So. The Bloodshot Supper Club elevator pitch to reel you in.
It was initiated by a conversation between Nuno Mendes and The Dairy’s Robin Gill where they agreed there wasn’t anywhere in London for chefs and other hospitality staff to have a proper feed and drink after service. Bloodshot Supper Club happens on the last Saturday of every month —payday for chefs and each month it’s a guest chef who brings their brigade into The Dairy Kitchen immediately after finishing the evening service in their own restaurant. Tickets are sold sold on Twitter — it’s £60 a head for all the food and drink you can muster and four of the 36 seats are available to members of the public. Oh yeah, and it all kicks off at 1am.
The star of the show tonight is Alex Harper from The Harwood Arms in Fulham and currently the only Michelin-starred pub in London. He’s previously cheffed at The Ledbury and Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons. A rock star in his own right.
Now we don’t stand on formality, but things started off pretty unannounced with snacks – delicious little morsels they were too – wood pigeon pastrami with prunes cooked in Earl Grey and summer savoury hob nob with whipped chicken liver.
It’s a dark room (hence the lack of decent photos and people are really friendly (you could say they’re all very hospitable) and the welcome Old Fashioned Cocktails are going down a treat. You’re then ushered to a table which you’ll most likely share with some of the chefs or waiters of your favourite restaurants in London. Tonight we are sitting opposite a couple of waiters from Polpo in Soho who give us the lowdown of everything that’s happening on the restaurant front. I have to say it was the one safe time to be spilling the beans to me as there are gaps in what I remember about the evening due to “free booze all night”, otherwise I would have lit up Twitter.
All too often, we eat too much bread and end up ruining the meal, and when faced with The Dairy’s sourdough served toasty warm in a little sack-type thing (it looked cute and artisanal, not low rent like I am making it sound) with delightfully salty seaweed and anchovy butter, and whipped smoked cods roe we were in real trouble.
The first course we were encouraged by our table mates to eat with ours hands. I am not sure if that was the chefs wanted. There certainly wasn’t any cutlery on our table at this stage, and a few too many glasses of natural wine in us already, we weren’t going to quibble. Fingers or forks, the home-cured coppa with baked celeriac, pickled elderberries and hazelnuts were delicious – salty, creamy and crunchy in all the right amounts.
For more oh-so savoury satisfaction, the next course certainly delivered. Grouse dumplings (yeasty, bready not too hard and not too soggy offerings) with meaty giroles were on the money. It almost makes you glad it’s autumn to be feasting on seasonal dishes of this calibre.
So far, all very easy to shovel in one’s mouth, which is a big tick as far as we are concerned. The next course, a little trickier due to the almost complete darkness in which we sat. Some might say intimate, moody, easy on the eyes considering it was now nearly 4am. The wife on the other hand simply wasn’t happy about not being able to see what was going into her mouth. No comment. Sure it was dark, and I guess if you are a slightly fussy eater and want to make sure there isn’t a hint of fat on the beautifully cooked roast fallow deer that you are about to chow down on then being able to see your plate would help. But for me this didn’t detract from the brilliantly executed dish that came with a little (thankfully, as it was super-rich) smoked bone marrow onion tart, beetroot and blackcurrant puree.
By the time desserts did the rounds it’s fair to say everyone was pretty sozzled. A few people had fallen asleep, the wife’s contacts lenses had turned into sandpaper and we were wondering when was a good time to summon an Uber. Thankfully, a zesty, fruity pud offered much needed, zingy refreshment. Blueberries and bilberries with violet cream and lovage.
Happenings like this is one of the reasons for returning to London from Melbourne. It’s an event that can only happen (until I head back from another sting in Australian in which I steal the concept) in this great city. Having a full house at 1am and escaping into the dawn at 5.30am screws with you and I will definitely be back with others that I can see appreciating what’s happening here – especially chef friends from Down Under who will need to schedule their arrivals and departures around the last Saturdays of the month.
In the morning my hangover is not as bad as it could have been but that may be down the fact that I downed a few aspirin on my way to la la land – which was complete news to me when I found the empty packet on the bedside table.
As Susannah Butter said – This is midnight feasting at a professional level.
The Bloodshot Supper Club happens on the last Saturday of every month. £60 a head, with eight of the 36 seats are available to members of the public – for details, tweet @robinwg4