Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Super-cool Shacklewell: Dalston

For every book that closes, another one opens, or so the old adage goes. A few months ago saw London's dining scene bid farewell to its much-loved Green Onion Supper Club. All was not lost - rather this was an opportunity for Claire, co-founder of Green Onions to stretch her fingers and try out something new.

And so Shacklewell Nights was born. A supper club / pop up restaurant in an old factory in Dalston, myself and Farzana popped down for the inaugural night. Summarising thoughts: What a Treat.

There's something enticingly elusive about popping into an unmarked doorway in the street, climbing four (or eight) flights of stairs and then finding yourself in the midst of London's rather eclectic social milieu. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, these restaurants are generally a step into the unknown, which is half of their appeal.

Taking a brief peek at the menu before I headed down, I must admit that I was curious as to which way it would swing.

Brown Shrimp, Potato and Samphire or Fennel, Potato and Samphire for vegetarian Option
Braised Duck Legs, Bacon and White Beans or Lentils and Goats Curd for vegetarian Option
Sorbet and Vodka
Blackberry Fool

Obviously the dishes were appealing but would rely very heavily on the brilliance of the produce and quite precise execution to really stand out. Luckily for us, this is exactly what we encountered on the night.

The shrimp, potato and samphire salad was undeniably moreish - with strongly flavoured shrimps contrasting nicely with the samphire.

The braised duck leg was another winner; after I'd munched down the saucily tender leg I was left longingly glancing at those who had exercised slightly more restraint with the pace of their eating.

While the sorbet fulfilled its function in refreshing the palate, it was let down by a lacklustre vodka, the only disappointment of the night. Still, we all brightened up as we dipped into the Blackberry Fool, which trod the fine line between creaminess, sweetness and tartness with the enviable grace of a primadonna ballerina.

Food aside - I do have one question, why go to this kind of thing if you don't want to speak to anyone new? While one of the couples on the table were pretty friendly and incredibly interesting, some of the others were a little difficult to talk to, seemingly preferring to talk to each other (shock horror)and making very little effort with other people on the table. Personally I'm of the opinion that it's a little rude - what's the general take on this?

For more information, see Shacklewell Nights


Greekfoodlover said...

I agree, the socialising is part of the fun, but you cannot force people to talk to each other sadly. As a host of cooking and supper events I also make sure people interact, especially for those who are gutsy and daring to show up on their own! I admire that!

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