London Supper Clubs: Trail Of Our Bread and the Awesome Birthday Cake

I’ve been known of late to use and abuse the word ‘awesome’, though once I would have shunned it. But ‘awesome’ is the only word to describe the fantastic ‘surprise course’ at Trail of Our Bread on Saturday. A work of sugarcraft art – but how did it taste?

We’ve been to this supperclub before to review, then were gutted to miss out on the Ocean Commotion evening.

We saw some familiar faces when we arrived and I’ll bet they’ll write more complete accounts of what we ate – it was my night-before birthday celebration so I was glad to have any photos come out at all.  We started with chestnut and chorizo soup, laden with caramelised onions. I could have eaten bucketloads (classy, me).   Seconds were offered but previous supperclub experience finally came to bear and I (uncharacteristically) restrained myself, ostensibly in order to enjoy each and every course. Realistically, so that I wouldn’t need to be rolled out.

:: Fideo* pasta with garlic butter ::

:: Rabbit with petit pois, lettuce, cider and spiced glazed chicory ::

:: Rhubarb Fool with ginger shorbread ::

The main course was (Easter) bunny which again was something I’ve never cooked – or eaten for that matter. I was treated to two saddles, though I was assured that the meat on the bone was just as flavoursome. Thanks to a surprisingly good bottle of Chapel Down and a decent Cabernet Sauvignon that we were making our way through, I’m a touch cloudy about the exact order in which the next courses arrived.

There was the wibbly but tasty experimental citrus jelly, the set and ludicrously moreish Absinthe jelly, and then Jim, our host, made an announcement.

For the duration of the evening, a surprise had been hidden in plain view, right beside me.  Jim knew that it was my birthday and he suggested making a cake – which Anna baked and decorated from scratch (she asked the boyfriend “What does she like?” “Meringues.” “Sod that, I’m not making a meringue”).  It was a layered sponge with buttercream, jam and fondant.  The sugarcrafted poppy was fab, and the touch of genius was using crushed Oreos for the soil.  You paused before taking a mouthful, it was so fantastically realistic.

You never know quite what you’ll get at a supper club.  This time around we had lots of new things to try (for me, rabbit and absinthe included) and shared our table with a great bunch of girls and the odd wildcard. Group photos aren’t the norm but we had those too.  The set dressing – including Alice in Wonderland style TOOB goodiebags – was imaginative and sparked conversation, including whether we really should ‘Drink Me’ or not, when faced with little cork-stoppered bottles filled with what might have been absinthe or Fairy Liquid (vodka with colouring).

Thank you so much to Jim and Anna for making it such a fun night, and especially for the awesome flower pot – and yes, it did taste as good as it looked!  That’s definitely out of the ordinary for novelty cakes – and hell, anyone who knows me know how fussy I am about baked goods.  Anyone need a bespoke cake for an event?  I recommend you contact and try to cajole her.

*I think that’s what the pasta was… and more photos are here

Hawksmoor Breakfast

Is the bottomless coffee on the menu yet?

We went along to the soft launch of Hawksmoor’s brunch a couple of weeks ago.  The menu’s initial launch was eagerly greeted around here because it affords the 9-5/M-F crowd the opportunity to try the much lauded burger, supposedly one of the best in London.

We went for the shared breakfast that day instead.  What arrived was the mountain of carniverous delights that you see above.  Bacon chop. Ginger Pig special recipe Sausages. Black Pudding. Fried Eggs. Field Mushrooms. Tomatoes. Short Rib Bubble and Squeak. Marrow. Dripping Toast. Some green stuff as a token and Onion Marrow gravy on the side.

:: Marmalade Martini, Bottomless Bloody Mary #10 mix, rehydration OJ ::

I was feeling slightly delicate after a late night and so the marrow might have been a step too far. Curiously I’d just been reading Julie Powell‘s description of her cooking Julia Child’s Bifteck Saute Bercy where she describes marrow sauce as ‘rich, meaty intense, in a nearly too-much way…it tasted like really good sex’ (her italics)  For me it was a step too far that particular morning, or probably would have worked in a sauce.  However overall the meat was perfectly cooked and the Trotter Baked Beans – homemade beans with pulled pork were soft and slightly piquant – fabulous. Next visit, I’d happily have those on dripping toast alone. I coveted the Staub Cocotte horribly too.

:: Trotter Baked Beans ::

:: Shaky Pete behind the bar ::

The bar has quite the Manhattan feel but it’s resolutely British in attitude- as they have pointed out, the word brunch originated here.   We  gave them feedback as requested: interesting to see that the Full English is now available as a single portion and not just for two. Will clarified that you can request the eggs in that dish to be cooked any way you’d like, and we put in our plea for bottomless coffee too.  Tea is more their priority.  I loved how their drinks menu focusses on gin rather than vodka, a refreshing change and the Marmalade Martini was eye-openingly sharp but welcome in the context of such a hearty meal.

Stars *****

The staff are super-sweet and delightfully proud and invested in the restaurant.  I think the way to do the Hawksmoor brunch is at the start of a big weekend, to set yourself right up, probably with a group. And possibly just go for the big one: the Hawksmoor burger for breakfast.

Hawksmoor, 157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ

020 7247 7392