Kitchen Tour: Pistachio & Pickle's London Supper Club

Pistachio & Pickle, (aka Matt & Steve, events organizer and architect) joined London's supper club scene in October '10, and in the months since have taken risks with all-out themed dinners for real foodies. From the classic and savory (lamb cutlets, ragu and polenta topped the list during a festive Italian feast) to the creatively sublime (for St. Pat's Day, diners enjoyed an amuse bouche that looked like a mini Guinness, but tasted like potato and leek soup with a bacon foam), the duo keeps their followers and newcomers hungry for more. On a recent visit, I attended their first traditional Sunday roast, when tradition very expectedly took some twists...

Named by the Evening Standard as one of the top ten underground London supper clubs, Pistachio & Pickle created this Sunday roast for Mother's Day (it was April 3 in the UK). I happily watched, smelled, listened and ate, and soon understood all the hype.

The Menu

Starter
• Organic, hen's egg yolk and asparagus with tarragon butter and Cornish sea salt

Main
• Organic Herefordshire beef
• King Edward roast potatoes, roast parsnips and carrots with honey glaze
• Homemade Yorkshire puddings with beef gravy
• Savoy cabbage, homemade horseradish cream, and pearl onions caramelised in Oak Barrel Aged Sherry vinegar

Cheese
• Manchego Curado (from Albacete, Spain; pastuerised sheeps milk cheese)
• Dolcelatte (Italian blue, soft)
• Demi Pont L'Eveque (uncooked, unpressed, cow's milk, washed rind soft cheese from Normandy France)
• Kidderton Ash goat's cheese (soft goat's from Cheshire in England).
• Served with Steve's homemade fig preserves made with ginger and orange.

Dessert
• A modern twist on the summer fruits crumble: gently warmed strawberries and raspberries in a sugar syrup, with a crumble disc, served with Rodda's Cornish clotted cream

Clotted cream is a thick cream made by indirectly heating unpasteurised cow's milk using steam or a water bath and then leaving it in shallow pans to cool slowly. During this time, the cream content rises to the surface and forms 'clots'. It has a very high fat content (an average of 64%) meaning that in the US it would be classed as a butter! It's almost impossible to get in the States because virtually none is exported, due to difficulty with its shelf life.

10 Questions for Matt & Steve (and Their Kitchen)

1. What inspires your kitchen and your cooking?
Kitchen: Modern, functional, simple and clean. Our cooking is often traditional with a twist. We like to take well-known, homely dishes, deconstruct them, then find interesting, humourous and delicious ways to re-assemble them.

2. What is your favorite kitchen tool or element?
Matt's favourite kitchen tool is his potato ricer - mashed potatoes are transformed! Steve's is the espuma - to create 'chefy' hot and cold foams.

3. What's the most memorable meal you've ever cooked in this kitchen?
Probably the very first Pistachio & Pickle supper club - challenging, fun, exhausting, rewarding.

4. The biggest challenge in your kitchen:
One word - STORAGE!

5. Is there anything you wish you had done differently?
Steve says, 'its not the size that matters, but how you use it!'

6. Biggest indulgence or splurge in the kitchen:
The food is always the biggest indulgence in the kitchen: from edible 24 carat gold leaf to organic, hand-reared elk steaks!

7. Is there anything you hope to add or improve in your kitchen?
The list is endless...but a Thermomix would do for the time being.

8. How would you describe your cooking style?
Eclectic - in our techniques and our ingredients. We cook Asian, Scandinavian, Mediterranean, Indian, British and many more in the course of any week.

9. Best cooking advice or tip you ever received:
Matt says, 'always use a timer - over or undercooked food is embarrassing and unnecessary'. Steve says, 'Clean as you go!' Wise words indeed!

10. What's something you cooked recently?
Easter weekend, we were with family. We did a chorizo, cabrales and pearl onions in sherry vinegar quiche; Steve made his signature wholemeal, pistachio and chilli bread and we brought along some of our homemade fig, orange and ginger jam.

Resources

• All IKEA (kitchen was all set/designed when Matt and Steve moved in)
• Crockery/cutlery: John Lewis and IKEA
• Favorite dream resource: Divertimenti
• Pistachio &: Pickle catering resource: Nisbets (specialist catering suppliers in the UK)

Visit Pistachio & Pickle online.

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(Images: Heather Blaha)