Food by Becky Claydon & Paul Turner
Ideas by Richard Watkins
Photos by Josh Turner
From The Darkness was the second in a series of themed supper clubs, with fine food and ideas to start conversations. The first evening ‘Thanks’ in November was inspired by American thanksgiving dinner – and ideas that explored the value and nature of gratitude. This time round we dive into darkness, looking for what we can see and how it tastes.
The evening began with a choice of cocktails: a Dark & Stormy or a Lapsang Souchong infused Old Fashioned. Before we started eating, we were asked to think about darkness as a neutral physical phenomena, outside the “light as good / dark as evil” metaphor. To help us on the way we explored a few other metaphors for darkness – looking at it’s virtues: romance, rest, quiet, and privacy.
We served up sharing plates inspired by flavours and dishes from the middle east and north Africa, as with heady and fragrant spices, citrus, and smoky and grilled meat and vegetables. We wanted to challenge guests with a set of dishes that spoke to flavours both dark and light. Dishes included smoky and sour aubergines, charred lamb, musky tamarind cod, all counter balanced with cooling labneh, sharp spicy citrus salad and a rich, sweet chicken pastilla.
For our second idea we were asked to reflect on what bitter, burnt, sour and spicy flavours add to the palate – and how they enrich our experience. We were drawn to compare these to dark emotions – anger, fear and sadness – and prompted to consider emotions as a palate too. While we may not want to be overwhelmed with a dark flavour or emotion, they have a unique depth to add to our experiences.
To end the meal we served guests a light coconut pannacotta, with blood orange, orange blossom icecream and a pistachio orange financier, rounded with rich dark roast coffee.