The candles are lit, the table is set and log burning stove gently puffing away in the corner…
Welcome to Christmas supper club at Cook House – an utterly magical event.
Cook House is the brainchild of food blogger Anna Hedworth (aka The Grazer) overlooking the Ouseburn. A beautifully furnished kitchen nestled next door to Hotel Du Vin, Cook House consists of two shipping containers stacked together to make the most incredible and unique space perfect for dining, coffee with friends and supper clubs!
A perfect excuse to get dressed up in your silliest heels and prettiest party dress, best friend Ashleigh and I wasted no time in booking our tickets to The Grazer’s last supper club of 2014.
You may remember my first foray in the world of supper clubs (when supper clubs meant little more than late night visits to the fridge…) and I fell in love with the whole concept. Pretentious in name, but such good fun in nature; supper clubs are a meeting of likeminded individuals keen to share culinary tips, skills and an unforgettable experience with other food lovers. These gatherings can be intimate in size or a crowded feast, but whatever the size, supper clubs are a fusion of food and art and are the perfect opportunity for chefs to let their creative sides loose. Anna is no stranger to hosting supper clubs in some incredible locations across the North East and beyond, so Ashleigh and I knew we were in for a treat.
Capable of seating around 30 people comfortably, Cook House is one of the most beautifully furnished places I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. Duck egg blue tables and chairs work well with the simple colour scheme and stainless steel kitchen inside. Anna greeted us all personally and handed us a gin and Earl Grey hot toddy to sip as we waited for everyone to arrive.
Sugary sweet and delicately fragrant, we thoroughly enjoyed our aperitif. Tonight’s event was BYOB (bring your own booze) which meant Ashleigh and I wasted no time in popping the cork of our champagne and toasted to the festive season…
Championing local produce, Anna’s makes excellent use of the nearby Ouseburn farm for fresh fruit and vegetables, there’s locally-reared meat from Charlotte’s Butchery and even honey from the Ouseburn bees! For a food lover and blogger like me, eating at Cook House is essentially the North East’s finest fare.
We started with sharing boards of venison tartare, Quails eggs with celery salt, poached North Sea langoustine and sour dough bread. Because the menu at a supper club is pre-organised it’s an opportunity to try something new – or give something you might not like a second chance. Admittedly, raw venison topped with egg isn’t something I’d ever order, but former veggie Ashleigh jumped straight in at the deep end and loved it! The langoustines were lovely, the sour dough and salted butter real winter comfort food and quails eggs a treat.
We got lucky having sat next to four lovely gents, and spent the whole evening laughing, chatting and er, writing our names in calligraphy on the back of a Christmas card. The champagne went down too well as we enjoyed a main of Ox cheek and shin in a prune and stilton pie, served with pickled walnuts, goose fat roasties, brussel sprouts and chestnuts. A traditional seasonal affair, we wolfed everything down and then some – just managing to save room for dessert.
Wow – a clear winner of the evening. Anna’s Christmas syllabub topped with clementine and pomegranate seeds was like Christmas in a glass. Warming gingerbread and festive spices in a creamy mousse worked brilliantly with a side of freshly baked pecan shortbread.
All too soon the evening came to an end and there was just enough time for kisses under the mistletoe, merry christmases all round and a hazelnut martini on the twinkly terrace at Hotel du Vin.
A truly unforgettable evening for just £35pp, I can’t wait to go back and enjoy Cook House in all seasons!