Above: Aromatic duck noodle soup ala Table for 10 Vietnamese Supperclub. Seconds absolutely not necessary, but see if you can resist.
Ah, quiet long weekends. Perfect for catching up on writing. For example, this long overdue post on Table for 10 Vietnamese supperclub in London's trendy Whitechapel, which I had the privilege of visiting as an invited guest late last year. Table for 10, cheffed by Vietnamese-Australian Damon and hosted by local MJ, jumps instantly onto my favourite supperclubs list, for incorporating modernity and style into the presentation of their dishes, without sacrificing any boldness and depth of flavours.
Upon entering you're likely to be presented with a welcome house cocktail by MJ. It will likely have Asian influences, and be dangerously delicious and drinkable, especially if the guys are feeling generous. Which is often, so other guests tell me. You have been warned!
The evening opened with a very exotic canape of smoked trout with a sweet-savoury chilli jam spiked with mashed up dried shrimp, salmon caviar, slivers of dried and candied orange peel, served on a large betel leaf. Utterly authentically Asian in the way it harmonises sweet, salty, sour, spicy and a tinge of bitterness. Utterly fresh and modern in plating. Good luck trying to find something like this on Kingsland Road. While eating this I hear squabbling at the other table over who gets to keep Chef Damon's leftover stash of chilli jam. Regulars, no doubt.
Our second starter: crispy moist fried chicken thigh bites, with a spicy mayo dip. Chef Damon and I discovered later that we have dirty fried chicken as a mutual secret shame. I'm very pleased Damon's found a way to use it, own it and elevate the genre (yes I consider fried chicken a genre, as trendy London street food traders are now proving) for his guests. I spotted several fellow diners watching me and my portion of fried chicken like vultures while I shot the photograph below. Luckily I am not of dainty build...
An in-between course: Bo la lot, Vietnamese-style dolmas, where aromatic minced beef is rolled up in betel leaves and then fried or charcoal-grilled. Served here with thick rice noodles, pickles and fresh herbs. Gorgeous in every way.
In case you're interested in making these at home, here's a bo la lot recipe from the wildly popular City Caphe in Bank.
And to send me off waddling home, a giant bowl of fragrant, earthy, very comforting duck noodle soup. Given the relatively petite prettiness of every dish up to dine one, I was well pleased at this less pretty, much more butch and hearty main. Having grown up in Singapore I'd be happy to eat this in the midst of a muggy tropical heatwave, but this will no doubt be a hit dish during London's loooooooong winter months.
Did I mention there were seconds? Not at all necessary. But I couldn't say no to that soup!
Dessert was vanilla ice-cream with lychee cream and chocolate sauce. Not especially photogenic, and personally I felt the chocolate overpowered the lychee flavour. Desserts have never been my strong point when I host dinners, and I get the sense that Damon is still developing his dessert repertoire as well. But other than that I thought the dinner was stellar, and I'd be happy to pay £30 (their usual supperclub price) to come back as a paying guest with friends.
Many thanks to Damon and MJ for hosting. They have big plans ahead, but are using the meanwhile to test and grow their arsenal of food and cocktail recipes. So watch this space. Better yet, secure a space for yourself, here. Their suppers regularly book out 2 months in advance, so keep an eagle eye on them on our Edible Experiences newsletter alerts!
Have you been to Table for 10? What were your favourite dishes?
Disclosure: I'm the founder of Edible Experiences, which provides event ticketing services for Table for 10. I attended this event as a guest of Table for 10.
Click on the logo below to view upcoming events for Table for 10 Vietnamese Supperclub.