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Friday, 8 May 2015

That Hungry Chef - Zoe's Ghana Kitchen - Smokehouse - Joe's Southern Kitchen

Today on the blog, a round up of some recent eats including a Goan supper club, a Ghanaian popup, and second sites in the suburbs for two reliable restaurants.

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First up, it's That Hungry Chef.  I've somehow managed to avoid attending any supper clubs over the last two years of Matt The Listing, perhaps due to the overwhelming number of new eateries that roar in to town on a weekly basis.  This year I will be balancing the scales.

Pratap Chahal, a.k.a That Hungry Chef, and his wife Nikhat welcomed us in to their stunning Holloway home on a sunny Thursday evening, along with 12 or so other charming randomers, for a Traditional Goan Thali.  We arrived early to take a tour of their magical garden that is used for outdoor dinners, brunches and BBQs in the summer months.  Keep an eye out for that hippo.





As Pratap calmly applied the finishing touches in his tiny kitchen, we made friends around the room, bonding over our BYOB choices whilst glancing enviously towards Pratap & Nikhat's booze chest.  A chilli sitting on each place setting threatened to become a supper club hazing dare, but thankfully the glorious home-cooked food started arriving before anyone caved.  




That Hungry Chef formally introduced himself, discussing the evening ahead and his one rule, nailed above the kitchen door - "Kiss The Chef".  He then produced the simply magnificent Sannas & pork ‘vinha d’alhos’ - Fermented rice pancakes with a mild pork vindaloo, 6,000 or so miles away from the hideous British version.  No cutlery was needed and it was gone in seconds.  More please.

Soon after, the all-in-one thali platters were laid out, and those in the know put their desserts to one side for later.  In no particular order, we all got stuck in to our little bowls of Nishtyachi Kodii (Traditional Goan fish curry), Temperado (green beans & carrots in spiced coconut milk) and Foogath (curried spring cabbage stir fry) and mopped everything up with Red Rice & Peanut Pulao and Crispy Plantain Wafers.  Delicious.

After polishing off the savoury selection, I went fishing for some Pickled Walnut and Doce (chickpea and cardamom fudge) in my delectable Sago & Coconut Pudding (similar in texture to tapioca).



Due to the thali-style presentation, dinner was over rather quicker than I had expected, but our hosts kept us all happy with some bonus Bebinca (a 16 layered pancake cake! - recipe here) and some sneaky tasters of East London Liquor Company Gin and Bunnahabhain 12.  

A few drams later, (and after some bonding with Pratap over smoked beer and obscure Eddie Izzard skits), we proposed that they open up a B&B service.  Denied.  Fingers crossed it will be an option next time. In a nice touch, we were sent home with one of That Hungry Chef's artisanal food products.  I came away with a jar of dangerously hot Mojo Risin' green relish salsa which I'm ever so slightly afraid of.



It was an unfortgettable evening of fine food and fun in great company, possibly setting the bar a little too high for my future supper club escapades.  There are no more Goan Thali evenings coming up, but you might want to grab some tickets to either the Secret Garden Barbecue or the intriguing Perfume : The Edible Scent events before they sell out.  You won't regret it.

More supper clubs worth investigating:

Uyen Luu - A Vietnamese Feast in Uyen's airy London Fields home
The Adobros - Traditional Filipino food from two brothers in New Cross
Disappearing Dining Club - All manner of dinner parties in fun locations

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From Goa to Ghana, Zoe Adjonyoh's Ghana Kitchen is half way through a two month residency at The King & Co. in Clapham Common.  In other words, you've got until 31st May to sample Zoe's signature peanut butter & mutton stew in cosy pub surroundings.

Zoe serves up her modern twist on traditional Ghanaian food in small plate form.. We went along last month for an evening of sharing plates and African beer.

Highlights included moreish Okra Tempura with shito hot pepper sauce, hearty Red Red beans with Kelewele chunky plantain chips and Jollof Chicken Skewers with jollof rice; the latter carrying quite a kick which caught me off guard more than once.  

Okra Tempura with shito hot pepper sauce

Red Red Beans with Kelewele chunky plantain chips

Jollof Chicken Skewers

Jollof Rice

The pick of the mains is indeed her homespun adaptation of West African peanut butter stew which first starred at Hackney Wick Arts Festival four years ago, launching Zoe's street food & popup career.  In an exciting development, she has just confirmed that Zoe's Ghana Kitchen will be opening a permanent restaurant later this month in a shipping container in the hotly anticipated Pop Brixton campus.  Here's what Zoe had to say:

“I'm so excited to be opening our first fixed dining space in Brixton, south of the river and close to where I grew up. We hope to become part of Brixton’s natural buzz and vibrancy, and to build upon this in coming years while spreading the love for modern Ghanaian cuisine!”

Artists representation of Pop Brixton's shipping container campus

But before that launches, you should head to Clapham for a taste; and why not do it in style on 13th May when Zoe is teaming up with A Grape Night In for "It's Ghana Be Grape" - 5 collaborative courses of wine and food.


Zoe’s current two month residency at The King & Co pub in Clapham ends on Sunday 31st May.

Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen at POP Brixton will aim to open in late May. 

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Now for a quick round up of second sites for existing eateries.  First up, Neil Rankin & Noble Inns have converted Chiswick's Hole In The Wall gastropub in to another meaty Smokehouse, following on from success with the concept in Islington.

The North London branch has an enviable beer selection that the W4 outpost doesn't quite match, but there is a marvellous whisky bar out West instead with 100+ bottles from all over the world.  Arrive early and splash out on a pre-dinner Yamazaki 18yo dram.


