Restaurants of course vary to a certain extent, but because of their integral guerilla nature, one of the best things about supper clubs is that no two will ever be the same. As such, Shacklewell Nights, which held its inaugural feasts last weekend, was unlike any of the others I have been to.
Set up by Green Onions’ Claire Robertson and Jonathan Woolway of St John fame, the collaboration aims to dish up a top menu of seasonal British food in the relaxed, informal and undeniably cool setting of a warehouse in Dalston.
Serving up to 60 people at a time, and with a selection of waiters to greet you, wine bottles poised, Shacklewell Nights felt more like a pop-up restaurant than some of the more intimate supper clubs I’ve attended, while large communal tables, unpretentious BYO beverages and the unusual setting lent it that exciting sense of uniqueness a supper club offers.
The starter of brown shrimp, samphire and new potatoes, dotted with tangy bursts of caper certainly lived up to the seasonal ethic – it was like British summertime on a plate, and absolutely delicious.
The rustic main of braised duck legs with white beans (soz about the bad picture) was exactly what I was in the mood for having spent the best part of the day battling and especially severe hangover. The meaty juices were given salty depth thanks to crisp nuggets of bacon, cut through with peppery, wilted watercress to prevent it being too rich.
A palette cleanser of raspberry sorbet was sweet and fruity but the aforementioned booze-fever meant I was unable to handle the accompanying vodka shot.
The originally advertised gooseberry fool was off the menu due to lack of availability, but I was pleased to see blackberries, a favourite fruit of mine, in their place in this light, moussey fool (don’t think I’ll ever be able to take a dessert called a fool that seriously). Sugary flakes of almonds on top were an inspired addition, and the resounding opinion on the shortbread was ‘best ever tasted’. I had two.
Despite the large number of guests for a makeshift kitchen, the whole thing ran like clockwork, which was no mean feat on only their second run.
Overall it was a brilliant evening, with a vibrant atmosphere and such great company that over two hours after finishing the last course, we realised we had talked and drunk our way to missing the last ELL. I’ll definitely be going back when they do it all again next month, and you should too!
Thanks to Bloggett for the image of the starter, putting my the rest of my half-arsed ones to shame!