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The Lucky Onion Club: Supper with Jeremy Lee

Katherine Weir got to experience the first Lucky Onion supper club of the year, hosted by chef Jeremy Lee at No.38 The Park hotel in Cheltenham

by Katherine Weir

If a good night consists of good food and good company, then you’re on to a winner with The Lucky Onion.

As a family of design-led hotels, restaurants and country pubs - raised and rooted in the Cotswolds - The Lucky Onion hosts monthly supper clubs and events with well-known chefs and restaurateurs. The first supper club was hosted by the head chef of London hot-spot and private members club Quo Vadis, Jeremy Lee and celebrated the best of modern British cuisine.

Jeremy created a menu that highlighted his passion for regional British food, with flavourful and seasonal dishes from local artisans and suppliers - providing some ‘first try’ tastes for many at the supper club.

Presented in a family-style setting with long wooden benches and large bowls of food passed along the table, the supper club feels friendly and intimate as the anticipation builds for each course.

While we sipped on the welcome cocktail of ‘Bitter and Twisted’ complete with an orange peel decoration, we were brought an entrée of bloater paste on toast. For those not in the know, this is a paste made from salted, smoked herrings. As I am a vegetarian, I could only admire how lovely they looked but my meat and fish-eating guest said it was ‘smooth and delicious’.

Before the starters were served, Jeremy gave a chat about the food we were about to eat, giving a little story for each dish. We were told that his only strict rule for the night was to have the red onion pickle with the smoked eel sandwich, as not to do so would miss out on a great flavour combination! He was very informal and funny, getting roars of laughter from the listening diners.

As well as the smoked eel sandwich, we were given a crab and sea vegetable salad and – my favourite – baked salsify and parmesan. Although I broke a few vegetarian laws by eating parmesan, trying salsify was such a treat. Salsify is a root vegetable belonging to the dandelion family and seemed to be a first for many of the diners on our table. It was crunchy and very tasty – try it if you can!

For the veggies, we got this combination as a starter: Leek vinaigrette with poached egg, horseradish and mustard cream, sea vegetables drizzled with Capezzana extra virgin olive oil. This was a light dish that had a small kick from the horseradish and mustard. It garnered some envious looks from other diners.

For the main dishes, there were winter greens, a Camone tomato (green variety), blood orange and fennel salad, and steamed kid suet pudding. The pudding came out in huge pie dishes and a large spoon for serving. Some chefs sitting near us made the bold move to upturn the pie dish onto a plate, which paid off and made the rich kid suet easily accessible for the table.

For me, a very rich and decadent dish of thin puff pastry made with a ‘little wallop’ cheese - from artisan Alex James - on a bed of slowly roasted white onion with garlic and thyme, baked until crisp. Dressed with thinly sliced mushrooms and a salad of parsley, capers and shallots.

The finishing act of the supper club was a beautiful mountain of almond meringue, clementine curd and lemon curd accompanied with ice cream and cream. Even though we were all thoroughly stuffed from the previous courses, this dish went down very well (see main image). The tart flavours of clementine and lemon sat well with the almond meringue, giving an excellent end to a lovely meal.

Future Lucky Onion events

23rd Feb: Supper club and talk by Merchant’s Tavern head chef Neil Borthwick and journalist and author of ‘Good Things To Eat’ Lucas Hollweg, at No. 38 The Park.

March: Races (Lucky Onion Club at No.38), at No. 38 The Park.

13th April: Ex-Hawksmoor, Foxlow and Pitt Cue Co chef and Meatopia UK founder Richard Turner’s meat-focused supper club to promote his new book ‘Hog’, at The Chequers.

18th May: Dan Doherty, revolutionary fine dining authority and chef at Duck and Waffle, hosts a bespoke supper club, at No. 38 The Park.

For more information, head to theluckyonion.com or follow the company on Twitter @theluckyonion

Images by Kirstie Young 

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