Uyen Luu Supperclub at Wringer + Mangle

A few weeks ago, I met up with my good friend Lauren and headed over to London Fields for Uyen Luu’s fabulous supperclub at Wringer + Mangle as part of a newly launched supper club series curated by esteemed food journalist, Victoria Stewart. The series of supperclubs featured four different guest chefs and showcased the flavours and cultures that is present in East London using British seasonal produce.

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Since moving to London, I have definitely expanded my horizons when it comes to trying food from other cultures and was really excited to try Uyen’s Vietnamese menu  that I have heard so many great things about.

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It was a lovely warm and sunny day and Lauren and I enjoyed a Thai Basil and Coriander soda with London vodka as soon as we got to W+M. We took a seat and caught up over Lauren’s upcoming trip to Barcelona and where I’m planning on taking my mom when she visits in August. Before we knew it, it was time to head to our table for the supperclub to commence.

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Wringer + Mangle is a really awesome space. It has a warehouse vibe that is cosy and intimate, with quirky art adorning the walls, drop lamps hanging from the ceiling, a great patio area outside that is perfect for drinks al fresco during the summer months, and one of the largest bars I’ve ever seen. There is truly a spot for everyone to enjoy their dinner and drinks, depending on what they’re in the mood for.

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We had a browse over the menu, and all of the dishes sounded fantastic. Uyen said a few words at the beginning and it was really interesting to hear the inspiration and background to her dishes. She told us that years ago, the Vietnamese immigrated to the UK and many settled in East London, where they set up stores and shops that still exist today. Uyen buys the produce and ingredients for her dishes from various shops in Hackney and London Fields. Her menu was an ode to the various dishes she had grown up eating, but with her own personal twist. We were eager to tuck in!

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Lauren and I kicked our dinner off with a bottle of wine to share.

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Our first dish was were summer rolls to share, made with Fin and Flounder crab, Hill & Szrock pork belly, sweet potato, green mango, and Vietnamese herbs with a zesty pineapple and lime dip. The spring rolls were delicious and the ideal starter as they were light, yet packed with flavour. The lime dip was flavourful and was the perfect accompaniment to the spring rolls.

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The second course was a Crunchy sweet and sour salad with Hill & Szrock chicken, kohl rabi, black carrot, peas, nectarine, pomegranate, pea shoots and pistachio. I love my salads with a bit of crunch, and this fit the bill! It was packed with flavour, yet was still light and tasted healthy as it wasn’t drenched in dressing. An inspirational salad I’m going to try to recreate at home.

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Our main course of the evening was this comforting Lemongrass Hill and Szrock beef noodle soup with banana blossom, morning flory, tofu, ham and mints, with Vietnamese herbs from specialist shops on Mare Street. This soup was genuinely comfort food at its best. The portions were large, hearty and packed with flavour. Sometimes soup can taste a bit lacklustre in the flavour department, but this was simply vietnam-azing. If you’re a veggie, this would have been just as great with just the tofu.

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To cap off a brilliant evening, Uyen served a unique Pandan and coconut layer ice cream cake with pandan sponge, rhubarb, and lime curd, pandan meringue and chocolate crumbs. When I took my first bite, I was slightly confused as I had never tasted these types of flavours together before. Upon my second bite, I fell a bit more in love with this quirky dessert.

There were a lot of different elements that you normally wouldn’t see together in one dish, but somehow they all melded together for a stunning dessert. The cake was light and airy and the rhubarb was refreshing.

Lauren and I finished our wine and chatted for a while before grabbing the train back to Clapham. I was in awe of how delicious each dish was and there was a cohesive flow between all of them that made perfect sense while eating each one.

The Uyen Luu Supperclub is now over at Wringer + Mangle, but she does host her own supperclubs in Hackney that you should definitely sign up for if you get the chance! More info can be read here. 

It was a fantastic evening with great food and company.

Thanks for reading x

Wringer + Mangle | Sidworth St | London | E8 3SD

PS: You can shop for your own ingredient and produce from Fin & Flounder fishmonger and Hill & Szrock butcher, both located on Broadway Market in East London.

Disclosure: I work for the company that does the PR for Wringer + Mangle, but that’s not why I gave it a glowing review. All of the food was spectacular and I highly recommend visiting W+M as well as trying out one of Uyen Luu’s supperclubs. 

