary Berry and Claudia Winkleman, and she now runs her own enormously popular workshops, Supper Clubs and private events. The Kitchen Gallery SieMatic is a working showroom (and I and all the other guests remarked at how the design of the kitchen and dining area were ‘goals’ for our own homes).
Click on the galleries for the full sized images
Our menu for the evening looked amazing:
Grapefruit cured salmon lettuce cups, with fragrant peanuts
Dan Dan Dumplings
Hand-pulled biang biang noodles
Twice cooked pork belly, rice, wok fried greens, black bean tofu
Plum cake with Sichuan pepper and orange ice-cream
We were treated to appetisers of salmon lettuce cups while we were introducing ourselves and getting to know each other. Admittedly, this was something I was initially a little unsure of (not being a huge salmon enthusiast) but I was pleasantly surprised. The salmon had a really subtle flavour, and combined with the crunchy texture of the peanuts, small slivers of peach and additional spices, it was a combination I had never experienced before and thoroughly enjoyed, particularly with the kick of heat the followed afterwards.
We were given aprons and offered the opportunity to make our own noodles using dough that Pippa has already prepared. Of course, when Pippa demonstrated the process (which was essentially rolling it out, stretching by hand and then separating it into two) it looked incredibly easy. Unfortunately, while my eating skills are second to none, my noodle pulling skills need a little more practise.
This is what they should have looked like:
These were mine.
Let’s just say that Pippa isn’t going to be worried about me taking over her culinary empire anytime soon…
It was fun watching everyone get involved too! I had a great time chatting with Full to the Brum, Lenny Loves Life and Hint of Helen… It’s always interesting to find out about the culinary interests of others.
We were invited to sit around a large table in the dining area, and the dishes were brought in one after another.
We started with Dan Dan Dumplings, followed by our noodles. Luckily, my rather aesthetically-unfortunate noodles looked and tasted amazing when cooked and mixed with the rest of the ingredients for the biang biang noodles dish. The noodles are described as being like a belt, and they were beautifully cooked and easier to eat with my chopsticks than I anticipated!
The main event was the pork belly, greens, rice and black bean tofu. I’m not a pork belly fan – I often find it to be too fatty and greasy for my palette – but this pork was absolutely stunning. Sticky, melt-in-the-mouth, full of flavour and moreish – it was the nicest pork belly I have ever eaten and was complimented perfectly by the other dishes. I also adored the tofu – I’ve sometimes found it rather bland when I have tried this in the past – but this was flavoured beautifully with a slightly crispy edge and combined with the black beans was delicious.
The plum cake was also gorgeous. It was actually super light, which surprised me as I often find that similar cakes are made more dense by the addition of the plums, and a great end to what was a really incredible meal.
It’s easy to see why Pippa won Best Home Cook – her food was sensational, she was so friendly and eager to answer any questions we had (and the Mancunian accent made this Boltonian feel like she was back at home). I had a wonderful and rather unique evening with great food and great conversation in lovely surroundings!
Gong hei fat choy / gong xi fa cai!
Want to find the best Asian ingredients for your own home cooking? You can find Wing Yip on their website here.
Interested in attending a supper club? You can find Pippa on her website here.
You can find Kitchen Gallery SieMatic on their website here.