On the food front, Neil Rankin's influence is clear as several Korean flavours (also prominent at Bad Egg) make their way into the smoky, meaty menu.  A table of 6 is what you need if you want to order everything on the menu, and that's exactly what we did.  It was all rather wonderful, but I've highlighted a winner from each section in case you are dining solo.

Starters

Somerset goat tacos with chipotle & green salsa 6.00
Burnt leeks, Portobello, truffle oil, parmesan & Cackleberry Farm egg 6.50
Chopped brisket roll & gochujang 7.00
Deep fried rock oyster, beef dripping toast, smoked bone marrow 7.50
Fresh picked Cornish crab on sourdough toast 8.00
Foie gras, apple pie & Cackleberry Farm egg 10.00

Mains

Blackened delica pumpkin, tahini, dill & flat bread 13.50
“The Sphere”; smoked ham hock, pigs cheek & squid romesco 16.00
Coal baked salmon with a warm Thai salad 16.50
Smoked Elwy Valley lamb shoulder, polenta, raclette & sambal 16.50
Shortrib bourguignon, creamy mash, bacon & Essex Portobello mushrooms 17.50
Smoked Telfarm duck breast, kimchi & potato cake 17.50

Sides

Grilled Romaine lettuce 3.00
Caramel roast potatoes 3.00
Chilli kale 4.00
Korean pulled pork 4.00

Desserts

Double D tart 6.50
Apple crumble & bourbon prunes 6.50
Poached rhubarb, cream cheese & almond praline 6.50
Rum & raisin rice pudding, blackberry jam & almond 6.50

Burnt leeks, Portobello, truffle oil, parmesan & Cackleberry Farm egg

Deep fried rock oyster, beef dripping toast, smoked bone marrow

Chopped brisket roll & gochujang

Chopped brisket roll & gochujang

Apple crumble & bourbon prunes

Smokehouse Chiswick is ever so slightly in the middle of nowhere, so you might want to make the most of it by ticking off the Dragonfly Brewery (at The George and Dragon pub), Charlotte's W4 (for food and gin), The Italian Job (for Italian craft beer), and Outsider Tart (for American baked treats). And if you are really keen, return another time for American soul food at Blue Plate, and Wednesday night "Supper Clubs" at The Griffin from a former Waldorf Astoria chef.  Or just save up all of your pennies and go to Hedone.  Sorted.

Square Meal

Smokehouse Chiswick on Urbanspoon

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Joe's Southern Kitchen and Bar have opened up a second site in Kentish Town where Kentish Canteen and Shebeen used to be, complete with a Jailbird basement bar making use of old police cells, much like Knowhere Special next door.


Make no mistake, you need to come hungry and you should probably bring a bib.  24 hour sweet tea brined free range chicken with lemon dust is the order of the day, but there are plenty of other dishes to get stuck in to. Turn up with 10 or more people and you can opt for the "Feed Me" feast menu which is served family style for sharing to avoid having to make difficult choices.

24 Hour Sweet Tea Brined Free Range Chicken with Lemon Dust - Photo by Gaztronome

We had quite a feast ourselves, tucking in to enjoyable portions of Devilled Eggs, Mac'N'Cheese, Shrimp'N'Grits and Collard Greens. alongside buckets of Fried Chicken and Buckwheat Waffles with Bourbon Maple Syrup and Chicken Gravy, but two small plates stood out in particular.

Demand a pan of their Gooey Corn Spoon Bread with Clotted Cream and Red Leicester Cheese, followed swiflty by the Deep Fried Short Rib Meat Loaf with Red Onion Jam, Poached Egg and Dijonnaise. I didn't want to share the latter, at all. Both are worthy of the #foodporn hashtag.  I can also recommend the Artichoke, Spinach & Cheddar Dip which I remember devouring in their Covent Garden outpost. Larger plates of 8 Hour Slow Roast Beef Short Rib and Blackened Catfish Fillet will surely not disappoint either.

Unsurprisingly, Joe's Southern is also well set up for Breakfast and Brunch, opening from 8am-11.45am Monday-Friday with bottomless filter coffee, and 9am-4pm on Saturday & Sunday for Breakfast Muffins and Gravy'N'Biscuits.

But you must pay Joe's a visit when desserts are up for grabs, and order them all.  Southern Pecan Pie with Jim Beam Honey Cream, Peanut Butter Fudge Pie, and Iced Honeycomb & Chocolate Parfait Sandwich are all stonking, and only £4.00 each?! Get involved. 

Gooey Corn Spoon Bread with Clotted Cream and Red Leicester Cheese

Deep Fried Short Rib Meat Loaf with Red Onion Jam, Poached Egg and Dijonnaise

Mac'N'Cheese with Four Cheeses and a Biscuit Crust

Iced Honeycomb & Chocolate Parfait Sandwich

Kentish Town is on a bit of a roll at the moment with new openings aplenty, so you might want to make a day of it.  Be sure to spend a penny in Ladies & Gentlemen, a cocktail bar in a converted public toilet from William Borrell of Vestal Vodka.  You might also want to check out Patron Cave A Manger for French food & wine, Caps & Taps for craft beer to takeaway, and soon a new Camden Town Brewery pub on the site of O'Reilly's.

There are plenty of older spots worth a look too, such as Shoe Shop, Anima E Cuoré, and The Southampton Arms.  As ever, Kentish Towner is your best bet for up to date North London food & drink news.

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