Exclusive Chef’s Table with Mark Hix & Dan Doherty

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Lauren invited me an exclusive chef’s table with Mark Hix of Hix Restaurants and and Dan Doherty of Duck and Waffle at Marks Kitchen Library, just above the Tramshed in Shoreditch. Needless to say, I was absolutely thrilled to come along and it ended up being one fabulous and gluttonous evening…

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We arrived to The Tramshed and headed down to the CNB Gallery, a hidden space below the restaurant, to check out Miranda Donovan’s Metaphors for Mankind art exhibition, which explores the stories of ageing and mortality. The beautiful exhibit will stay on through 12th November and well worth a look! Lauren and I admired the art whilst sipping on luscious Dear Prune’dence libations, made with  smoked Black Cow vodka, prune juice, fresh ginger, bacon and chocolate bitters.

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After a lovely chat with Miranda about her stunning artwork, we made our way upstairs into the Library and were met with champagne in elegant Coupettes, Duck & Waffle’s signature Crispy Pig’s Ears and Mark & Dan cooking up a feast. The Library is a cosy enclave, filled with stacks of Mark’s personal cookbook collection. The bar area only seats about 12, which makes it a very special and intimate dining experience.

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Lauren and I ripped open our bag of BBQ-spiced Pig Ear delights and chatted to our fellow diners whilst Mark and Dan swiftly prepared our first course..

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Delicate, melt-in-your mouth East End Eels with horseradish, samphire, malt vinegar and creme fraiche. This was one of my favourite dishes of the evening and one that I’d love to recreate at home. The pungent flavour of the horseradish added depth to the dish that definitely left me wanting another plateful.

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The East End Eels paired perfectly with a gin-based Bloody Caesar cocktail – tangy and refreshing. I was similar to a Bloody Mary, which i’m normally not keen on, but it was reely good.
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Mark and Dan made cooking look effortless and their camaraderie and friendship was so evident and really nice to see. I really enjoyed hearing some of their stories and inspiration behind some of the dishes. I’m excited to try out some recipes from both of their cookbooks!
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Excited for the next course, we were happily served a gorgeously creamy Champagne Risotto with shaved Wiltshire truffle. Truffles and champagne – what’s not to love? This was the most luxurious comfort food i’ve ever had and perfect for a chilly October evening. Dan passed around extra truffle around the table to top it off and was met with enthusiastic yes pleases from us all. We polished off the Champagne Risotto with a glass of Chablis 1er Cru and geared up for the next phenomenal course.
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Marmite glazed ox cheek, Jerusalem artichokes, rock oyster and bitter leaves – wow. The ox cheek was so tender and just fell apart whilst the Jerusalem artichokes melted in your mouth. Incredible sumptuous and filling – again, another wonderful dish to warm your bones in the winter time. The dark meat paired perfectly with a rich red wine, the Massaya silver selection, Bekka Valley 2010.
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The dessert was one of the best I’ve ever had – Sussex Pond Pudding with Jersey Cream.  As soon as Mark and Dan cut into the cake, a decadent, lemony creamy filling came bursting out. We tucked into our indulgent dessert and as full as I was, I couldn’t help but go back for another bite because it was so damn good. It was one spectacular dessert and one I hope to have again one day!
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No evening is complete without coffee and naturally, we all opted for espresso martinis – again these didn’t disappoint and we all ended up having 2 rounds!
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Happy and satiated, Lauren and I mozied on over to the tube and headed on home. The Chef’s Table was one of the best experiences i’ve ever had. If you’re looking to host an evening to remember, check out Hix Special Events for more info!
Thank you Lauren, Mark, Dan and Hix Special Events for a most memorable evening.

#MuscadetMagic | Loire Valley Wines

On Saturday morning, some 40 minutes before the sun rose (and not quite 3 hours after I went to sleep), I was up, showered and in a cab on my way to Billingsgate Fish Market near Canary Wharf for a morning of cooking and wine tasting with Muscadet Wines from the Loire Valley in France. My good friend and fellow lifestyle blogger, Lauren from the Lifestyle Diaries, had invited me along on the expedition and it ended up being one of the most fun days I’ve had in a while…

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It was a grizzly, dark morning out when we pulled up to the Billingsgate Fish Market. Initially, I didn’t really know what to make of it (I think I was still half asleep) as the exterior isn’t so grand. Nonetheless, I love exploring new areas of London I have never see before and this was no exception. The famed fish market was founded in 1327 ad by the 16th century, the thames hub was the centre of the fish trade in London. By the 19th century, it became the biggest fish market in the world, which is quite incredible. In 1982, the fish market left London Bridge and headed to a 13-acre location near Canary Wharf where it exists today. We made a pit stop at the legendary Piggy’s Cafe inside the market for some much needed coffees and bacon and scallop sandwiches (yes you read correctly).

