So we book Ferdie's Food Lab with anticipation and a touch of anxiety. Ferdie's Food Lab is a cutting-edge supper club set up by one of the pioneers of the movement: inventive cooking, powerful flavours, unexpected combinations of ingredients, tastes and textures. Then a tweet for help from Simon (Ferdie):
The London Foodie's been, and raved about it on his blog. We recommended it to an East London hipster, who went and loved it.
"my KITCHEN staff bailed on me! if U can help from any time possible till 23.30"
Twitter evidently comes to the rescue and the supper club survives. I am sure the menu is compromised, but nonetheless, there are some inspired moments, especially the sweet potato tortilla and the cheesecake; everyone loves the Black Olive Ganache and Salted Lemon Fudge with Limoncello petit fours. The main dish is a meaty, caramelized slab of pork belly, infused with pear preserve. But without accompaniments (the pureed gourd seems to have decamped with the kitchen staff) it seems a bit naked on the plate, and we are not alone afterwards in scouring Commercial Street for a top-up of quick, hot carbs (sadly, Codfellas, the chippy opposite, has just shut).
A kitchen crisis in a restaurant tends to mean a disappointing evening, but a supper club is different. Everyone is up for a good time: passing under the fairy lights, we have entered a magical world; we are all sharing in a special, secret event, one that sets us apart from the ordinary crowd. Our new best friends are from Uruguay, Finland, Brooklyn NY and Australia, a very international crew. The Brooklynites break open a fantastic bottle of four grains bourbon which caps an already very liquid evening.
We will return.