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Some of you may be thinking that scallop and bacon sandwiches sound…interesting. However, I love bacon and scallops are one of my favourite seafood dishes so the two of them combined had to be good right? It was honestly one of the best bacon sandwiches I’ve ever had. Salty, savoury and fresh – this sandwich proved to be a hangover cure all in one bite. There’s nothing quite like scallops at sunrise! After we devoured our sarnies, we ventured into the market with the group to buy our fish for the dishes we were going to be cooking later on, under the guidance of CJ Jackson, CEO of the Billingsgate Seafood School and author of Leith’s Fish Bible

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I felt as if I had stepped back in time to the era of Oliver Twist. Eels writhing around in trays, live lobsters and crabs, men walking around with huge freezers full of fish on wheels yelling ‘Mind Ya Feet!” It was a mad house, but it was great. There were exotic fish from all over the world and it is by far the freshest fish you will get in London.

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(I wasn’t joking about the Eels…)

Lauren and I kept our dish fairly simple and we got Mussels, Scallops and Clams. We were given £25 each to buy our lot and we ended up only spending about £15 altogether. It’s no wonder the market now receives a quarter of its visits from everyday Londoners. Anybody can visit the market Tuesday to Saturday from 4-9:30am. If we ever have a dinner party, I’ll be heading here to get the fish!

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We headed upstairs to wash our fish and CJ taught us how to de-gunk, scale, gut, fillet and shuck all of our fish and shellfish. I officially know how to successfully (more of less) shuck an oyster, learned that you need to tap mussels on the counter for them to close before cooking them, and the easiest way to get clams open is to steam them.

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I also learned that scallops have eyes all around the rim of their shells. If you put your finger in there, it will shut on you. I definitely have a new found respect for chefs that work quite a lot with seafood – it’s no easy feat shucking, cleaning, filleting, etc! After we finished preparing our fish properly, we headed over to the Central Street Cookery School for our Master-chef like challenge to commence! 

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We were greeted with bright and colourful Muscadet wine, as our challenge was to create a dish that enhanced the clean fresh flavours of the Muscadet. We had 50 minutes to prepare and impress Doug Blyde and Jon Massey of The Wharf Newspaper.

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Lauren and I grabbed fresh tomatoes, pasta, garlic, chiles, lime, some herbs and olive oil to create our sauce with. (We went for a seafood pasta dish). We put the mussels and clams into a large pot with a bit of olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper and let it simmer on medium for about 7-10 minutes. They do cook quite quick. Once they were finished, we set them to the side and began working on our sauce.

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We let the tomatoes reduce in a small sauce pan with some olive oil and garlic. Once it they began to boil down, we added the chilis and a bit of crushed tomatoes to thicken the sauce up. We added a pinch of sugar in the end to cut through some of the chili. All in all, the sauce ended up tasting delicious.

We pan fried the scallops in a searing hot frying pan with melted butter. Scallops can be tough to cook because if you over cook them they end up rubbery, which can happen really quick if you’re not careful. It should only take about 2 minutes to fully cook scallops properly.

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We plated up with spaghetti first, followed by clams around the outside and mussels and scallops in the middle. I think it ended up looking and tasting beautiful. As someone who isn’t a great cook to begin with, I was really proud of what we had made! I now know how to cook one really good dish.

We brought our dish out to the judges and went to sit down for a little wine tasting and to sample some of the other dishes that were made. All of the dishes were absolutely delicious and so creative.

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These shrimp po-boys were out of this world. Made with home-made remoulade sauce and celeriac. I would love to learn how to make this at home.

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All of the dishes paired wonderfully with a variety of the Muscadet Wines. I am a huge white wine fan and I thought all of these wines were spectacular. My favourite wine, in particular, was the Le Pallet 2010 – Les Dix du Pallet (£14.99). It had a very buttery flavour to it, which is what I typically look for in a chardonnay. It was matured in oak barrels and I think it will only get better with age. The quality for the price is incredibly impressive. We sampled a total of 5 wines, and I can truthfully say I enjoyed each one (a little too much). It’s good to know that you can by several Muscadet wines from Waitrose (I highly recommend getting a bottle).

It was great to venture to an area of London I have never been to before and I’m really grateful for the wonderful experience. I learned a lot about seafood and enjoyed meeting some other really great people that also share a love for good food and wine. Thank you Doug and Muscadet for organising a wonderful Saturday morning for us all. Cheers to you!